Off-season Preview: Phoenix Suns

So with the Finals wrapped up and no real action to be had for well over a week when the draft will steal our hearts for one magical evening I am doing previews for all 30 teams. In the series we will do roughly 3 teams per day in hopes of wrapping right before the draft.

Today in our second installment we will look at the Phoenix Suns. The young Suns are an exciting team that hasn’t seen said excitement turn into nearly enough wins. Armed with the fourth draft pick most likely they will be adding another exciting piece to their core. Free agency is where things will get a bit sticky for them.

Needs: Stable veteran with defensive prowess, shooters.

Wants: To find a willing trade partner for Brandon Knight.

Money Situation

Guaranteed                                        2017-18                                Insider info
Eric Bledsoe                                    $14,500,000                        Extension eligible
Brandon Knight                               $13,618,750
Tyson Chandler                               $13,000,000                        Extension eligible
Jared Dudley                                   $10,000,000
Dragan Bender                                 $4,468,800
Marquese Chriss                              $3,073,800
T.J. Warren                                       $3,152,931                     Rookie extension eligible
Devin Booker                                    $2,319,360
Tyler Ulis                                            $1,312,611

Non/partial                                       2017-18                           Guarantee date
Leandro Barbosa                            $4,000,000                                 July 3
Elijah Millsap                                   $1,524,305
Derrick Jones                                   $1,312,611

FA cap holds                                     2017-18                                FA status
Alex Len                                            $12,059,053                         Restricted Bird
Alan Williams                                  $1,671,382                       Restricted early Bird

First-round cap hold                     2017-18
No. 4 selection                                 $5,090,040

Outlook

Phoenix finds themselves in the position to potentially have some real flexibility this summer if they decide to walk away from one of their emerging guys. The Suns can be looking at about $25 million if they choose to decline all options. Having the fourth pick helps a bit since you can expect that guy to contribute minutes right away.

Some speculation (well mine) points to the Suns getting De’Aaron Fox with said fourth pick making it even more imperative for them to find Brandon Knight a new home. The challenge of course lies in getting equal value for him without tacking on a bunch of bad contracts which is something that small market and frankly poor performing teams kinda have to eat in many cases.

Alex Len is the kinda the lynch pin in the Suns’ free agency plan. He has a $12 million team option that will dictate their flexibility. They have expressed that they would like Len to be a part of their future plans but in a world where Timofey Mozgov nets $16 million a year it’s not far fetched to think that someone can off Ken around the same. Alan Williams is a pretty safe bet to stay even in the event that another team sees what Phoenix sees. They’ll probably jump at the opportunity to get Leandro Barbosa off of their books to free up $4 million.

Phoenix has real holes, specifically on defense. Phoenix ranked dead last in opponent scoring yielding 113 per night. And despite, playing at the second fastest pace in the league they ranked 19th (45%) in shooting and 27th from beyond the arc (33.2%). So look for them to try to hit the bargain basement for a steal on a 3 and D guy (not cheap). And even that all depends on what they can do about Len.

Names to watch: Dante Cunningham – SF/PF – Player Option, Thabo Sefolosha – SF – Unrestricted, Nikola Mirotic -PF-Restricted, Andre Roberson – SG/SF – Restricted

 

-H.B.

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