In a move to protect themselves against the loss of free agent forward/center Channing Frye, the Phoenix Suns are hosting free agent Spencer Hawes today in Phoenix.
This is the first reported free agent visit of the 3-days old open market while the Suns try to get a meeting with LeBron James. The Suns are in a holding pattern while they invite LeBron to weigh in on the best way to spend their cap space. The Suns can find room for LeBron and one more big name free agent of his choice, though it doesn't look likely that one of those will be Carmelo Anthony.
But in the off chance LeBron doesn't take the Suns up on their offer, the Suns have to have a Plan B.
The most obvious Plan B is to retain their free agents this summer - Channing Frye, P.J. Tucker and Eric Bledsoe - and keep their cap space for next summer, when new space will open up as Goran Dragic and the Morris Brothers become free agents themselves.
But what if Channing Frye leaves for other pastures? The Suns will still need to have a stretch big man who can pull the opponent's big out of the lane on the offense and rebound the ball a bit on defense.
The Suns first option, if Frye leaves, appears to be Spencer Hawes.
In 2013-14, the 7'1" Hawes was better than Frye in scoring, rebounding, assists and had the same defensive rating. Hawes put up 13.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 30.9 minutes per game. He made 41.6% of this 4 three-point attempts per game this season as well.
But Frye is a known commodity who knows exactly how to play his stretch 4/5 role to perfection, while Hawes has not been put in that position yet. Remember that B.J. Mullens became a stretch 4/5 for Charlotte two years ago and was signed by the Clippers to play that role but he failed in an environment of better talent and hardly played.
Unless the Suns have been told to take a hike by both LeBron James and Channing Frye, there's no chance Hawes is signed today.
So if you DO hear of the Suns and Hawes agreeing to terms today, then the Suns are already onto Plan C.