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Phoenix Suns "not quite done" with summer signings/trades; have needs at backup center and point guard

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

After signing four players from the free agent market, drafting one and trading for yet another, the Phoenix Suns have a nearly complete roster now.

"It's been a very eventful and productive summer," outgoing President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said at the Brandon Knight press conference last week.

Since June 25, the Suns have added six new players - Devin Booker, Jon Leuer, Tyson Chandler, Mirza Teletovic, Sonny Weems, Ronnie Price - and re-signed Brandon Knight to a huge contract.

The Suns only key losses from the end of the season are Marcus Morris, Gerald Green and Brandan Wright. Morris and Green will likely be replaced by younger players T.J. Warren, Archie Goodwin and Devin Booker, along with Sonny Weems. Brandan Wright will be replaced by Tyson Chandler.

With 13 players under guaranteed contracts, are the Suns totally done? No, there is still work to do.

"I think we are maybe not quite done, but almost done with our summer work" -Lon Babby

"I think we are maybe not quite done, but almost done with our summer work," Babby said.

The Suns depth chart is fairly balanced, but their are opportunities to add more players to the training camp roster, if not to the regular season roster with a guaranteed deal.

Babby had mentioned that the Suns were shooting for 13 guaranteed contracts this year, and they have already exceeded the salary cap - the first time they have exceeded the league's salary cap since 2012.

Here's a recap of the summer transactions, and the most likely method with which the players were added according to Bobby Marks, via twitter.


Marks has Ronnie Price being signed using the minimum salary exception, but by my count the Suns did not exceed the cap until they re-signed Brandon Knight to salary $3+ million over his cap hold for 2015-16.

Still, whether they signed Price before or after exceeding the cap is immaterial. They are over it now and have the same flexibility regardless. They can continue to sign players either using the "Room" exception (up to $2.8 million this year) and to minimum salaries, like Price.

Depth Chart

  • C: Tyson Chandler, Alex Len (Markieff Morris)
  • PF: Markieff Morris, Mirza Teletovic, Jon Leuer
  • SF: P.J. Tucker, T.J. Warren
  • SG: Brandon Knight, Sonny Weems, Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin
  • PG: Eric Bledsoe (Brandon Knight), Ronnie Price

That is 13 guaranteed contracts as of right now, going at least two-deep with strong roster players and/or designed playing opportunities for young players Len, Warren, Booker and Goodwin.

What's left?

Third string center

How about a third center. Both Alex Len and Tyson Chandler have injury histories. Sure, Markieff Morris can back up at center as he's done the past two years, but that is not an ideal situation for more than a few minutes per game.

Twitter rumors had the Suns looking at free agent Justin Hamilton last week, but he has since agreed to join Valencia oversees for next season.

The Suns, or Hamilton, apparently passed on that. Hamilton has since agreed with Valencia.

Sounds like the Suns still want a backup center.

Last year at this time, Hassan Whiteside was out there waiting to be signed. He eventually hooked on with Miami and had a heck of a season, so there's a chance the Suns could still find a quality backup big man at this late stage.

JaVale McGee is still out there, for example. Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva are out there too. Kevin Seraphin, previously rumored to have Suns interest, is still available.

Here's a fairly good list, though understandably a couple days out of date.

Summer Suns standout Josh Harrellson is still available. So is former Suns player Earl Barron.

Third string point guard

While Ronnie Price was signed for his veteran moxie and likely will stay on the Suns all year, you can expect the Suns will bring at least one more point guard to camp with a chance to make a roster spot. The Suns have 13 guaranteed contracts already, but the league allows for up to two more players.

You'd think the Suns would love to bring in summer standout Mike James, but likely don't want to guarantee him any money. He has guaranteed money waiting for him overseas, and interest from other NBA teams as well. He's not a real, pure point guard, so the Suns likely don't want to invest long-term money in yet another guy who scores better than passes.

Ish Smith is still out there, but surely will get guaranteed money and likely more than the league minimum. Rumors had him going back to Philadelphia - who still don't have a point guard - for more than the minimum. Will Bynum (previously linked to the Suns) and the well-traveled Luke Ridnour are on the market as well. 98-year old Pablo Prigioni will likely be on the market in the coming days, if he's not already.

There are also a few teams trying to shed salary now that they've spent all their money and are facing big luxury tax penalties. The Miami Heat just dumped 2014 first rounder Shabazz Napier for a future second round pick. Napier is small and not a real good passer, so this isn't a big loss from the Suns perspective.

Any other depth

One thing we know for sure is that GM Ryan McDonough never telegraphs his moves. Almost NONE of his dozen trades or handful of free agent signings have been known in advance.

So be sure that when the Suns do sign or acquire another player in the coming days it won't be anyone mentioned here.

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