Much like Isaiah Thomas a year ago, Brandon Knight signed with the Phoenix Suns because they made him feel wanted.
"I wasn't here for long," Knight said at his press conference last week. "But once I got here from day one the organization showed me first class how they do things. They really did things the right way, asked my opinion on a lot of things."
Thomas was sold on the Suns after one visit a year ago. He said he's always just wanted to be wanted. He'd been, effectively, cut loose for nothing by the Kings and searched the market for a good opportunity and a long-term contract commitment from a team. He got the love and the money from the Suns, but the opportunity part was questionable.
Thomas wanted to start, but signed on to the Suns to be a backup. That's shows you what a good sales job the Suns did on Thomas, and also what makes the Knight signing so much different.
Knight knows he has a starting job waiting for him. He's sacrificing a bit on the ball handler part, but he will get all the minutes he can handle and will run the point at least half the game. That's all he wants.
"[The Suns] welcomed me with open arms," he said. "Showed how much they wanted me. That's a big reason I wanted to commit so early in the process.
"I didn't really entertain many other teams. That wasn't what I really wanted to do."
Indeed, Brandon Knight's agreement to a Bledsoe-matching 5 year, $70 million contract came within minutes of the starting gun at midnight Eastern on July 1, 2015. The Suns met him in California, where he flew on June 30 to accommodate a Suns front office team that wanted to be in California to see Tyson Chandler and LaMarcus Aldridge.
But the Suns would have flown anywhere to meet Knight first, then go on to California afterward.
"Nothing that we have done [this summer] has been more important than re-signing Brandon Knight," outgoing President Lon Babby said.
The Suns offered to meet Knight where ever he wanted, but instead Knight insisted on meeting the Suns where it was most convenient for them to get going on free agency. He met them in California at 9:01pm on June 30, quickly agreed to the "very fair" contract and offered to join the Suns on recruiting trips to see Chandler and Aldridge later that day.
Knight was all-in from the start of summer, where he insisted at the exit conferences in April that he wanted to get it done quickly and had already wanted to remain in Phoenix.
"I just really knew, after being here a couple of months, where my heart was at," he said.
"With the coaching staff that we have," he continued. "The young talent, adding Tyson Chandler, the signings that we had this summer, with a great front office - they guys that are doing the most they can do to improve our team - everything is in line with what you want for a championship caliber team.
"It kind of made my decision to get it done quickly a ‘no brainer'."
Knight, just barely turned 23 this spring, is already on his third NBA team. He's been a starter since day one in the league, but has been traded away twice now. Each year, he's improved to the point where he was the starting point guard for surprisingly good Milwaukee team (30-23 at the time of the trade), yet he was still traded.
He's been replaced by the eminently replaceable Brandon Jennings and Michael Carter-Williams. Both young, both promising, but neither more promising than Knight.
Why was he traded each time? Theories abound, but the truth is that neither Detroit nor Milwaukee got better without him. In fact, they got worse at least in the immediate aftermath.
It's no wonder Knight is excited to finally be with a team that really, really wants him. To the tune of a $70 million commitment.
"When you have a first class organization that wants you," he said. "With what I've been through thus far in my career, getting better each year - and trying to find a home - was very important to me."