September is an awful month for NBA news. We all know it's awful. Don't pretend it isn't awful or you'll lose all credibility.
Look at what we're talking about - wildly subjective NBA player rankings, t-shirt designs, and the feelings of Markieff Morris. Well guess what? I'm here to make it worse!
Since September is such a dead month I thought it would be a fun vanity project for me to look back at all the incredibly dramatic September player transactions in Phoenix Suns franchise history and rank them.
My source is Basketball Reference and I'm pretty sure they're just covering trades and free agent signings in there (and retirements for whatever reason) - so things like Eric Bledsoe re-signing with the Suns last September aren't going to be included and you can't make me. If you'd like to personally do additional research to see which of their own free agents the Suns signed in September then we have a comments section.
That was an introduction.
This is a ranking from least interesting move to most interesting move. In the event you disagree with any of my rankings, don't do that:
(58) September 28, 2013:
The Move: Suns sign James Nunnally
How It Worked Out: He played in a couple preseason games and was released. I'm pretty sure East Bay Ray was all in on the Nunnally bandwagon - which remains funny.
(57) September 15, 2009:
The Move: Suns release Sasha Pavlovic
How It Worked Out: Acquired as part of the Shaq salary dump - Pavlovic and Ben Wallace combined to play zero games for the Suns.
(56) September 4, 1979:
The Move: Suns waive Ted McClain
How It Worked Out: This guy was an All-Star for the Carolina Cougars....in 1974. This was not 1974 and the Suns had very little need for an aging, lightly used shooting guard.
(55) September 30, 2002:
The Move: Suns sign Anthony Goldwire
How It Worked Out: He was waived like 3 weeks later without playing in a regular season game. So it worked great.
(54) September 28, 2001:
The Move: Suns waive Johnny Newman
How It Worked Out: List your favorite Johnny Newman Suns memory here.
(53) September 24, 1974:
The Move: Suns waive Bill Chamberlain
How It Worked Out: I know. I can't believe they waived Bill Chamberlain either. Bill Chamberlain is known for being a person you could Google if you want to find out more information on him.
(52) September 29, 1992:
The Move: Suns sign Alex Stivrins
How It Worked Out: As you all know, it's impossible to think of the legacy of the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns without thinking of the contributions of Alex Stivrins. I won't insult your intelligence by recounting them here.
(51) September 3, 1993:
The Move: Suns sign Joe Courtney
How It Worked Out: Phoenix was the 2nd of 7 different stops in an NBA career for Joe Courtney that spread out over 96 games. He does however still follow me on Twitter, so there's that.
(50) September 26, 2014:
The Move(s): Suns sign Earl Barron, Joe Jackson, Casey Prather, and Jamil Wilson
How It Worked Out: Barron probably deserves his own post because he's so awesome but he's got to share with Jackson, Prather and Wilson. Fun fact, if you click on Jamil Wilson's basketball reference page it links to ABA player Jasper Wilson who played from 1968-1970. They do not appear to be related. Only Barron played went on to play for the Suns out of this bunch and that wasn't until he was re-signed in March of 2015.
(49) September 6, 1994:
The Move: Suns sign Aaron Swinson
How It Worked Out: I could bore you with the details of Aaron Swinson's 9 game NBA career or I could tell you that in the 1994-95 season my Dad bought a ball signed by the Suns entire roster and it always amused me that Aaron Swinson was on it. We good here?
(48) September 23, 1976:
The Move: Suns sign Marv Roberts
How It Worked Out: If I told you Marv Roberts was one of the Wet Bandits would you even bother to see if I'm lying to you? I bet you wouldn't. Marv Roberts was one of the Wet Bandits.
(47) September 24, 1992:
The Move: Suns release Chad Gallagher
How It Worked Out: Phoenix made Gallagher the 32nd pick in the 1991 NBA Draft ahead of a lot of guys who played in the NBA (including Elliot Perry, Bobby Phills and Richard Dumas). After he spent a couple years in Spain the Suns waived him. He did get to play 2 games for the 1993-94 Utah Jazz though!
(46) September 25, 1995:
The Move: Suns sign John Coker
How It Worked Out: Following 5 games and 8 total points, the Suns said a tearful goodbye to Coker, leaving him forever tied with Stefano Rusconi on the franchise's all-time points list.
(45) September 15, 1994:
The Move: Suns waive Jerrod Mustaf
How It Worked Out: He was a 1990 1st round pick of the Knicks who came to Phoenix in the Xavier McDaniel trade. Mustaf lasted 3 uneven seasons in Phoenix before continuing a 7 year career in Europe.
(44) September 15, 1994:
The Move: Suns sign Winston Garland
How It Worked Out: If you're going to release a player like Jerrod Mustaf you sure as hell better have a Winston Garland waiting in the wings. Winston Garland lasted in Phoenix until November 1st.
(43) September 17, 1975:
The Move: Suns trade Greg Jackson to the Washington Bullets for a future draft pick
How It Worked Out: Jackson had played 49 total NBA games (44 with the Suns) but after this trade he never played in the NBA again. The draft pick must have been conditional on him doing anything at all because there's no evidence it turned into anything.
So to recap: guy who never played in the NBA again was traded for imaginary draft pick. You're welcome for this column.
(42) September 20, 1969:
The Move: Suns trade Gene Tormohlen to the Atlanta Hawks for a 1970 3rd round pick
How That Worked Out: Phoenix picked the 31 year-old Tormohlen in the 1968 expansion draft - a move which apparently motivated him to retire for the 1968-69 season. A year later the Suns traded him to his former team (the Hawks - though they had moved to Atlanta from St. Louis during his retirement) where he played 2 more games.
The 3rd round pick was NC State product Vann Williford who played 0 games with the Suns and instead did his thing for the Carolina Cougars of the ABA for a total of 38 games.
(41) September 8, 1980:
The Move: Suns waive Wiley Peck
How It Worked Out: This is not the first time I've written about Wiley Peck. Wiley Peck is basically the patron saint of my blog posts. He ranks this high on the list solely due to his name.
(40) September 30, 1981:
The Move: Suns trade Johnny High to the Chicago Bulls for a 1983 3rd round pick
How It Worked Out: I could write anything here and you're just going to make a joke about the name Johnny High. Go ahead, make your pithy joke. I assume Michael Beasley will be involved, you don't deserve nice things. Just for that you don't get to know anything about the Suns 1983 3rd round draft pick Winfred King.
(39) September 18, 1973:
The Move: Suns waive Scott English
How It Worked Out: English was drafted out of UTEP in 1972 and played 29 games in the previous season before being released. He played two more seasons in the ABA and that was that.
(38) September 11, 1969
The Move: Suns waive Bob Warlick
How That Worked Out: Warlick was a shooting guard who had just finished playing 63 games for the delightfully terrible 16-win expansion Phoenix Suns. He scored 507 points for the Suns - which is 82 more than Archie Goodwin has scored. He would play just 1 more season in the ABA and call it a career.
(37) September 29, 1972:
The Move: Suns waive Art Harris
How It Worked Out: Harris was acquired by the Suns early in the 1969-70 season and actually played 153 games for the team over the next 3 seasons. He was released prior to Butch Van Breda Kolff's first season as Suns coach (which lasted 7 games). There is a nearly 150% chance you've never heard of him.
(36) September 24, 2010:
The Move: Suns sign Garret Siler
How It Worked Out: He never seemed to be able to find basketball shorts that fit. I'm pretty sure there's a guy on this site who thinks Siler hung the moon though so I'll let him defend the big man's honor. Here's a 3 minute highlight mix that exists for no good reason:
(35) September 21, 1971:
The Move: Suns waive Joe Thomas
How That Worked Out: Thomas was a 6th round pick in 1970 and played 39 games for the team during a 48-win season. He scored 55 points in a Suns uniform - which is 10 more than Garret Siler.
(34) September 25, 1972:
The Move: Suns waive Jeff Webb
How It Worked Out: Webb was a shooting guard from Kansas State who had 48 games under his belt with the Bucks before signing with the Suns in January of 1972. After 27 games and 67 points he was released prior to the 1972-73 season. He has won one more NBA championship than you.
(33) September 27, 2002:
The Move: Suns sign Dan Langhi
How It Worked Out: For some reason I thought Dan Langhi played for Gonzaga. He did not. He played for Vanderbilt and then played 60 games for the Suns in the 2002-03 season.
(32) September 21, 1989:
The Move: Suns release Kenny Gattison
How It Worked Out: Well he just spent two years as an assistant coach for the Suns before they opted not to renew his contract. Hopefully getting dropped by the Suns works out as well for him this time as it did last time when he continued his NBA career for another 7 years.
(31) September 19, 1973:
The Move: Suns waive Mo Layton
How It Worked Out: Mo Layton was drafted by the Suns in 1971 and played 2 full seasons with Phoenix - including 23 minutes per game as a rookie - before being released. He hung around professional basketball until 1978.
(30) September 28, 1990:
The Move: Suns trade Mike Morrison to the Washington Bullets for a 1993 2nd round pick
How It Worked Out: Mike Morrison didn't make the Bullets roster and the 1993 2nd round pick wasn't exercised. These are the exciting trades that happen in September.
(29) September 15, 2000:
The Move: Suns sign Mario Elie
How It Worked Out: I have nothing positive to say about Mario Elie's existence.
(28) September 30, 1975:
The Move: Suns trade Earl Williams to the Detroit Pistons for a 1976 2nd round pick
How It Worked Out: The guy the Suns traded had played in 79 games as a rookie before he was shipped away. He played another 67 games over parts of 3 seasons with the Pistons, Knicks, and Celtics. The 2nd round pick was traded with something called John Roche to the Lakers in a trade that brought Pat Riley and his mustache to the Suns for 1 sub-mediocre season.
(27) September 21, 1976:
The Move: Pat Riley retired
How It Worked Out: I have no idea what Pat Riley has been up to since he retired but as we all know - he'll be remembered as a Phoenix Sun.
(26) September 11, 1968:
The Move: Suns trade Dennis Hamilton to the Atlanta Hawks for a 1969 3rd round draft pick
How that Worked Out: Hamilton had just finished his rookie season as a Laker when he was drafted by the Suns in the 1968 expansion draft. Obviously Hamilton impressed the Suns so much that he never played a game for them until he was dealt for a 3rd round pick.
That 3rd round pick was Lloyd Kerr. Fun fact about Lloyd Kerr - he and his twin Floyd Kerr (nice naming work Mr. and Mrs. Kerr) were both picked by the Suns in the 1969 NBA Draft. They also both failed to play a single game in the NBA.
(25) September 13, 1978:
The Move: Curtis Perry retired
How It Worked Out: After 4 seasons pretty good seasons with the Suns, Perry retired due to a combination of injuries.
(24) September 5, 1989:
The Move: Suns trade Steve Kerr to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 1993 2nd round pick
How It Worked Out: Kerr played just 26 games in Phoenix as a rookie and wound up kicking around the NBA for several seasons before finding his niche in Chicago in the mid 1990s. You know who Steve Kerr is. Mark Buford on the other hand never played a game in the NBA and is probably most famous for attending the same college as Jerry Rice (Mississippi Valley State). Steve Kerr enjoying greater success upon leaving the Phoenix Suns franchise - who knew.
(23) September 13, 1969:
The Move: Suns trade Bill Melchionni to the Philadelphia 76ers for a 1970 2nd round pick
How That Worked Out: Melchionni played for the 76ers in 1967-68 and was picked in the Suns expansion draft. He spent the 1968-69 season with the Trenton Colonials of Eastern Pennsylvania Basketball League (later, the CBA) and the Suns dealt his NBA rights back to the Sixers for a 2nd round pick.
That 2nd round pick wound up being Joe DePre but he never played in the NBA and was teammates with Melchionni on the Nets for 3 seasons. So basically the Suns and 76ers exchanged New York Nets players. Huge impact.
(22) September 24, 1984:
The Move: Suns sign Mike Holton
How It Worked Out: He was a 23 year-old combo guard with no prior NBA experience, he was signed on September 24th, and he wound up starting 59 games for the 1984-85 Suns due to injuries to Walter Davis. Shockingly enough that team won only 36 games (and made the playoffs).
(21) September 19, 1972:
The Move: Suns trade a 1974 2nd round pick and a future draft pick to the Lakers for Paul Stovall
How It Worked Out: The Lakers selected Stovall - an Arizona State product - in the 2nd round of the 1972 NBA draft but the Suns were able to pry him loose in exchange for a 2nd round pick two years down the road.
Stovall played just 25 games with the Suns during the 1972-73 season.
That 1974 2nd round pick was traded from the Lakers to the Bullets and wound up being future Suns forward Truck Robinson.
(20) September 14, 1973:
The Move: Suns waive Paul Stovall
How It Worked Out: Do we really need more words about Paul Stovall?
(19) September 6, 1974:
The Move: Suns trade Clem Haskins to the Washington Bullets for Dave Stallworth and a 1975 2nd round pick
How It Worked Out: After 4 seasons in Phoenix, Haskins had begun to see his playing time dip under John MacLeod so the 30 year-old future University of Minnesota head coach was shipped to Washington for Dave Stallworth and a draft pick which turned into Allen Murphy.
Stallworth was waived by the Suns before he played a game while Murphy entered the ABA for a season. Haskins played just two more mediocre seasons
(18) September 18, 1995:
The Move: Danny Ainge retired
How It Worked Out: After a 15 year career, Ainge retired at age 35. Only a year later he took over for Cotton Fitzsimmons after an 0-8 start and served as the Suns head coach for 3 and a half seasons. The 1997-98 Suns won 56 games with Ainge at the helm.
(17) September 8, 1999:
The Move: Suns sign Corie Blount
How It Worked Out: The 7th year big man struggled with injuries in his first season in Phoenix before being traded to the Golden State Warriors midway through the 2000-01 season in a deal that brought the Suns Vinny Del Negro. That may as well have been a Mad Lib. Ah, this is where you're going to make a pot joke.
(16) September 25, 1996:
The Move: Suns trade Elliot Perry to the Milwaukee Bucks for Marty Conlon and a 1999 1st round pick
How It Worked Out: Trading Socks is never going to work out. Marty Conlon never played for the Suns and the 1999 1st round pick was used as part of the trade that brought Antonio McDyess to the Suns for 1 glorious season.
(15) September 30, 2003:
The Move: Suns trade Bo Outlaw and Jake Tsakalidis to the Memphis Grizzlies for Robert Archibald, Brevin Knight, and Cezary Trybanski
How It Worked Out: Here's a sexy quote on this trade from GM Bryan Colangelo:
"The structure of this deal ensures greater flexibility for the organization as we move forward while keeping our young core of players intact," Suns general manager Bryan Colangelo said
Aw hell yea - fiscal responsibility.
(14) September 20, 2000:
The Move: Suns traded Luc Longley to the New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers traded Travis Knight, Glen Rice, and a 2001 1st round pick to the Knicks, the Knicks traded Chris Dudley and a 2001 1st round pick to the Suns; the Knicks traded Patrick Ewing to the Sonics; the Sonics traded Emanual Davis, Greg Foster, Horace Grant, and Chuck Person to the Lakers; and the Sonics traded Lazaro Borrell, Vernon Maxwell, Vladimir Stepania, a 2001 2nd round pick, a 2001 2nd round pick, and a 2002 1st round pick to the Knicks
How It Worked Out: That was a lot of words to say "the Suns traded Luc Longley to the Knicks for Chris Dudley and a 1st round pick". That 1st round pick was part of the Penny Hardaway trade from a year earlier while Chris Dudley remained Chris Dudley.
(13) September 12, 1968:
The Move: Suns trade Dick Cunningham to the Milwaukee Bucks for John Arthurs, cash, and a future 2nd round pick
How That Worked Out: Dick Cunningham (names were so much better in the 60's) was the 2nd draft pick in Suns history and the team liked him so much that they traded him to the Bucks for John Arthurs, some cash, and a draft pick that never conveyed.
If Basketball Reference is to be trusted, Arthurs was traded to the Suns in 1968, then drafted by the Bucks in the 6th round of the 1969 NBA Draft. He then played 11 career NBA games. If that makes no sense, that's OK - here's a ridiculous explanation from a guy with even more time on his hands than me because I refuse to consider this any further.
Cunningham played 358 games in the NBA so I guess the Suns lost the trade for getting exactly nothing from the Bucks except for a bit of cash.
(12) September 17, 2002:
The Move: Suns trade Milt Palacio to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 2008 2nd round pick
How It Worked Out: Palacio had played 28 games for the Suns the previous year after being acquired from Boston in the Joe Johnson trade (Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers were shipped to Boston). That 2nd round pick was traded along with cash and a 2009 2nd round pick (DeJuan Blair) to the San Antonio Spurs for the draft rights to Goran Dragic...and oh my god I just set the comments on fire.
(11) September 7, 2004:
The Move: Suns sign Yuta Tabuse
How It Worked Out: Tabuse was the first (and remains only) Japanese born player to appear in the NBA. He's also remembered by Suns fans 11 years later even though he only played in 4 games before being released. Here he is tearing up the hardwood in his NBA debut:
(10) September 27, 1983:
The Move: Suns sign Paul Westphal
How It Worked Out: Nobody did the "bring a retiring star back home" move quite like Jerry Colangelo. Westphal had been dealt to Seattle for Dennis Johnson in 1980 and after a season in the Pacific Northwest and a couple with the Knicks he returned to the Suns for a final year. The future Suns Ring of Honor member played 59 games (and averaged near career lows) for a Suns team that made a surprising Western Conference Finals appearance. He retired at season's end.
(9) September 12, 2005:
The Move: Suns sign Eddie House
How It Worked Out: He was nothing if not entertaining. The former ASU star was an unabashed gunner - some nights he'd have it (like when he went for a season high 31 against the Jazz on 7/11 three point shooting) and other nights he wouldn't. But on those nights he had it - he was a lot of fun to watch.
(8) September 2, 1997:
The Move: Suns sign George McCloud
How It Worked Out: George McCloud was a guy who shot three pointers. In his 2 seasons with the Suns he hit 37.4% of his attempts. In the Suns 1998 playoff series loss to the Spurs, McCloud started 3 of the 4 games and hit on 12 of his 21 three point attempts including 6/7 In a Game 2 win.
(7) September 3, 2013:
The Move: Suns waive Michael Beasley
How It Worked Out: This.
(6) September 23, 1994:
The Move: Suns trade Cedric Ceballos to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 1995 1st round pick
How It Worked Out: Ceballos blossomed into an All-Star and 20 point per game scorer in Los Angles before going AWOL two season later and being dealt back to the Suns for Joe Kleine and Robert Horry. The 1st round pick wound up being Michael Finley. I like everything about this except for putting Robert Horry in LA. Robert Horry should have been shot via rocket into the moon.
(5) September 16, 1994:
The Move: Suns sign Wayman Tisdale
How It Worked Out: You know that thing where you're a contender and good players in their prime will take a bunch less money to come play for you? I really miss that.
(4) September 6, 1977:
The Move: Suns trade Ricky Sobers to the Indiana Pacers for Don Buse
How It Worked Out: Sobers was young and talented but the Suns needed a point guard to set up Paul Westphal, Walter Davis, and Alvan Adams. Buse played 3 seasons in Phoenix and was an All-Defensive 1st team pick all 3 years for Suns teams that were legit contenders. He was dealt back to Indiana for draft picks after the Suns acquired Dennis Johnson in 1980.
Ricky Sobers played 9 more seasons in the NBA for 4 different teams while averaging over 13 points per game for his career.
(3) September 28, 1993:
The Move: Suns sign A.C. Green
How It Worked Out: Pretty darn well thank you. Green's signing was effectively a reaction to the Suns loss of Richard Dumas to a drug suspension and Phoenix was able to woo him with a 5 year contract after he'd spent the first 8 years of his career with the Lakers. The veteran iron man was a strong contributor on a pair of really good Suns teams and hung around until 1996-97 when he was a part of the trade that brought Jason Kidd to Phoenix.
(2) September 3, 1994:
The Move: Suns sign Danny Manning
How It Worked Out: I literally just did this and I won't do it for you again.
(1) September 16, 1974:
The Move: Suns trade Neal Walk and a 1975 2nd round pick to the New Orleans Jazz for Dennis Awtrey, Nate Hawthorne, Curtis Perry, and a 1976 1st round pick
How It Worked Out: This one was actually a really great deal for the Suns. Walk was the 1969 consolidation prize in the Lew Alcindor sweepstakes and was a solid performer for Phoenix - missing just two total games in 5 seasons and averaged 20 and 12 in the 1972-73 campaign. But the Suns wanted to add more defense - and they did that with Awtrey, Perry, and Hawthorne. The 1976 1st round pick was flipped to Buffalo for a 1975 1st round pick which wound up being Ricky Sobers (we'll ignore the fact that the 1976 pick wound up being future Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley).
All 4 players collected in the trade wound up as significant contributors for the Suns 1976 Western Conference Championship team. And I'd be remise if I didn't mention that Dennis Awtrey had an all-time great NBA perm.