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Suns bow out of the Paul Millsap race, going “all-in” on youth

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The first victory for fans of a full-on youth movement, as 32-year-old Paul Millsap’s price was too hefty for Phoenix.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns have withdrawn themselves from their continued pursuit of Paul Millsap. Many now believe the Denver Nuggets, who were long thought to be the prohibitive favorite for Millsap, are in the driver’s seat to sign him after Minnesota also bowed out.

Wojnarowski additionally reports Phoenix intends to use their cap space to help absorb salary dump contracts seeking young assets in return. This now signals that the youth movement is in full effect.

The Suns were linked to not only Millsap but Blake Griffin, too. They were scheduled to meet with Griffin Saturday, but the Clippers locked him up with a five-year max contract.

Without either Millsap or Griffin taking minutes away from Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender, expect a heavy dose of both at the four and five throughout next season. Also, this opens the door for an Alan Williams offer sheet to be matched. New York contacted Williams’ agent once free agency opened, but keeping him in the Valley for much-needed depth and rebounding should be on their to-do list. For three key youthful bigs, if all goes to plan, they will firmly be entrenched in the rotation.

Outside of their surprising pursuits early on after the moratorium was lifted, Phoenix now plans to build their roster around Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Chriss, and Bender.

From here, expect the Suns to address finding bigs who can stretch the floor more and add spacing to both units. Someone like Boston’s Kelly Olynyk, who is a restricted free agent, makes a lot of sense on a two to three-year offer sheet that’s slightly bloated to offset the Celtics’ shot of matching.

As for names to keep an eye on that could be on the way out, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Knight fit the billing. Chandler had a market at the trade deadline when Phoenix was shopping him, while to get rid of Knight, the Miami 2018 first would have to go, I imagine.

Now that we know the front office’s intentions, it will be intriguing to watch how the 2017-18 roster unfolds, along with when we find out about an extension for general manager Ryan McDonough. If the long view is agreed upon, wouldn't surprise me to see that locked up here this summer.