According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, whose sources are rarely off base, the Phoenix Suns have made a substantial offer to bring back “Big Sauce” Alan Williams next year as a backup center.
Hearing Suns offer of 4 years to Alan Williams is in the 5-6 million per year range— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) July 2, 2017
That would be a 4-year, $20-24 million contract.
The Suns would love to have Sauce back, and he’d certainly love to come back to Phoenix, but money is money.
Across the nation, Bulls backup center Cristiano Felicio got $8 million pear, for a 4-year, $32 million contract. Of the two, Alan Williams is the more productive player while Felicio has better efficiency numbers. Seems like Williams will be a bargain at anything less than $8-10 million per year.
Reports out there suggest the New York Knicks are also looking to make an offer sheet for Williams, a restricted free agent.
Source called PF Alan Williams "serious candidate" with Knicks. Suns may not be able to match if Millsap signs.— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 1, 2017
If the Suns offer is $5-6 million per year, it’s possible the Knicks are willing to offer even more money. If Williams signs any RFA offer sheet, the Suns would have three days to match the offer and keep Sauce, or let him go.
In the Suns favor, Williams’ heart is in Phoenix and his mother is Phoenix’s Chief of Police. He was born and raised in Phoenix, and has been a Suns fans since he was a kid. However, he went to college in California for the better basketball opportunity, so it’s possible he will do it again (though, really, the KNICKS?!).
Of the three Suns centers last year - Tyson Chandler, Alex Len and Alan Williams - the most likely to come back to the Suns next season appears to be Williams.
After taking themselves out of the running for long-coveted Paul Millsap, the Phoenix Suns are going all in on youth, reportedly with an eye toward eating big-money contracts if there’s a long-term potential young player tacked on to it.
In that context, it makes sense that the Suns will focus on re-signing “Big Sauce” Alan Williams at a deal under $10 million per year before they try to bring back Alex Len, who will certainly command more money. It’s even more likely the Suns renounce rights to Len, who has a $12.06 million cap hold at the moment, before they commit big money to the underwhelming Ukrainian.
It also makes sense for the Suns to trade Tyson Chandler for whatever future assets they can get. Last spring, the Suns reportedly wanted a first round pick for him, but the more likely outcome is a second round pick or two.
Expect Sauce, Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender to all takes turns in the pivot next year as the Suns transition into a lean, mean, switching machine on defense rather than the traditional pair-of-bigs front employed in recent years.