Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
On Tuesday of this week we ran a poll asking the fans to vote for which players they want as the Suns' starting five and the results were conclusive. Eric Bledsoe was selected by 93.6% of the voters as the starting point guard and Devin Booker was selected as starting shooting guard by 99.7% of the voters. Slightly over two-thirds (67.3%) selected rookie Josh Jackson as the starting small forward over incumbent starter T.J. Warren (31.3%) and 74.2% of fans were in favor of Marquese Chriss retaining his starting spot at power forward. At center, Tyson Chandler got the nod with 53% of the vote with Dragan Bender finishing second with 16% over Alex Len (13%), Alan Williams (11%) and Marquese Chriss (6%).
The total votes cast in the five polls ranged from 1463 to 1500.
The Fantable Questions
This week I asked our Fantable to put on their GM hats and give their opinions on what McDonough should try to accomplish between now and the beginning of the season. Things they were asked to consider were whether or not to pursue a deal for Kyrie Irving, should the Suns offer TJ Warren a contract extension (and if so for how much), whether the Suns should just wait and see if Len signs the QO or eventually make him a modest contract offer that would make him easier to trade and finally to give us any ideas they had on things other than those I already mentioned that McD should try to get done during the off-season.
Here are their answers:
GuarGuar: Oh the forever interesting dog days of August! Luckily for us, it has been a very entertaining offseason with so much happening. Overall, I am very pleased with what McDonough has done so far this offseason in regards to the draft and free agency. However, the offseason is not over yet and moves can still be made (potentially big ones).
The first and most talked about possible deal is Kyrie Irving. Like I have said in previous articles, I am for trading for Kyrie but it has to be at the right price. That price to me is Bledsoe, TJ, and the Miami 2018 pick. That’s about as high as I would ever go. Don’t include any part of the core four or it is a clear no deal for me. Bledsoe is a really good player and might actually be a better fit here than Kyrie. However, Kyrie is definitely the supreme talent between the two and those types of players aren’t available that often.
Regarding TJ Warren, I am totally fine offering him a modest contract extension. Somewhere in the range of 4 years 40 million would be acceptable to me. He has to know and accept his role will be the 6th man though. We can’t sell him on being a future starter or someone who will be in at the end of games. If he agrees to this role and takes this type of contract, I say let’s keep him.
Alex Len on the other hand, I want absolutely no part of. I really hope he doesn’t sign the QO just because I am so done with him. But if he does sign it, it isn’t a bad thing. But in no way should we offer him a different contract, especially long term. Regarding other free agents, I have no interest because they will take away minutes from our young core and #TheTimeline.
Sun-Arc: Count me in as one of the people that doesn't care much for the term #TheTimeline but likes the strategy. I need one more season to know whether the player development department we have is really working or not. Booker is coming along great (at least on offense). I think TJ has shown improvement and is a fine player. Chriss made quite a leap in his rookie season. Ulis and Williams did too. On the not so positive side, Len never materialized, Bender hasn't proven anything outside of summer league games. But there are ample flashes on the surface to show me that nearly all of these guys, plus JJ and Reed, could become very good players. And that's eight players (not including Len), enough for an entire roster if they all work out.
Two directions to go from here are:
1. Stand pat and let the players develop into a team and see how far they can get in the next year or two. Bring in a star in free agency during one of the next two summers and attempt to contend.
2. Build the players into great assets and make a big trade to bring in a star or two, and attempt to contend.
Either method may work or fail. Right now its too early to sell on any of our players, with the possible exception being TJ because he's near the end of his rookie deal and has developed into a very respectable scorer. It's too early for #2. We have to wait until at least next summer before doing anything really big. I don't want to move any young players just yet because I'd like to see if they can develop real chemistry together and build from the ground up. I also am fine standing pat on the vets we have to keep team cohesion.
Here are the moves I would consider:
A. Trade Bled for Irving. I would not give up any of our players under 26. My max deal is Bled plus two picks, or Bled + Chandler/Dudley + 1 pick for Irving + Frye. This is the only deal where I would move vets. I think Kyrie is overall an upgrade over Bled and could help to acquire another star here in free agency next summer. I'm also concerned about Eric's injury issues, but at the same time really would be happy to pair him with LBJ on a contending team. He's given his all here (and his knees). He deserves to win for a change.
B. Offer a $36m/4yr extension to TJ this summer. I think that is a fair offer to him at this point. If he doesn't take it, lets see how he does this season and if he earns more than that. I might trade him during the season if he doesn't improve much and seems to be demanding a much bigger contract.
C. If Chandler gets traded in the Irving trade, I offer Len a $27m/3yr deal with the first season fully guaranteed, second season $3m guaranteed, and no guarantee on the 3rd. That makes the contract movable but allows him to make good with the team that drafted him. If Chandler is not moved I might still make the same deal but one of the two should be traded during the season. I'm really ok with moving Len and rolling with Tyson for another season, then trying to draft our center of the future in 2018. Moving Tyson instead still allows us to draft our future center and move/waive Len next summer if he doesn't improve much.
SDKyle: I've increasingly become a fan of a more conservative approach, letting this young core gel before we decide whether the Suns need to make a radical move.
The Suns should not really be aggressively pursuing Kyrie Irving, but rather should be playing hard to get and putting the pressure to make a deal where it belongs: on the Cavs. Tell them they can have Bledsoe, Warren, and the first round Miami pick for Irving. Then tell them they're welcome to get a better deal elsewhere, knowing full well they won't.
The Suns should extend Warren at around $10 million a year. That's a solid deal given his production so far, and it won't look like anything but a bargain when he turns into a 15 ppg scorer off the bench.
I'm fairly apathetic about Len's situation. I say wait him out at this point.
For me, the FO has put this team in a solid position to succeed going forward. Now its time for the players and coaches to start putting it together out there. Things aren't perfect, but I'm more optimistic about Suns basketball than I have been in a long time.
SouthernSun: Here are some things I'd like to see happen before the start of the season.
1. Suns should continue to attempt to trade for Kyrie, however, they should limit their offer to either:
A. Bledsoe, Dudley, 2018 Miami 1st, future protected Suns 1st (perhaps 2018 top 5 protected).
B. Bledsoe, Warren, 2018 Miami 1st.
C. Bledsoe, Bender, 2018 Miami 1st.
If it costs more than one of those deals, we should not do it. Jackson is off limits. There's a reason they are pining for him.
With reports of LeBron apparently definitely leaving Cleveland after this season, they may choose to.hold onto their young star point guard. It is looking much less likely now with those reports. I'd love for the Suns to get Kyrie, but I'd be on board with keeping Bledsoe and making a run at Cousins next summer.
2. If he's not included as part of a deal for Kyrie, McDonough should attempt to go ahead and get Warren to agree to a reasonable extension. Something around 9 to 10 million a year for 4 years. He'll be worth that, at least.
3. I don't think the Suns should offer Len anything other than the qualifying offer. If he takes it, ok. If he doesn't, oh well. We signed Williams to a multi year deal. We have Chandler for at least 2 more seasons. Many of us hope that Bender or Chriss will be able to start at center eventually. On top of that, as I mentioned before, I fully expect McDonough to make a run at Cousins next summer if he doesn't extend with New Orleans. Len is superfluous.
4. I would also like the Suns to get a deal done for another asset. Not one like dumping Bledsoe for a pick (my stance has always been that Bledsoe should not be traded unless in a package for a younger, better star player, because stars are hard to come by), but one like taking on a big expiring contract with a future pick attached to help get another team out of the luxury tax. But only an expiring. Unless the player coming with the pick is a very solid player that just happens to be on an over-inflated deal.
Once again many thanks to our Fantable... GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun!
2016-17 Season Highlights
Tyson Chandler Full Highlights 2017.01.24 vs Timberwolves - 22 Pts, 17 Rebs, 2 Blks, 9-9 FGM!
Eric Bledsoe Full Highlights 2017.01.22 at Raptors - Career-HIGH 40 Pts, 13 Assists, 6 Rebs, 2 GOOD!
Jared Dudley 19 Points/6 Assists Full Highlights (4/5/2017)
Quote of the Week
“Nasty. Edgy. Physical. Vocal. Aggressive. He can guard a big. He can rebound over a big. Plays with his heart. Has a lot of Shawn Marion in him, the way he can guard many positions. He has a lot of (Amare) Stoudemire in him, the way he is aggressive on the court. Josh brings a toughness to his position." - Earl Watson speaking about Josh Jackson
News & Notes
Instant Awesome: Derrick Jones Jr. showcases his hops during personal workout. ESPN
Keeping Alex Len is a low-risk proposition for Suns. Fanrag Sports
Phoenix Suns Team Bonding in Los Angeles. Suns.com
Grading the Suns offseason. Fanrag Sports
NBPA “Players Voice Awards” Revealed. NBPA
ESPN says the Phoenix Suns will finish last in the Western Conference. Arizona Sports
Should the Suns Offer Josh Jackson in a Kyrie Irving Trade? The Ringer
Suns History in Video
Charles Barkley 'The MVP' 28/21/4 Owns Spurs in WCSF Game 6 (1993)
Charles Barkley only played 4 seasons for the Suns but had a huge impact during his years in the Valley. He ranks only 12th on the list of all-time leading scorers for the Suns with 6,556 points but 2nd in all-time points per game average (23.41) and 1st in points per game average in playoff games (26.52). He ranks 7th in total rebounds (3,232) and 3rd rebounds per game average (11.54) and 7th in steals per game average (1.59).
Barkley was selected to play in the NBA All-Star game all four seasons he was with the Suns, made the All-NBA First Team once, the All-NBA Second Team twice, the All-NBA Third Team once and was the 1992-93 Season MVP.
In 2006 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Statistics courtesy of Land of Basketball.com.
Previewing the Weeks/Months Ahead
August 31 - Last day teams may waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2017/18 salaries.
September 5 - Deadline to sign second-round draft picks (picks become free agents if not given a required tender)
September 26 (approximate; may vary) — Training camps open.
October 1 - Last day for RFAs to sign qualifying offers.
October 3 - 1st Preseason Game @ Portland Trail Blazers
October 6 - Preseason Game @ Utah Jazz
October 9 - Preseason Game vs Utah Jazz
October 11 - Preseason Game vs Portland Trail Blazers
October 13 - Preseason Games vs Brisbane Bullets
October 14 - Last day for players on fully non-guaranteed contracts to be waived and not count at all against a team’s 2017/18 cap.
October 15 - Roster limits decrease from 20 players to 15. Last day for teams to sign a player to a rookie scale extension. Last day for teams to sign a player to a veteran extension in certain scenarios. Last day for teams to complete sign-and-trade deals.
October 17 - Day One of the 2017-18 NBA Season... just 50 days away!
Last Week's Poll Results
The question was, "What do you think of the Suns' new uniforms?" The results were:
34% - I like them!
56% - They're okay but nothing to get excited about.
10% - I hate them!
There were a total of 268 votes cast.
This week's poll is...
If this season doesn't start well, should the Suns crank up the tank again after the All-Star break as they did last season?
This poll is closed
Ask me again at the All-Star break.