LeBron James isn’t the only star who may be signing a BIG deal in Los Angeles this free agency period. Devin Booker might do just that on Tuesday as well.
Don’t set your phasers to extreme panic just yet though. Booker won’t be signing with the Clippers or Lakers. He is in Los Angeles at the moment with his agent, where he’ll potentially be signing a max extension worth around $158 Million with the Suns. That is if the envoy of Robert Sarver, Ryan McDonough and James Jones make a convincing enough pitch to Booker about the “structure” of the extension -- whatever that means -- and their vision for the guard and the team’s future.
But how might that meeting actually go down and what might be presented? That’s the million dollar question.
In my almost five seasons with the Suns I saw pieces of what many free agent pitches looked like. I got the chance to see the leather bound book they put together for Steve Nash that depicted his return to the Valley, what his career could look like and what it would be like to be placed in the Ring of Honor. I also got to see the book that was made for Kobe Bryant that featured a similar pitch with the Black Mamba in a Suns jersey and pages depicting how he could continue to build his legacy even further in Phoenix.
There were custom made jerseys for LeBron James and others. Virtual reality presentations that, with the help of a headset and video shot in first person, would give said free agent a feel for what a day in the life of a member of the Suns would be like from the locker room, to the practice court and even Scottsdale at night.
There was an orange carpet that stretched from the front door of Talking Stick Resort Arena to Jefferson Street. An orange carpet that Eric Gordon would walk down as Suns employees wore t-shirts with him photoshopped in a Suns white home uniform with the word “cornerstone” in the corner. The employees dutifully cheered his arrival, holding signs encouraging him to make the Valley home.
There was a similar scene for Michael Beasley including water bottles featuring a label with a photoshopped image of him in a Suns uniform and Goran Dragic got the orange carpet treatment as well.
Along with these public displays of affection, there are meetings and dinners at expensive restaurants.
Booker, sitting in LA, obviously won’t get the full Suns employee treatment, but you can bet that the front office triumvirate won’t come to the meeting empty handed. Having gotten the chance to be around Book and see how he works and understand a bit of how he thinks, the best bet would be to play to his desire to be great, his awareness of legacy and where he could rank among the all-time greats in Suns history.
At just 21 years old he’s already a top 30 scorer in franchise history and will be top 20 this season. So it’s not a stretch to imagine him surpassing Walter Davis as the all-time leading scorer at a young age and being in the discussion for the greatest Sun of all-time before he’s 30. A video presentation with Al McCoy narrating that is set 10 or 15 years in the future as a career retrospective showcasing how Booker brought the Suns their first NBA title -- fingers crossed -- how he got the scoring title, earned national praise and is about to join Steve Nash, Charles Barkley, Alvan Adams, Connie Hawkins and the other Suns greats in the rafters would be a nice touch.
Something from Deandre Ayton telling Booker how he wants them to be great together and truly form a Shaq-Kobe 2.0 duo and Josh Jackson talking about he, Booker and Ayton could be the future Big 3 would also show that his young running mates buy in as well.
More important than any presentation, video or pomp and circumstance, will be the offer itself.
Sarver has to prove that he did in fact learn from the Joe Johnson debacle. There can’t be any contingencies or protections. If Devin Booker is the face of the franchise like everyone has said, it’s time to treat him as such. Show him the respect he’s earned and don’t get cute with how things are “structured”.
At the end of the day, you’re giving him 158 million reasons to chase greatness in Phoenix and surrounding him with a young core to help him do it.
If handled right, the Suns should be locking up the guy who will lead them for the next decade.
If not, the next time you fly to LA during an offseason to talk with your young star it might be because he’s actually considering making it his permanent home. As Cavs fans just learned the hard way, no one wants that.
Will the Suns screw this up, negotiating contract extension with Devin Booker?
This poll is closed
Yes, just like Joe Johnson and others
No, this is impossible to screw up. Book it!