Free agency is one of the few ways an NBA team can go from dumpster fire to decent to untouchable juggernaut. With no knowledge of what pick they’ll get in this draft, the Phoenix Suns will have plenty of time to figure out their pitches for free agents. Though the team has struggled in the past to snatch up free agents, this young core could be enticing enough to sign some players.
The Suns right now don’t have a lot of cap space, especially with Kelly Oubre being a restricted free agent. Gunning for the top free agents would practically be a lost cause unless they’ve expressed interest in playing here which none of them have so far. The Suns need to be smart with their money and go after players not on teams radars.
This list goes over three players who should be free agents the Suns should try and sign.
3: Julius Randle
Julius Randle has had a career year in New Orleans and will be able to test free agency once again with his players option. Julius might be the best power forward in free agency depending on if Tobias Harris gets resigned by the Sixers and he’s perhaps the best player on this list. His placement at three is mainly due to how much he’ll command in the open market. Despite his solid play, Randle doesn’t get the appreciation he might deserve playing for a bad New Orleans team. Randle is an excellent finisher and uses his athleticism to get through the slower big men he plays against. They’ll be some issues of how many touches he gets but with Booker, Oubre and their point guard, the paint should be open for him and Ayton to crash the boards daily. He’s also reaching his prime now so he’ll be on the same timeline as his teammates here.
2: Paul Millsap
Millsap hasn’t played up to what the Nuggets are paying, last year missing 44 games and struggling this year. The Nuggets can decide this offseason whether or not they want to bring him back with their team option and with the pay being $30 million, it’s safe to assume he won’t be coming back. Millsap can come to this Suns team and be another veteran leader on the court that can help them grow and win. Where he struggles in points, he still plays defense at a high level and is a versatile big man. Even if the Suns get Zion, adding veteran depth is something the Suns should think about. Millsap isn’t the missing piece but he can help stabilize a hole in the Suns lineup and be the team’s elder statesman.
1: Ricky Rubio:
I’ve been on the Rubio-Suns train for a while now and it makes sense for the Suns to sign him. With guys like Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Kelly Oubre, the Suns don’t have a facilitator or a traditional point guard in that starting lineup. Rubio can be another veteran leader on the court to help distribute the ball and run the offense for the team. He’s also not going to break the bank for the Suns which works well for the team as it needs to resign Oubre. Rubio also has played with Igor with the Jazz so he’ll already have experience in his coaching style and can be an extension of him in the locker room. Obviously, Rubio isn’t a long term answer to the point guard problem plaguing the Suns but he can serve as a way to stop the bleeding in that position.
Depending on where the Sun’s lottery picks land for the Suns, one of their big needs could potentially be filled with their pick. Free agency should be how the team fills their other need.