Some of the Phoenix Suns’ moves over the past two weeks are finally becoming official, now that the league year has been ruled “open for business,” but that does not mean there will be any changes to the Suns Summer League roster.
By now, you all know about the weird league “moratorium” rules not allowing the draft-day trades for 11th overall pick Cameron Johnson and 24th overall pick Ty Jerome to be officially complete until July 6.
But what you may not have known is that those rookies have even not been allowed to associate with the Suns franchise in any way until now. No team practices, no coaching, no playbooks, no workouts.
And that means, apparently, no need to show up to the final 10 days of the 11-day showcase for millions of fans all over the world as well as the 17,000+ fans per day (SL record) and the 1,000+ credentialed media in attendance (SL record).
“After careful consideration, they will not participate in the Summer League games. They have not had the adequate opportunities to practice and train with our team,” said Suns General Manager James Jones in a press release yesterday after the trades had been finalized.
The Suns hadn’t even played a game yet before these signings! Their Friday evening game — the only one that me, my Solar Panel bros and the Fanning the Flames bros would be able to attend this summer — was cancelled minutes before tipoff because of the widely felt effects of the California earthquake 150 miles away from Vegas.
So why can’t they just jump in and play the rest of the Suns sked?
We don’t really know the answer to that question, other than the new Suns brass did not think it fair to ask the players to learn everything in a matter of minutes for a showcase that means nothing in the grand scheme.
Suns rookies have never missed the entire Summer League just because of this “moratorium” thing before.
Last year, Mikal Bridges was acquired in a draft night trade but was introduced the day after, practiced immediately with the Suns and played the whole Summer League. Same with Marquese Chriss in 2016 and Archie Goodwin in 2013. An NBA veteran — remember Malcolm Lee? — was included in the Goodwin trade, so that can’t be the roadblock either.
So what’s different about the Jerome and Johnson trades that didn’t allow them to be completed until July 6?
I’ll tell you why! Because those earlier trades did not require extra cap space to complete, while the 2019 trades most certainly did. Both trades last month involved the Suns acquiring an NBA contract into their cap space, which would not be available the new league year that officially began on July 6 (yesterday). The Suns needed almost $9 million in space to absorb the salaries of Dario Saric and Aron Baynes.
So, no Johnson and no Jerome in Summer League.
And for that reason, no Jevon Carter either. Carter was acquired as part of the Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton and Kyle Korver trade last week that also could not be completed until we rolled into the new league year.
The Suns confirmed to me that Jevon Carter will also be excused from playing Summer League.
So the roster is what it is.
The Suns will introduce their 2019 draft picks Johnson and Jerome, as well as undrafted free agent signing Jalen Lecque, tonight via a quick media session in Las Vegas before the Suns-Knicks game at 6:30 PM. I’m sorry I won’t be there, as I had to get back to Phoenix today to go to my regular job tomorrow.
Our own Brendon Kleen will be there for Bright Side Watch the Suns twitter feed, as well as Gina Mizell with The Athletic.
Bright Side will have some kind of recap later tonight or tomorrow.
Hey, we didn’t get to see any games but at least we got to hang out together a bit on Saturday night with other Suns fans in Vegas!
Here we are at the Solar Panel / Fanning the Flames / Bright Side meet up!
I’m impressed with the show-out given the Suns were only playing once this weekend... Thanks to all of you for your continued support!