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Center of the Sun, Part 1: Can the Suns find a perfect fit for their final roster spot?

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Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

NBA: Finals-Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Summer League Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Cavaliers L (88-85) Box Score (ESPN)

Summer League is over and we’ve got a full six weeks to wait until Suns basketball is played again when the Suns and Kings face off in their first preseason game on Oct. 4. The opening frenzy of free agency has passed with all of the NBA’s major unrestricted free agents signed leaving slim pickings for the Suns to fill their final open roster spot.

While we all would like that mystery player to be added soon, that might not happen very soon. GM’s around the league are discussing offseason trades with each other and you can bet that James Jones is keeping his options open to join in at some point. Trades for players like Thaddeous Young and Larry Nance Jr. have been widely discussed by fans but both seem unlikely to happen unless Jones is willing to give up players most of us would rather not trade for either of those two. The same goes for just about any other trade you might think of.

Teams want value in return for value and our pocket lint just isn’t going to get us much in return. The fact that the Suns already traded their 2022 first round draft pick to OKC in the Chris Paul trade complicates things as the Suns can’t easily add anything more than 2nd rounders to any potential trade. The Stepien Rule prevents NBA teams from making any transaction that may leave them without any first-round picks in any two consecutive future drafts in any scenario for any reason. The key word there is “may” because protections added to the Suns’ pick means that it may not convey until 2025 when it is totally unprotected... even though it’s very probably going to convey in 2022 as it’s protected for only selections 1-12.

Is that ‘perfect fit’ guy even available right now? Probably not, no matter how much we try to convince ourselves that this or that player could be the final piece to the Suns’ roster puzzle.

The Suns aren’t done building their roster for 2021-22 just yet but their options are limited going forward. There may be some buyouts on the market before the season begins but the Suns aren’t the only team with an open roster spot left to fill if someone like Kevin Love suddenly becomes available.

I hate to be negative but unless James Jones can pull the proverbial rabbit out of his hat, expect the Suns to eventually just add the best player available on a vet minimum contract to fill out the roster before opening night.


2020-21 Season Highlights

SUNS at MAVERICKS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 1, 2021

CELTICS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 7, 2021

BUCKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | February 10, 2021


Quotes of the Week

“I want to be a Valley Boy.” - Cameron Payne

“I saw a couple spaces they (the Suns) could have filled in, and I feel like I filled in one of those spaces they needed to take it all the way again, but to win.” - JaVale McGee


News & Notes

Phoenix Suns: 3 way-too-early bold predictions for the 2021-22 NBA season. Clutch Points

Suns’ early-season schedule should lead to a hot start in the West. Basketball News

Predicting Chris Paul’s battle against Father Time. Zona Hoops

5 reasons why Phoenix Suns can challenge for the championship again in the 2021-2022 NBA Season. Sportskeeda

Suns 2021-22 Schedule: Top Games, Championship Odds and Record Predictions. Bleacher Report

Cam Payne ready for next chapter of improbable journey: ‘Life’s crazy’. Basketball News

Footprint Center to require masks for entry to all events. AZ Family


This Week in Suns History

On August 25, 1976 the Suns acquired Tom Van Arsdale, twin of “The Original Sun” Dick Van Arsdale, from the Buffalo Braves for a 1977 second round pick and cash. It was the first time an NBA team had a set of twins on the same roster.

On August 25, 2005, following a trip to the Western Conference Finals, the Suns extended head coach Mike D’Antoni’s contract through 2009. On the same day they also acquired SF James Jones in a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers. Jones signed a four-year, $11.1 mil deal, with the fourth year a player option.

On August 26, 1976, 31-year-old Suns guard John Wetzel retired after having played only 39 minutes in 1975-76 for Phoenix. He was the first player in franchise history to retire as a member of the Suns.

On August 27, 1968, in the franchise’s first ever transaction, the Phoenix Suns acquired a 1969 2nd round draft pick from the Boston Celtics for expansion pick, Emmette Bryant. Bryant refused to sign with the expansion Suns due to a desire to stay in the East.

On August 28, 1984, the Phoenix Suns played their first ever overseas exhibition game (part of a tournament that included Macabi Tel Aviv and the New Jersey Nets), and defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 111-91 in game one at Yad Eliyahu Arena, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Suns Trivia

Devin Booker has scored a total of 9,395 points in his 6 seasons in the NBA and is presently 9th on the Suns All-Time Regular Season Points Leaders list. If he scores his present per season average of 1,566 points in 2021-22, he will move past Paul Westphal (8th, 9,564 pts) and Steve Nash (7th, 10,712 pts). If he adds an extra 75 points to his season average total, he will also pass Amar’e Stoudemire (6th, 11,035 pts).

On their way to the NBA Finals, the 2020-21 Suns had only 9 different starting lineups during the regular season. The 2009-10 Suns that made it to the Western Conference Finals only had 8 different starting lineups during the regular season. The 2013-14 Suns that finished 48-34 and just barely missed the playoffs had only 6 different starting lineups during the regular season. The other 9 suns teams during this time period averaged 18.4 different starting lineups with a high of 35 different starting lineups during the 2017-18 season (the most ever for a Suns team).


Important Future Dates

September 28 - Training camps open.

October 4 - Phoenix Suns @ Sacramento Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm PST

October 6 - Phoenix Suns vs LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 10 - Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers (Preseason game) 6:30 pm PST

October 13 - Phoenix Suns vs Portland Trail Blazers (Preseason game) 6:00 pm PST

October 19 - 2021-22 regular season begins.

October 20 - Opening Night: Phoenix Suns vs Denver Nuggets 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN)

December 25 - Phoenix Suns vs Golden State Warriors 3:00 PM AZT (ABC)

February 20, 2022 - NBA All-Star Game.

April 10, 2022 - Regular season ends.

April 12-15, 2022 - Play-In Tournament.

April 16, 2022 - Playoffs begin.

June 23, 2022 - NBA Draft.


COTS2 : Inside the Suns with the Fantable will be published later this week.