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Center of the Sun, Part 1: Suns still active in free agency as Summer League kicks off in Vegas

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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: Phoenix Suns at San Antonio Spurs Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

Summer League Game Recaps

Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers L (73-72) Box Score (ESPN)

Week 1 of free agency is done and the Suns have filled all of their roster spots except one (and a two-way)... sort of. Since they can actually have up to 20 players on their training camp roster, they can sign as many as six more free agents between now and then. Many of them will be on non-guaranteed/make good contracts and will have very slim chances of actually making the regular season squad but I expect James Jones to leave just enough wiggle room in the cap figures so that waiving one player on a guaranteed vet minimum deal to add someone else won’t be a problem.

At this point in time, I really don’t see a lot of available free agents that have a lot of potential to move the needle that would likely sign for the remaining $4.5 mil of the Suns’ MLE or the $3.7 mil of their BAE. That doesn’t mean Jones is sitting around twiddling his fingers as he contemplates longshots to bring in to fight for that last regular season roster spot though.

A trade for Young’s $14.2 mil salary would likely take sending back at least Dario Saric ($8.5 mil) and Jalen Smith ($4.46 mil) for salary matching purposes. Young (33 yrs old) has just one year left on his current contract and could be just a one-year rental so I don’t see the Suns giving up a lot for him but he would be a good veteran pickup.

If Love (also 33) gets bought out, the Suns can offer anything up to the $4.5 mil leftover from their MLE. Love has a connection with Suns GM James Jones from their days as teammates in Cleveland so don’t be surprised if Love were to choose Phoenix over other suitors if he is bought out. In 2016, he called Jones “the best teammate I’ve ever had” in an Instagram post. He’s had injury problems over the past few years to be sure but with a smaller role (and fewer minutes) off the bench he could still be a great addition for the Suns.

It also seems that the signing of Elfrid Payton is not a done deal yet. The word was that Payton was offered a one-year, minimum-salary but there is so far no word on whether Payton has agreed to take it or not. Having started 63 games for the Knicks last season, Payton may be reluctant to take a minimum offer to be a 3rd string PG and still hoping for a better offer to come along before committing to this deal with Phoenix.

There’s still more to accomplish this offseason - especially if the Elfrid Payton deal falls through - and more Summer League games to look forward to this week. Whenever new developments come to light, rest assured that we here at Bright Side will pass them right along to you.


2020-21 Season Highlights

MAVERICKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 23, 2020

SUNS at KINGS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 27, 2020

PELICANS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 29, 2020


Quotes of the Week

“We all have stuff to work on and we know that. We’re going to take this hurt (losing in the Finals) and bring it into the summer and continue to get better.” - Devin Booker

“I just want to play winning basketball at all times.” - Devin Booker

“Back to work. Ain’t no moral victories.” - Chris Paul


News & Notes

Biggest need the Suns still must address after first week of 2021 NBA free agency. Clutch Points

Preparation Meets Opportunity. Suns.com

Grading Chris Paul’s $120M Deal to Return to Suns. Sports Illustrated

CJ McCollum elected new NBPA president, replacing Chris Paul; Celtics’ Grant Williams named VP. CBS Sports

Suns Announce Coaching Staff Additions. Suns.com

NBA Free Agency: Grading all 30 teams on signings and trades. Hoops Habit


This Week in Suns History

On August 13, 2020, the Suns defeated the Dallas Mavericks 128-102 to finish their perfect 8-0 run in the Orlando Bubble. No other team went undefeated there. This was the first time NBA regular season games were played during August and will likely be that last as the 2019-20 season was delayed for several months during mid-season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unless such an event happens again, the Suns will go down in NBA history as the only team to ever go undefeated during the month of August.


Suns Trivia

New Phoenix Sun JaVale McGee and his mom Pamela McGee are both USAB gold medalists. JaVale’s mom played on the 1984 women's’ Olympic squad that won Gold in Los Angeles. She played professionally in the old WABA (the first women’s professional league), then professionally in Brazil, Spain and Italy before the WNBA came into being in 1997. She was drafted 2nd overall in the WNBA’s 1st ever draft and played for the Sacramento Monarchs (1997) and the Los Angeles Sparks (1998) before retiring. JaVale also has a sister, Imani McGee-Stafford, who presently plays professionally for the Perth Lynx of the WNBL in Australia. She previously played for Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas in the WNBA.


Previewing the week ahead

Monday, Aug. 9 - Suns vs Jazz 7:00 pm AZT (NBATV)

Thursday, Aug. 12 - Suns vs Nuggets 7:00pm AZT (NBATV)

Saturday, Aug. 14 - Suns vs Trail Blazers 6:00pm AZT (NBATV)

  • All 30 teams will play a fifth Summer League game to be scheduled. There will be no tournament. The teams with the two best records will play in the championship game.

Important Future Dates

September 28 - Training camps for 2021-22 season open.

October 19 - First day of the 2021-22 regular season.

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.