Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
Sometime between now and the end of Wednesday, the Suns will give starting center Deandre Ayton a one-year qualifying offer that will make him a restricted free agent. A basic QO is essentially a one-year contract offer that the player can sign to play another year with the team and become an unrestricted free agent after it ends. Ayton could make this choice if he doesn’t like or want to accept any other contract offers. The Suns haven’t made this offer yet but that’s not unusual so don’t read anything into it. The following day, June 30, teams can begin negotiations with free agents at 3 pm (Arizona time) but none can actually be signed to new deals until after the Moratorium period ends on July 6.
The Free Agency Moratorium is a negotiation period from July 1-6 in which teams may not sign most free agents or make trades. Starting at 6 p.m. ET on June 30, teams may negotiate deals with free agents. However, those players cannot officially sign until 12:01 p.m. ET on July 6.
Any deals struck during the moratorium period are characterized as agreements, but do not count toward team salary and are not binding for the player or team. Either side can back out in this situation — a scenario that took place in 2015 when DeAndre Jordan reneged on his verbal agreement with the Dallas Mavericks to instead re-sign with the then-incumbent LA Clippers.
In case you missed it, there’s a portion of that which is especially important to Suns fans. No trades can take place during the moratorium period.
That means that if the Suns are determined to trade Deandre Ayton, it won’t be finalized until July 6 at the earliest. Also, if DA signs an offer sheet from another team, the Suns will have 48 hours to decide to match it or not. There’s a bit of a catch to that also as the 48 hour period won’t start until after the moratorium period ends. That means that if DA signs an offer sheet on July 1, the Suns have until July 8 to decide whether to match it.
All signs seem to be that him getting an offer sheet from another team aren’t very good though. Very few teams either have or can create enough cap space to make a max offer and tying up all that cap space until July 8 (while also missing out on using that cap space to sign unrestricted free agents) is a gamble.
Remember when Eric Bledsoe was a restricted free agent back in 2014? While he was far from being on DA’s level, he was pretty highly regarded at the time but got no offer sheets. The Suns made it known that they would match and other teams decided to commit their free agency dollars elsewhere. Bledsoe originally wanted 5 years and $84 million (then the max) and the Suns offered 4 years and $48 million. Both sides refused to budge at first but, after a long standoff, Bledsoe and the Suns finally reached a compromise and he was signed to a new contract of $70 million over 5 years in late September of that year.
While the situation with DA isn’t exactly the same, it’s close enough to have me concerned that nothing will be accomplished early on this summer. Bledsoe just wanted more money. I’m not at all certain if that’s all DA wants. If he actually wants out as soon as possible, it might not take as long as it did with Bledsoe but the Suns aren’t likely to take the first offer they get for a sign and trade deal. They also aren’t likely going to let negotiations drag out all summer but don’t expect things to happen rapidly, especially if DA receives no offer sheets.
2021-22 Season Highlights
SUNS at NETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 27, 2021
WARRIORS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 30, 2021
PISTONS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 2, 2021
Quotes of the Week
“There are a number of guys (in the draft) we targeted. Just the deals that we had, they didn’t come together. But I thought that the draft had some quality depth at some of the positions. Ultimately we weren’t able to execute some of those trades and now we will look forward to free agency.” - James Jones
“Nah, man, we have every player that’s in the draft processed on our board. When you get down to it, if you look at the combination of fit, skill set, talent, need — you typically get down somewhere about 10 guys who you know are really high-level fits.” - James Jones when asked if the board winds up with somewhere around 20 players or less on it.
News & Notes
Let’s Set Odds: Which Team Will Deandre Ayton Play for Next? Yardbarker
1 Monumental Move The Suns Must Make This Offseason. The Cold Wire
GM James Jones clarifies ESPN article on Phoenix Suns’ draft strategy. Arizona Sports
Mikal Bridges’ strong warning to Suns amid Cam Johnson trade rumor. Clutch Points
Watch: Mikal Bridges Mic’d up at JUGLIFE Celebrity Softball Game | Phoenix Suns. VIDEO Yardbarker
“Devin Booker, you are not going to beat me with my own move!”: When Kobe Bryant was hilariously frank after Suns star tried his trademark fadeaway shot on him. The Sports Rush
This Week in Suns History & Suns Trivia
On June 28, 1988, the Suns drafted Dan Majerle in the 1st round (14th pick) of the 1988 NBA Draft. Most fans booed the pick as it was made.
On June 28, 2008, the Suns traded Malik Hairston, cash and a 2009 2nd round draft pick (DeJuan Blair was later selected) to the San Antonio Spurs for Goran Dragic.
During game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals in 2010, Dragic led a Phoenix Suns comeback against the team that originally drafted him, the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 23 of his total 26 points in the fourth quarter. He scored his points on 10/13 FG attempts including 5/5 three-pointers and a 4-point play, as the Suns overcame an early 18-point deficit to defeat the Spurs 110–96 and take a 3–0 lead in their best of seven series in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Dragic also won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 2014 making him one of only three Suns players to have won the award with the other two being Kevin Johnson (1989) and Boris Diaw (2006).
On June 30, 1999, the Suns drafted Shawn Marion in the 1st round (9th pick) of the 1999 NBA Draft with the draft pick they acquired from the Dallas Mavericks for Steve Nash the previous year.
In his 9 seasons with the Suns, Shawn Marion scored 12,134 points (4th on the Suns’ All-Time leaders list), grabbed 6,616 rebounds (2nd most All-Time), dished out 1,332 assists (17th most All-Time), had 1,245 steals (2nd most All-Time), blocked 894 shots (3rd most All-Time) and made 652 three-pointers (5th most All-Time). His career total of 706 rebounds in the playoffs is the highest in franchise history.
On July 3, 1992, the Suns signed 33 year old, 11-year NBA veteran Danny Ainge as a free agent. Ainge would play his final 3 seasons in the NBA with the Suns before retiring in 1995. One year later, Ainge would return to Phoenix as the Suns’ head coach for three full seasons and part of a fourth before abruptly resigning after 20 games in 1999 citing a need to spend more time with his family. He was replaced by assistant coach Scott Skiles. The Suns made it to the playoffs each of Ainge’s 3 full seasons as HC but were eliminated in the 1st round all three years.
Classic Suns Highlights
“Best 4th Quarter Playoff Performance Ever” - Grant Hill | Goran Dragić vs Spurs
Shawn Marion Full Highlights 2006.02.22 vs Celtics - 44 Pts, Career-High!
Important Future Dates
July 6 - Free agency moratorium period ends. Teams can begin officially signing players, extending players, and completing trades. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium begins.
July 7-17 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)
- Friday, July 8 - Suns vs. Lakers 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN2)
- Sunday, July 10 - Suns vs. Wizards 2:30pp AZT (NBATV)
- Tuesday, July 12 - Suns vs. Mavericks 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN2)
- Friday, July 15 - Suns vs. Kings, 5:00 pm AZT (NBATV)
- (A fifth and final game TBD on the 16th or 17th.)
July 13 - Last day for teams to unilaterally withdraw qualifying offers to restricted free agents.
August 31 - Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2022/23 salaries.
September 5 - Last day for teams to issue required tenders to unsigned second-round picks; those players become free agents on September 6 if not tendered.
Late September (specific dates TBA) - Training camps open.