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Center of the Sun: Will the fans ever hear the real story behind the Suns’ playoff meltdown?

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

2022 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v Phoenix Suns Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

July 1 - the first day of the NBA’s 2022-23 calendar year - still seems a long way away. I like many other Suns fans have many questions which I’m dyeing to get answers to but am unlikely to get before free agency begins then. June 23 - draft day - isn’t much closer and, as the Suns presently have no draft picks, it’s difficult to even become interested in whether they may acquire one or not between now and then. Frequently things like that don’t come out until the day of the draft.

And of course we’d all like to know what the real story behind the Suns playoff meltdown is.

Some answers we’ll soon get but the whole truth behind that last question may never come. Eventually some things will likely come to light but I believe we may never get the entire story... at least not in the near future. No one who knows is talking about it, most likely because no one sees anything to gain by filling in the blanks for us. And perhaps they have more to lose by doing so.

It was a horrible way to end what not long before had looked to be the greatest season in Suns history. In many ways it still was that but the way it ended will take a long, long time to get over.

At the end of the 2020-21 season, I was hoping that the Suns would largely keep the team together and just make a few strategic ‘tweaks’ to the roster to strengthen it’s weak points. That’s basically what we got and it looked like it had worked during the regular season. This season it seems as though we may be headed for some fairly big changes and I’m not at all opposed to that. At this point, I no longer have any favorite players that I don’t want to see traded. I just want to see the Suns put another strong team on the floor - one that won’t fold when the pressure is really on - no matter who is wearing the uniforms.

If they can do that, I can live without ever knowing the ‘truth’ behind the meltdown.


2021-22 Season Highlights

TRAIL BLAZERS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 10, 2021

SUNS at GRIZZLIES | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 12, 2021

SUNS at ROCKETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | November 14, 2021


Quotes of the Week

“We want to keep our consistency, our continuity.” - James Jones


News & Notes

Should Suns give Deandre Ayton a max deal? Positional value says no. Basketball News

Phoenix Suns betting favorite to land Kevin Durant if he leaves the Brooklyn Nets. Sportsnaut

Landry Shamet hath brought a plague upon every house he’s entered. Deadspin

Pistons, Pacers, Spurs have best odds to land Deandre Ayton. Basketball News

Suns: Is Another Scoring Option Necessary to Jump Over Championship Hump? Yardbarker

NBA Rumors: Insider reveals teams across the league believe “paying centers in the modern NBA is a mistake”, Deandre Ayton-Phoenix Suns situation a clear example. Sportskeeda

Suns: Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder Listed as ‘Dream Trade Targets’ for Other Teams. Yardbarker


This Week in Suns History

On June 6, 1976, trailing the Boston Celtics 3-2 in the NBA Finals, the Suns lost game 6 in a low scoring contest at home 87-80. The Suns actually out shot the Celtics from the field (41.6% to 38.6%) but allowed Boston to get 16 offensive rebounds to their 8 and lost the overall rebounding battle 53-39. The Suns also sent the Celtics to the FT line 28 times where they made 23 to just 16 points at the line for the Suns.

On June 9, 1981, the Suns drafted Larry Nance with the 20th pick in the 1st round of the NBA Draft.

On June 9, 1993, despite double-doubles by both Charles Barkley (21 pts, 11 rebs) and Richard Dumas (20 pts, 12 rebs), the Suns lost 100-92 to the Chicago Bulls to go down 0-1 in their first return to the NBA Finals since 1976. Barkley (9 of 25) and Kevin Johnson (4 of 13) had uncharacteristic poor shooting nights while the Bulls shot well from the field hitting 53.1% of their shots to just 44.4% for the Suns.

On June 10, 1977, the Suns drafted Walter Davis with the 5th pick in the 1st round of the NBA Draft.

On June 11, 1993, Charles Barkley of the Suns and Michael Jordan of the Bulls each scored 42 points in Chicago’s 111-108 victory, marking the first time in NBA Finals history that opposing players each scored 40 or more points in a Finals game.


Classic Suns Highlights

Phoenix Suns Since ‘68: Larry Nance

Walter Davis Career Highlights - GREYHOUND!


Suns Trivia

Larry Nance Sr. is 10th on the Suns’ All-Time points leaders list with 8,430 points scored in 7 seasons whith Phoenix. He also still leads the Suns in career blocks with 940 and in average blocks per season with 1.93 per game. He is 4th in All-Time rebounds as a Sun (3,791).

Walter Davis is still the Suns All-Time points leader with 15,666 over 11 seasons with the team. His career scoring average of 20.45 ppg is 10th All-Time for Phoenix and he is 4th on the assists list with 3,340, 3rd in career steals with 1,040 and 3rd in career playoff points scored with 1,288.


Important Future Dates

June 23 - NBA Draft.

June 29 - Final day for teams to make qualifying offers to restricted free agents.

June 30 - Teams can begin negotiating with free agents at 6:00 pm ET.

July 1 - Official start of the 2022/23 NBA league year. Moratorium period begins. Restricted free agents can sign an offer sheet. Teams can begin signing players to rookie scale contracts, minimum salary contracts, and two-way contracts. Teams can begin exercising the third- or fourth-year team options for 2023/24 on rookie scale contracts.

July 6 - Free agency moratorium period ends (10.01 am ET). 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)

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.