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Center of the Sun: Suns’ quest for Durant continues, NBA Summer League begins this week in Las Vegas

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

Phoenix Suns v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

At 9:01 am (AZ time) on Wednesday, July 6, the free agency moratorium period ends and teams can begin officially signing/extending players and completing trades. Will the Suns have all of their offseason business tied up and ready for the final signatures by then? Not likely.

A few free agent signings actually don’t have to wait though. Newcomers Damion Lee and Josh Okogie have already been signed as vet minimum, rookie contracts and two-way contract signings are exempt from the moratorium no-signings rule. The re-signing Bismack Biyombo will likely get done quickly and the trade for Jock Landale is a rubber stamp away from being official.

Working out a possible trade for Kevin Durant along with a possible sign and trade deal for Deandre Ayton will likely take longer to iron out all the details. And there’s still the possibility that a team could suddenly jump in and give DA an offer sheet. The two-day period for matching an RFA offer sheet signed during the moratorium doesn’t begin until then so it really doesn’t matter whether an offer sheet comes now or Wednesday morning. The details of either of these things could be sorted out sometime later today or could take weeks... although it’s in neither the Suns’ nor the Nets’ best interest to let them drag out that long. The real hang-up could be in finding a third team to become part of the deal if Phoenix and Brooklyn can’t come to an agreement acceptable to both sides.

And of course there’ always the possibility that a deal for KD just eventually falls apart and the Suns have to pivot to another direction. There’s also the possibility that either the Suns can’t find a sign and trade partner for Ayton or that DA doesn’t like the destination/deal and refuses the trade (which is his right in a S&T situation). There are so many possible scenarios and scenario variations that I won’t try to list them all.

Make no mistake in judging the small signings/trades that the Suns have already done though. Lee, Okogie and Landale are bench players being brought in (or back) to fill out the roster, not be major rotation pieces. Biyombo is likely going to be the only rotation player of the bunch and as a backup big. Who’s going to start at the 5 if DA is traded? Your guess is as good as mine because we have no idea who the Suns would get back in return for DA... or if Ayton will wind up being traded at all.

In other news, the Las Vegas NBA Summer League begins this Thursday with the Summer League Suns playing two games this weekend on Friday (vs the Lakers) and Sunday (vs the Wizards). Late yesterday, they finally announced their Summer League minicamp roster:

  • Brancou Badio, 6’ 3” Guard (Senegal)
  • Vrenz Bleijenbergh, 6’ 10” SF (Belgium)
  • Tyson Carter, 6’ 4” SG (Mississippi State)
  • Ahmad Carver, 6′ 2″ PG (Old Dominion)
  • Jehyve Floyd, 6′ 8″ C (Holy Cross)
  • Karim Jallow, 6′ 6″ SG/SF (Germany)
  • Louis King, 6’ 8” SF (Oregon)
  • Jo Lual-Acuil Jr, 6’ 11” C (Baylor)
  • Markis McDuffie, 6′ 8″ SF (Wichita State)
  • Leonardo Meindl, 6’ 7” SF (Brazil)
  • Asbjørn Midtgaard, 7’ 0” C (Grand Canyon)
  • Duop Reath, 6’ 11” PF/C (LSU)
  • Olivier Sarr, 7’ 0” C (Kentucky)
  • Kameron Taylor, 6’ 6” SG/SF (Seton Hall)
  • Dejan Vasiljevic, 6′ 3″ SG (Miami)
  • Ish Wainright, 6’ 6” SF (Baylor)
  • McKinley Wright IV, 5′ 11″ PG (Colorado)
  • Kevin Zhang, 6’ 10” PF (Tulane)

It was announced earlier that Gabriel “Iffe” Lundberg who the Suns signed to a two-way contract last season would be on the squad this summer but his name was not on the minicamp list released by the Suns. Ish Wainright will be coming in straight off playing in Africa for Uganda in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifiers where he averaged 19.5 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists playing at SF.

Happy 4th of July! Here’s hoping that’s not the only reason for fireworks today.


2021-22 Season Highlights

SPURS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 6, 2021

CELTICS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 10, 2021

SUNS at TRAIL BLAZERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 14, 2021


Quote of the Week

“It’s amazing man. Going to camps as a kid, it’s just dope. To be in my position right now and do the same thing for the kids, it’s amazing.” - Mikal Bridges on his first youth basketball camp


News & Notes

Nets reportedly seeking ‘historic haul’ in potential trade offers for Kevin Durant. Audacy

Kevin Durant’s Viral Tweet Amid Trade Rumors. Fastbreak

RUMOR: The real reason Kevin Durant wants to play for Suns. Clutch Points

ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst predicts Kevin Durant will land with Suns. Yardbarker

Two Eastern Conference Teams Potentially Targeting Jae Crowder. Yardbarker

While Suns sort out free agency, Mikal Bridges delivers for young basketball campers. Cronkite News

2022 NBA Free Agents. Hoops Rumors

NBA Salary Cap Projected to Increase by Nearly $12 Million. Yardbarker


This Week in Suns History & Suns Trivia

On July 5, 1988, the Phoenix Suns officially signed power forward Tom Chambers, formerly of the Seattle Supersonics, to a 5 year $9 million contract. This was the first unrestricted free agent signing in NBA history.

On July 7, 1982, the Suns traded PF Truck Robinson for PF Maurice Lucas of the NY Knicks. Truck had been with Phoenix for three seasons averaging 18.4 points and 9.6 rebounds as a Sun but had struggled in the 1982 NBA Playoffs and criticized head coach John MacLeod for a lack of minutes.

How Maurice Lucas Found About Being Traded to Phoenix

The Enforcers: Maurice Lucas, Charles Barkley, Rick Mahorn Interview

On July 7, 2016, the Suns signed rookie draft picks Dragan Bender (4th), Marquese Chriss (8th) and Tyler Ulis (34th) to multi-year contracts. Despite high hopes for lottery picks Bender and Chriss, none of the three stuck with the team beyond their rookie contracts and only Chriss still plays in the NBA.

On July 8, 2010, after contract negotiations stalled, the Suns worked out a sign and trade deal which sent five time All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire to the New York Knicks for a 2012 2nd round draft pick (which did not convey) and a traded player exception. In a separate but related deal, they also traded a 2011 2nd round draft pick to the Chicago Bulls for Hakim Warrick. Dubbed by some as “Amare-lite” Warrick would prove to be only “lite” with the Suns. He would eventually wind up out of the NBA and playing overseas from 2013 on.

On July 10, 2013, as part of a 3-team trade, the Suns traded a 2014 2nd round draft pick to the Milwaukee Bucks and Jared Dudley to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers traded a 2016 2nd round draft pick to the Bucks and traded Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to the Phoenix Suns. The Milwaukee Bucks traded J.J. Redick to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Shortly before training camp began, Butler would be traded by the Suns to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov. The only time he would wear a Suns uniform would be during a preseason unveiling of the team’s new uniforms 2 weeks before the trade.


Classic Suns Highlights

Throwback: Amar’e Stoudemire 42 Points Full Highlights vs Lakers - 2010 WCF G3

Eric Bledsoe Full Highlights vs Kings (2013.12.13) - 28 Pts, 8 Assists, 2 Blks, Career-High


Previewing the Week Ahead - NBA Summer League Games!

Friday, July 8 - Suns vs. Lakers 7:00 pm AZT (ESPN2)

Sunday, July 10 - Suns vs. Wizards 2:30pp AZT (NBATV)

No predictions! Hopefully the games will be fun to watch though.


Important Future Dates

July 7-17 - NBA Summer League (Las Vegas)

  • 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 ? - Regular season schedules expected to be released.

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.

October 22 - Regular season begins.

February 17-19 - 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend/All-Star Game (Salt Lake City, UT)