Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.
The countdown continues. 14 days until Media Day, 15 until the beginning of training camp, 20 until the Suns’ first preseason game and 37 until their regular season opener.
At the moment, the Suns are relatively the same team as last season minus backup center JaVale McGee. While many may wish the Suns had re-signed him, matching (or bettering) the 3-year $17 million contract offer he got from Dallas just wasn’t going to happen. Without his Bird rights, they would have had to use a large portion of the taxpayer MLE to do so. I’m sure they wanted to hold on to the TP MLE to use elsewhere and McGee is turning 35 this January. With Bismack Biyombo (who just turned 30 a couple of weeks ago) willing to sign for the vet minimum, Dario Saric’s return from injury and acquiring Jock Landale from Atlanta, the Suns are still well stocked with backup center options.
Speaking of Dario Saric, so far his return is the biggest change from last year’s squad. While I like having Dario back, he likely doesn’t significantly move the team talent level needle upward. He’s a plus for sure but just not a big plus. No offense intended to new additions Landale, Lee, Okogie and Washington but none of them are likely to play big roles on this team this season and are also likely just going to occupy Kaminsky’s, Payton’s and Holiday’s old seats on the far end of the bench.
Basically running it back - with a few tweaks - isn’t a bad strategy for a team that won 64 games last season... but it’s not the best strategy for a team that also got embarrassed in the second round of the playoffs.
James Jones still has 2 weeks before camp starts (and 5 before the regular season begins) to make some roster changes. He also has the option of waiting until the season starts before attempting anything. Players now not on the trading block might be there later once teams get a better idea of where their seasons are headed. And no one knows who might be available through a buyout later on.
Trade rumors will continue to swirl before camp opens but, if they all turn out to be just that, it won’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Quotes of the Week
“Make it back to the championship. That’s my personal goal as long as the team goal.” - Cameron Payne
“If it’s as the sixth man, the seventh man, I’m gonna give it my all. I’m all about winning.” - Damion Lee
“My mindset is to keep it simple: get rebounds, run and get open shots.” - Jock Landale
“He’s really been in the gym working on what I’d say are ‘second-level things’ and I know he’s excited to prove that he’s better than he was last year.” - James Jones on Deandre Ayton
2021-22 Season Highlights
LAKERS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 13, 2022
SUNS at PELICANS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 15, 2022
SUNS at ROCKETS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 16, 2022
News & Notes
Extension Candidate: Cameron Johnson. Hoops Rumors
Suns G.M. James Jones on Ayton: “The contract stuff is behind us”. Basketball Insiders
NBA Scout Sees Major Ways For Phoenix Suns To Improve. NBA Analysis Network
With the Suns, Jock Landale wants to take a step. US Sports
Damion Lee Eager To Tackle His Next Challenging Chapter. Suns.com
Phoenix Suns Guard Cameron Payne Reveals His Ultimate Goal For The Upcoming Season. Fadeaway World
Suns PG Chris Paul Lands on NBA Best Villain List. Yardbarker
James Jones: ‘Not Much Discussion’ on Kevin Durant Trade Between Nets, Suns. Bleacher Report
The best GM in US sports. Online Betting
NBA Stars and Players Most Likely to Hit 2022-23 Trade Block. Bleacher Report
NBA 2K23 Phoenix Suns Ratings And Rosters. Game Spot
This Week in Suns History & Suns Trivia
On September 12, 2005, the Suns signed former Arizona State University star shooting guard Eddie House to a one-year deal. House didn’t disappoint, appearing in 81 games off the bench he averaged 9.8 points per game and 38.9% from beyond the arc in 17.5 minutes per game. The Suns would finish the 2005/06 season with a 54-28 record and make it to the Western Conference finals before finally being sent home by Dallas 2-4.
Pac-12 Throwback: ASU’s Eddie House drops 61 points on Cal in 2000
On September 13, 1978, Curtis Perry, a major figure in the Suns’ NBA Finals run in 1975-76, retired after four seasons in the Valley. Perry set career-highs during the 1974-75 season of 13.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. His 11.9 rpg that season is the 5th highest single season rebounding average in Suns history and his career average of 9.49 rpg for the Suns is 7th on the Suns’ All-Time leaders list.
On September 16, 1974, the Suns acquired Curtis Perry, Dennis Awtrey, Nate Hawthorne and a 1976 first round pick (Adrian Dantley) from the New Orleans Jazz for Neal Walk and a 1975 second round pick (Clyde Mayes).
Walk, the Suns’ first ever draft pick (#2 in 1969) averaged 14.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, only missed 2 regular season games during his 5 seasons in Phoenix and in 1973 averaged 12.42 rebounds per game which is the 2nd highest single season RPG average in Suns history behind only Paul Silas’ 12.53 rpg in 1971. His career high for the Suns was 42 points vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 11, 1972. The Suns won 115-114 and Walk outscored future hall of fame member, and the man picked #1 above him in the 1969 NBA Draft, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 42-27.
In 1988, while Walk was living in Phoenix, it was discovered that he had a benign tumor enveloping his spine. Following surgery, he was left in a wheelchair from which he played wheelchair basketball for the LA-Phoenix Samaritans in the Southern California league of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. In 1990 he was honored at the White House by President George H. W. Bush as the “Wheelchair Athlete of The Year.”
He later worked for the Phoenix Suns in the Community Affairs department and sadly passed away on October 4, 2015 due to an unspecified blood disease.
Remembering Neal Walk
The draft pick that would eventually be used to select future 1976/77 Rookie of the Year, 6-time All-Star and 2-time NBA scoring champion Adrian Dantley was later traded by the Suns to the Buffalo Braves on draft day for their 1975 first round draft pick (16th) which the Suns used to select Ricky Sobers.
On September 16, 1994, on the same day that the NBA finally approved a one-year, $1 million deal for Danny Manning, the Phoenix Suns submitted a one-year, $850,000 deal for power forward Wayman Tisdale, arguably making the Suns the deepest team in the NBA at that time.
Classic Suns Highlights
Curtis Perry (23pts/15rebs/6asts) vs. Celtics (1976 Finals)
Eddie House 19 Points vs. LA Lakers, 2005-2006
Important Future Dates
September 26/27 - Media Day/Training camps open.
October 2 - Suns vs Adelaide 36ers (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT
October 5 - Suns vs Lakers (Preseason game in Las Vegas) 7:00 pm AZT
October 10 - Suns @ Nuggets (Preseason game) 6:00 pm AZT
October 12 - Suns vs Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT
October 18 - NBA regular season begins.
October 19 - Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks (Season Opener) 7:00 pm AZT
December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded.
December 25 - Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets 10:30 pm ET
January 5 - 10-day contracts may now be signed.
January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded.
February 17-19 - 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend/All-Star Game (Salt Lake City, UT)