Welcome to the Free Agent Market series. In this five-part series we will analyze the state of the Phoenix Suns roster while exploring who is available via free agency this offseason.
As we look at the free agency market relative to shooting guards, you must first take into account the current roster construction of the Suns. Of all of the positions currently under contract, it is the shooting guard position that has plenty of money allocated towards it. Devin Booker is under contract as is Landry Shamet. Combined, they account for $46.3M of the potential $134M salary cap.
None of this includes Bradley news either.
If James Jones and Mat Ishbia are not in the business of moving Landry Shamet – and truthfully that could be a tough asset to move, considering his productivity and unenticing contract as a pertains to the new CBA – then the exploration of the shooting guards available in the free agent market is ultimately trying to select your back up to the back up. The Damion Lee, essentially.
One thought to consider as the Suns build out their roster next season is the potential move from shooting guard to point guard for Devin Booker. If the right two guard is available, it is possible that we see Point Book next season. I do think that it is unlikely, but as the Suns are preparing themselves to move away from the Chris Paul era, anything is on the table.
As we explore the shooting guard assets available this off-season, keep both methodologies in mind. One in which the Suns simply don’t need to allocate a lot of funds towards that position and one in which they are setting themselves up to see utilize more of the Point Booker strategy.
Club Option Guys
These are the players who will wait and see if their team is wanting and willing to bring them back.
- Malik Beasley — Los Angeles Lakers: Club option for $16.5M
- Alec Burks — Detroit Pistons: Club option for $10.5M
Both players may have the opportunity to explore free agency as neither are contracts that provide the price for value paid that either organization is looking for. Would either serve a purpose with the Suns? Maybe, if a veteran minimum deal could be reached.
Player Option Guys
These are the players who will determine whether or not they want to stay with their current team or take a chance on the free agent market.
- Victor Oladipo — Miami Heat: Player option for $9.5M
- Talen Horton-Tucker — Utah Jazz: Player option for $11M
Well, these are names. Assumption can be a dangerous game, but you would have to assume that Victor Oladipo is staying in Miami. He’s injury prone and might not get $9.5M on the market. And would you want him on the Suns?
As for THT, who knows what Utah is going to do this off-season? A team full of assets who overperformed for the majority of last season, the Jazz have many decisions to make. Horton-Tucker might analyze that situation and decide otherwise. But again, I ask, do you want him on the Suns?
- Donte DiVincenzo — Golden State Warriors: Player option for $4.7M
- Gary Trent, Jr. — Toronto Raptors: Player option for $18.6M
- Josh Hart — New York Knicks: Player option for $13M
- Jordan Clarkson — Utah Jazz: Player option for $14.3M
- Bruce Brown, Jr. — Denver Nuggets: Player option for $6.8M
I look at some of these names, and I start to feel things. It’s not butterflies, but it’s something. Things like, “why the hell is Landry Shamet on the team?”. Or, “why can’t we replace him with a Josh Hart or a Donte DiVincenzo?”.
DiVincenzo will almost certainly opt out of his $4.7M contract with the Warriors and put himself on the open market. I would absolutely love him as a member of the Suns, but I don’t see the need due to sheer roster construction. As noted above, unless Phoenix can somehow move off of Shamet, they can’t pay to bring in a DiVincenzo.
These are some nice names, but given the current state of the Suns, I’m not sure how much sense they truly mean.
- James Harden — Philadelphia 76ers: Player option for $35.6M
Oh, James. What oh what is he going to do? Is it the Rockets? Will the opt in and stay in Philly? Regardless of his decision, I think it bears no bares not merit in mentioning his name with the Phoenix Suns organization. Pass. Just like James does. And then go stand in the corner. Again, just like James does.
Restricted Free Agent Guys
These are the players who can sign an offer sheet with any team, but the player’s original team can retain him by matching the terms of that offer. The original team is said to have the “right of first refusal.”
- Dru Smith — Brooklyn Nets: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Jarden Rhoden — Detroit Pistons: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Lester Quinones — Golden State Warriors: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Xavier Moon — Los Angeles Clippers: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Trevor Keels — New York Knicks: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Johnny Juzang — Utah Jazz: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Ron Harper, Jr. — Toronto Raptors: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- A.J. Green — Milwaukee Bucks: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- David Duke, Jr. — Brooklyn Nets: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
- Buddy Boheim — Detroit Pistons: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
A bunch of two-way guys. No one gets my blood pumping if their current team doesn’t provide them with a qualifying offer sheet. So I’ll move on.
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker — Minnesota Timberwolves: Qualifying offer is $7.1M
- Romeo Langford — San Antonio Spurs: Qualifying offer is $7.7M
- Matisse Thybulle — Portland TrailBlazers: Qualifying offer is $6.3M
I do like Matisse Thybulle on this list, and given the fact that Frank Vogel is the new head coach, and he’s defensively minded, Matisse could technically make sense. But not for the price. Again, the Suns don’t have the money to spend on somebody like him and if they were to try to provide him with the $6.3M offer sheet, Portland could keep him. They probably wouldn’t, but they could.
But there’s other areas of the roster that need to be addressed besides the point shooting guard position.
- Austin Reaves — Los Angeles Lakers: Last year of last contract was $2.2M
We’re all sitting back and eating popcorn waiting to see how much money the Lakers are going to throw at this guy, aren’t we?
Unrestricted Free Agent Guys
These guys control their own fate and can choose who they want to play for.
- Theo Pinson — Dallas Mavericks: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk — Charlotte Hornets: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
- Rodney McGruder — Detroit Pistons: Last year of last contract was $2.3M
- Wesley Matthews — Milwaukee Bucks: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
This is where I really like some value. I like Wesley Matthews, and he was the third-tier shooting guard for the Suns, I’d be happy with that. He’s a free agent, he’s a little bit older, and he would fill out the roster spot nicely. Think we can get him on a veteran minimum.
- Austin Rivers — Minnesota Timberwolves: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
- Ty Jerome — Golden State Warriors: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
- Damion Lee — Phoenix Suns: Last year of last contract was $2.1M
- Justin Holiday — Dallas Mavericks: Last year of last contract was $800k
- Javonte Green — Chicago Bulls: Last year of last contract was $1.7M
- Terence Davis — Sacramento Kings: Last year of last contract was $4.0M
- Will Barton — Toronto Raptors: Last year of last contract was $14.2M
- Troy Brown Jr. — Los Angeles Lakers: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
- Hamidou Diallo — Detroit Pistons: Last year of last contract was $5.2M
- Shake Milton — Philadelphia 76ers: Last year of last contract was $1.6M
- Lonnie Walker IV — Los Angeles Lakers: Last year of last contract was $6.5M
- Josh Okogie — Phoenix Suns: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
- Jaylen Nowell — Minnesota Timberwolves: Last year of last contract was $1.7M
- Seth Curry — Brooklyn Nets: Last year of last contract was $8.0M
The name that plucks our heart strings on this list is Josh Okogie. Unfortunately, due to his performance last season, he’s priced himself out of the Suns’ market. And that kind of sucks. Having him under Vogel would’ve been beautiful. But he most likely will be playing for another team next season.
Justin Holiday sparks my interest here. Much akin to Wesley Matthews, he’s an older player with a defensive mindset and could fill the back up to the back up need, doing so with a veteran presence.
- Josh Richardson — New Orleans Pelicans: Last year of last contract was $12.1M
- Max Strus — Miami Heat: Last year of last contract was $1.7M
- Caris LeVert — Cleveland Cavaliers: Last year of last contract was $17.5M
These guys are simply just too expensive for the Suns’ needs. Josh Richardson? He sure turned a couple good years in Miami into a lot of paychecks, didn’t he?
What are your thoughts? Is this a “find a veteran minimum guy and move on” situation? Or are there chess-like moves on the board?