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Center of the Sun: Suns’ big three nicknames and paying tribute to Dave King

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

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Washington Wizards v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

The Beal deal is official, and the Phoenix Suns have formally introduced their newest jersey number three to the franchise.

The Beal deal is official, and the Phoenix Suns have formally introduced their newest jersey number three to the franchise.

We’ve talked about contracts. We’ve talked about the luxury tax. We’ve talked about aprons and draft picks, compensation and pick swaps. But we haven’t talked about what the nickname will be for the Suns’ new big three.

What are we going to call Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal? There must be something snazzy out there, something that you can throw on a T-shirt and people will instantly know who you’re talking about. It’s all about marketability these days, and while “Suns Super Team” has a nice zing to it, that ain’t it.

Mid-Range Mafia 2.0

I was a big fan of the Mid-Range Mafia moniker given to the Suns quartet of Book, KD, CP3, and DA last season. Like characters out of The Godfather, we believed they would be deadly. But the team never had time to let the players develop into the mafia that we wanted them to be.

Eight regular season games and a Second Round exit. That’s how I will remember that iteration of the Mid-Range Mafia.

Beal shot 47.6% from the mid-range last season on 4.2 attempts per game. Devin Booker shot 49.4% on 5.8 shot attempts per game, Kevin Durant was a cool 50% on 6.8 attempts, and Deandre Ayton shot 42% on 2.6 attempts. He clearly belongs in the club.

Perhaps it’s DA who needs to be kicked from the club.


This one comes off the tongue like poetry to a beat. Much akin to the Mid-Range Mafia 2.0, it sounds like a criminal organization. Granted, Russia’s KGB is like their CIA. I’ll let you discuss the criminal aspect; this is a sports blog site.

It’s a lethal nickname for a lethal scoring trio.


Booker. Durant. Beal. Phonetic alliteration. It’s beautiful and it makes sense. But for those of you who are avid watchers of the Suns JAM Session Podcast, you’ll know that B.D.B. stands for something else completely. And we can’t take that away from Devin Booker.

39 Unbothered

Hat-tipping Devin Booker’s cryptic Tweet earlier this off-season:

Assumably this was referencing how he and Kevin Durant weren’t bothered with current rumor mill topics in Phoenix. The 36 references their jersey numbers combined, 35+1=36. You like that arithmetic lesson? There’s more where that came from.

Let’s add a 3 in there considering that Bradley Beal will be wearing Chris Paul’s vacated jersey number.

Together, they are 39 unbothered. Divide that by 3, and they each get 13 shots a night. Bam! That math checks out!

Other suggestions?

Lord knows that the creativity from our fan base doesn’t come from my off-the-wall thoughts, it comes from you. What other nicknames can we give this trio? The ‘$131M Men’? The ‘Who Needs Draft Pick Players’? The ‘Salary Boyz’?

Let me know down below!

40+ point Bradley Beal Games vs. Phoenix

Seeing as he was in the Eastern Conference, we didn’t see Bradley Beal more than twice a year. That never stopped him from cooking the Suns. In 18 games against Phoenix, Beal has averaged 25.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4 assists. He’s dropped 40+ on the Suns three times:

Bradley Beal vs. Suns (11.21.16) — 42 points:

Bradley Beal vs. Suns (11.01.17) — 40 points:

Bradley Beal FIRST TRIPLE-DOUBLE Highlights Wizards vs Suns:

News & Notes

Uproxx: How Bradley Beal Fits With The Suns And The Questions That Remain For Phoenix

FOX Sports: How acquiring Bradley Beal hurts Suns long-term in case of ‘new owner syndrome’

Clutch Points: Suns pursued Kyrie Irving sign-and-trade with Mavs before Bradley Beal deal

Bleacher Report: Deandre Ayton Rumors: ‘Not Impossible’ Suns Keep Center Next Season amid Trade Buzz

Sporting News: How the Bradley Beal trade affected the Suns’ NBA championship odds — and how bettors should respond

Total Pro Sports: NBA World Has Real Concerns With Isiah Thomas’ Involvement In The Bradley Beal Blockbuster Trade After Chris Paul Called Him Out Repeatedly

Burn City Sports: Suns Rejected Julius Randle Trade for Ayton

NBA Analysis Network: This NBA Trade Involving Suns, Pacers, Celtics Would Shake Up The League

Hoops Rumors: Suns Officially Announce Changes To Coaching Staff

AZ Central: Phoenix Suns’ best second-round draft picks in franchise history

Burn City Sports: John Gambadoro: “The Suns Are Unlikely to Trade Deandre Ayton”

Arizona Sports: Suns open 2023 Summer League schedule July 8

Sports Illustrated: The Top Five Steals of the NBA Draft

Hoops Hype: Suns wants Sixers to get third team involved to facilitate Deandre Ayton deal

Bleacher Report: Suns’ Top Options Amid Rumors Deandre Ayton Won’t Be Traded in NBA Free Agency

Quotes of the Week

“In this league, anything can happen. You just figure out what’s next.” — Chris Paul

“They aren’t winning a championship. I don’t trust Beal. He doesn’t play games. They’re supporting cast stinks.” — Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Suns

“Bradley Beal is one of the best players in the NBA and brings so much to our team including incredible work ethic, great character, and the mindset of a champion.” — Mat Ishbia

“Brad possesses the ability to score on all three levels and impact the game on both ends of the court. His professionalism and desire to win is infectious and something that will elevate our program.” — James Jones

This Week in Suns History

July 1, 2004

Here we are, 19 years later, and our new owner had brought Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal to Phoenix.

Important Future Dates

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 2023-24 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 2024-25 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 TBD: NBA schedule released.

August 31: Last day for teams to waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2023-24 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 24: 2023-24 NBA season begins.

Bringing it Home

It can’t be understated what Dave King has meant to the Suns’ community. He oversaw some of the worse basketball in franchise history and somehow made it engaging. His first piece on Bright Side was on July 6, 2010, and he came out of the gate swinging.

His relatable writing style made it feel as if you were reading the text thread of a conversation you had with a buddy. His transparency could best be described as “keeping it real”. Through more hard times than good, we had Dave King to read and relate to.

Then there is Bright Side Night. Dave has used his accessibility with the organization to make an impact on the Suns community with more than words. He’s sent countless amounts of kids to see the Suns play in person and in turn we have an entire new generation of young Suns’ fans as a result.

For those of you who have met Dave in person, you know that he can’t contain his passion for the team. His POV on the Suns is unique and he is always ready and willing to have a conversation that leaves you seeing the team and their current state of affairs from a different perspective.

Thankfully Dave is still going to be around; his itch to contribute is simply too strong. He currently has 453 pages worth of Suns-related material on Bright Side, each page with at least 10 posts on it. That’s 4,530 pieces by Dave since 2010. You can’t just turn it off, and he won’t.

Nervously excited. That is the best way I can describe how I feel as I’ve assumed the role of site manager of Bright Side. Nervous is a good thing. It means I care, and that I do. I care about this team, this community, and how it’s communicated. I will do my best to keep Dave’s message and work ethic moving forward.

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