The Phoenix Suns are doing what they can to bring back a couple of fan favorites to fortify their roster. It was reported by Spotrac’s Kevin Smith, the contract guru, that both Jock Landale and Saben Lee have received qualifying offers from the organization.
The Phoenix Suns have tendered a qualifying offer to Jock Landale and a two-way qualifying offer to Saben Lee, a league source tells @spotrac.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 28, 2023
Both players are now restricted free agents on July 1.
Both are restricted free agents on July 1, so this is step one in bringing them back before opposing teams have an opportunity to dictate their value on the open market. Once July 1 hits, Phoenix will have the option to match offers made by other teams.
Landale has ‘Early Bird’ rights, so the Suns can match any offer up to the league average salary, which is just north of $12 million per year. Landale won’t get $12 million, but he could easily net $3-4 million on a two-year deal, which is good for him and makes him trade-eligible for the Suns.
The Lee offer is a two-way qualifying offer, meaning he would return to the Suns on another two-way contract next year.
Landale is the ideal backup to Deandre Ayton, especially on the offensive side of the ball. His ability to dash into the paint and position himself underneath the cylinder is stellar, and when he does so against opposing second team units, they are unprepared for his hustle. Every team needs a “eff stuff up” guy, and Landale was that during the 2022-23 season for Phoenix.
He played in 69 games (giggity) for Phoenix, starting 4, and posted 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.2 minutes played. Per 36, that equates to 16.8 points and 10.3 rebounds. But who likes per 36?
Jock’s hustle is something you can’t teach. The center market is heavy with unrestricted free agents and low-cost options, sprinkled with veteran experience. I’m not sure how many offers outside of Phoenix he will receive, but it would behoove Suns’ brass to match. His QO was for $2.2M.
Saben Lee, like Landale, is a player who brings the hustle. His shooting might be a challenge — he posted 39.3/37/.9/73.7 splits — but his explosiveness towards the rim and willingness to penetrate the defense is a quality not possessed by many of his teammates.
Lee is a quality third-string point guard who appeared in 23 games for the injury riddled Suns last season. He entered this offseason as a two-way restricted free agent, and it will be intriguing to see how much interest he receives from competing teams. His QO was $1.8M.
What is of note is that Darius Bazley has not received his qualifying offer as of yet. His offer, which is $6.2M, is pricier than both Landale and Lee combined.
Generally, but not always, teams do these sorts of things in batches.— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 28, 2023
Of note for Phoenix, it doesn't appear Darius Bazley has been tendered a qualifying offer. At least not yet. That could just be a timing thing, but it's something to keep an eye on. https://t.co/BLikApLrxJ
Bazley is an interesting story, as he did not see much playing time with Phoenix. He is special on defense and it would make sense that the Frank Vogel would want to see what the kid has. Bringing his contract back makes sense as well for it is a stackable contract in a trade scenario. The Suns don’t have much else to sweeten any deal outside of Mat Ishbia offering stock option to opposing GM’s.
July 1 will be busy and we will know then — or shortly thereafter — what the value of Landale and Lee are on the open market. Stay locked in to Bright Side for updates and analysis as it happens.