clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Free Agent Market: The center positions provides plenty of cost effective options

It appears the Suns are sticking with DA. Jock had been tendered a QO. Is there someone else Phoenix has their sights set on?

New Orleans Pelicans v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

It is the final installment of our five part series exploring all possible free agents this off-season. Slow clap? Please? From the back row? I hear you back there. And I thank you. From club options to player options, restricted free agents to unrestricted, free agents, from fringe players to rotation players, from starters to All-Stars. We’ve put it all out there for you to discuss, to analyze, and to give your opinions.

And now it’s time to talk about the final position left: the center.

We think we have a good idea as to how the Suns are going to approach this position this off-season. Deandre Ayton isn’t going anywhere. Or at least that is what Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and Suns insider John Gambadoro continually has been telling us.

Yes, rumors continue to leak about possible trades that involve the former number one overall pick. Two days ago Marc Stein reported there was talk of a potential DA for Tim Hardaway, Richaun Holmes, and JaVale McGee deal. If there’s any merit to these rumors, we still don’t exactly know how Phoenix wants to approach the position. Are they shopping or are they standing pat?

As you read the list below, you have to consider both options.

Option number one the sons retain Ayton and his $32.5 million contract. The goal then is to roster his relief. Option number two? You’re looking for your starter. You’re assuming that Deandre is gone and the deal that sent him away did not bring back a starting center in return.

There’s good value and good size available at this position. There’s plenty of experience with numerous guys that you can get on veteran minimum deals. Both options are open to Phoenix and we don’t know which one is right or which one is wrong.

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.”

Fringe Tier

Too many players that the Suns most likely won’t take. But hey, if there’s somebody who strikes your fancy, let us know in the comments below. I expect crickets.

Rotation Tier

  • Luka Garza — Minnesota Timberwolves: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
  • Orlando Robinson — Miami Heat: Qualifying offer is $1.8M
  • Jock Landale — Phoenix Suns: Qualifying offer is $2.1M

Jock is the obvious bring them back guy. His attitude, his effort, his hustle. While Bismack Biyombo brought the defensive intensity, Jock displayed his offensive skill set. He has some growing to do but he’s a guy who gets in the ring and messes things up. We like those guys. We need those guys.

The Suns have offered him his qualifying offer. We’ll find out on July 1 what his value is on the open market.

Unrestricted Free Agent Guys

These guys control their own fate and can choose who they want to play for.

Fringe Tier

  • Tristan Thompson: Last year of last contract was $.01M
  • Boban Marjanovic: Last year of last contract was $800K
  • Robin Lopez: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
  • Meyers Leonard: Last year of last contract was $400k
  • Alex Len: Last year of last contract was $3.8M
  • Frank Kaminsky: Last year of last contract was $2.4M
  • DeAndre Jordan: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
  • Taj Gibson: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
  • Gorgui Dieng: Last year of last contract was $895K
  • Dewayne Dedmon: Last year of last contract was $835K
  • Willie Cauley-Stein: Last year of last contract was $14K
  • Udoka Azubuike: Last year of last contract was $2.5M

There are some decent depth plays here if the Suns want to explore them. Gorgui Dieng, Dewayne Dedmon. Both provide size that is still needed in the modern NBA. Veteran minimum deals would get them in the purple and orange.

I know you see Frank there. I know you loved him. I know you loved his quarantine workouts and a couple of flashes during the 2021-22 season. Do you love him enough to bring him back?

Rotation Tier

  • Montrezl Harrell: Last year of last contract was $2.6M
  • Cody Zeller: Last year of last contract was $793K
  • Moritz Wagner: Last year of last contract was $1.8M
  • Blake Griffin: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
  • Kevin Love: Last year of last contract was $27.4M
  • Chimezie Metu: Last year of last contract was $1.4M
  • Bismack Biyombo: Last year of last contract was $2.9M
  • Drew Eubanks: Last year of last contract was $1.9M
  • Thomas Bryant: Last year of last contract was $2.1M
  • Dwight Powell: Last year of last contract was $11.1M

Much of akin to the list above, but with a couple of guys who might cost a little bit more.

I am a Montrezl Harrell Stan. STAN! I love his hustle, his aggression, his rebounding. He’s has the intensity of Jock Landale, but on the defensive end. So here I am, once again, pleading for Phoenix to bring him in. I don’t care if his number dipped last year. Whoever fills this spot isn’t playing a ton, and I just want him on the team.

Thomas Bryant is another nice target and I think his addition would be something that Phoenix fans would be grateful for. He’s somebody who hasn’t made a lot of money in his career – his career earnings in 6 years is $28.7 million – so that might be a motivating factor for him this off-season. He just won a championship with the Denver Nuggets, so chasing a ring is not high on his list of priorities.

Starter Tier

  • Mason Plumlee: Last year of last contract was $8.2M
  • Christian Wood: Last year of last contract was $13.7M
  • Jakob Poeltl: Last year of last contract was $8.8M

I feel like three years ago these names where regularly discussed. Now?

All-Star Tier

  • Nikola Vucevic: Last year of last contract was $25.0M
  • Brook Lopez: Last year of last contract was $13.0M

Too pricey, too unattainable. Words that we’re saying a lot this off-season.

As top-heavy as this lineup is, and as excited as I am to watch it, some of the excitement of building the roster has been sucked out of the free agency process due to it. “Veteran minimum” guys. I’m tired of saying it. But that’s what we’re targeting.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bright Side of the Sun Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Phoenix Suns news from Bright Side of the Sun