My favorite aspect of basketball to cover has always been development of younger players and prospects.
When Robert Sarver decided to sell the G League affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, I took it personally. I’ve considered it a crucial flaw that the team has gone this long without one. That’s why the announcement team owner Mat Ishbia teased Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 with Burns & Gambo came as such a wave of euphoria for me.
Gambo brought up to Ishbia the fact that the Suns are the only NBA team without a G League team now that the Portland Trail Blazers have announced their affiliate earlier this summer, Rip City Remix. Ishbia responded, “That won’t be something you’ll be talking about in a week or two, how about that?”
The announcement could coincide with an event for season ticket holders scheduled for later this month, which many — including myself — presumed would be the uniform reveal. Speculatively thinking, maybe the event will be a mega-showcase for both uniforms at each level of an ever-expanding Suns organization under Ishbia.
“We’re gonna continue to invest in our team, we’re gonna invest in our future. and a G League team’s important.”
Ishbia also pointed out the change in the new CBA that permits a team to have up to three two-way slots filled instead of just two. The Suns currently only have one two-way slot filled, returning point guard Saben Lee, and the two-way players are the ones that would be most immediately impacted.
According to the aforementioned CBA, two-way players are eligible for up to 50 regular season games and 0 playoff games; unless it’s a case like Ish Wainright, who was converted to a standard contract just before the playoffs started.
Most teams’ two-way players spend the remaining time with their G League affiliate. The Suns, not having one for the past few years, still could’ve sent their players down, to use the baseball terminology, but they wouldn’t have absolute control over how that player is utilized there, which could prove counterproductive in the team’s eyes.
If the team is up and running in time for this season, Lee — and any other two-way players the Suns sign (*cough cough*, Hunter Hale from the Vegas squad) — would have the chance to spend more game-time working on things like running an offense comfortably as well as diversifying a shot profile.
Plus, if the Suns do a good enough job with it, the program could potentially produce All-Stars like the Raptors 905 squad has done for the Toronto Raptors with players like Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.
Stay tuned in to Bright Side of the Sun as we monitor this developing story.