The Phoenix Suns added on the margins this offseason, securing many deals that look to be of tremendous value on the surface.
Now with all eyes on Phoenix, the role players that step up will be magnified in a larger spotlight. Those that produce in said spotlight will be highly coveted by teams hoping to get more out of them in expanded roles. Bruce Brown in Denver last year is a perfect example of this.
James Jones offered a group of players the classic pseudo “two-year” deals that in reality are likely going to be one-year deals for most. The players who received the two-year contracts with a player option in year two include; Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks, and Eric Gordon.
Disclaimer: Eric Gordon will be excluded from this list/poll due to the fact that I believe he’s already worth more than his contract. We all know he could’ve fetched more elsewhere.
Option 1: Josh Okogie — Wing, 2-year / $5.7 million *player option
There was a point last season where many thought that Josh Okogie was going to price himself out of a return to the Suns. Unfortunately for all parties involved, that was at the peak of the Okogie experience and never came to fruition after a disappointing playoff run.
Okogie holds a $2.9 million player option at the conclusion of this season, so the open market is still a possibility should he offer more consistency on the offensive end.
If Okogie runs away with the fifth starter spot or is able to consistently close games (hit corner threes) his value will skyrocket in the open market.
He is still just 24 years old after all.
Option 2: Keita Bates-Diop — Forward, 2-year / $5 million *player option
Bates-Diop signed for a similar amount as Okogie and will figure to play just as significant of a role. I believe it’ll be a battle between Okogie and Bates-Diop for the fifth starter, and it could even become a matchup-dependent issue.
A breakout season that features KBD winning the job for the fifth starter would almost certainly secure him a bag this offseason.
He is entering his theoretical prime years at age 27 and has the size at the forward position that should make him coveted in the free agent market with a big year for a contender.
Option 3: Yuta Watanabe — Forward, 2-year / $5 million *player option
The Suns will need the size, versatility, and shooting at the wing position this season regardless of what lineups they throw out there.
Watanabe will get the opportunity to shine, and if he connects as efficiently as many expect him to from the open looks he will get... he might be seeing a large payday next summer.
He may not get enough minutes for this to come to fruition — especially in pivotal moments — but he will be as solid of a role player as you can ask for at this price.
I’m entirely onboard the Yuta train, and you should be too before it sells out.
Option 4: Drew Eubanks — Center, 2-year / $5 million *player option
Eubanks figures to plug in as Phoenix’s primary backup center, though there will be some stiff competition with Metu, Bol, Azubuike, and even Camara waiting in the wings.
We all just saw what Jock Landale fetched out in the open market, so if Eubanks takes the reins to the backup five spot and makes an impact on a contender he will be on a one-way ticket to the highest bidder next summer.
He may be the fourth listed option, but do not sleep on him getting the bag next offseason.
Damion Lee — 2 years, $5.3 million
Chimezie Metu — 1 year, $2.3 million
Bol Bol — 1 year, $2.1 million
Lee is unlikely to get a huge raise at this point in his career. He is who he is, and that’s not a knock on the sharpshooting veteran.
Metu may struggle to find consistent minutes and he’s on a one-year deal, but there is a world where he takes advantage of the opportunity and finds a new home next season.
Bol’s path to minutes will also be a struggle and he’s on a one-year deal as well, so it’s tough to see this being a top option for his exercise.
Which Suns role player is most likely to outplay their contract this season?
This poll is closed
Josh Okogie ($2.8M)
Keita Bates-Diop ($2.3M)
Yuta Watanabe ($2.0M)
Drew Eubanks ($2.3M)
OTHER (reply with who)
So Suns fans, take your pick. Who will price themselves OUT of the Suns next season?
It’s a good problem to have.