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Suns Weekly (Sept 18): Expectations Bloom as Suns rise again

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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Phoenix Suns v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

The ‘Voice of the Suns’ was the legendary Al McCoy. For 51 years, Al has been the Suns play-by-play announcer on the radio, including some glorious years that were simulcast to TV for Arizona residents. Shazam! Zing go the strings! What a shot, WhataBurger! The Nash Rambler lobs it to the Matrix and Whammo!

But all good times come to an end. The 90-year old has finally called it quits, ending his play-calling career in a Game-6 loss to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of last year’s playoffs. Over a half century, Al called all three Suns NBA Finals appearances (1976, 1993 and 2021) and 31 of the team’s 32 playoff runs. He won several national media awards and is the only broadcaster in the Suns Ring of Honor.

Now Al hands over the reins to local legend Jon Bloom.

If you don’t already know ‘Bloomer’ you must not be from around here. Bloom has been covering the Suns on radio, podcasts and TV for the past 15 years. He’s been host of the Suns Postgame Show on 98.7 FM, a live show immediately following all Suns home games, for several years and over the past two seasons has been traveling with the team and calling road games for the aging McCoy.

Now he takes over full time. Bloomer will call all 82 games this coming season, home and road, on the Suns official radio partner, 98.7 FM. He will be joined by veteran color analyst Tim Kempton, who enters his 22nd season in the role after a 10-year NBA playing career.

So happy for you, Jon! We’ve been pulling for you to be Al’s eventual replacement and you stuck around long enough to make it happen! Now you get your own 50-year run.

Jon and Tim call the games on radio, while everyone else stays in place from the last several seasons. K-Ray, Eddie and Ann have the TV broadcasts, with the Tims in studio for pregame, halftime and postgame shows. As we’ve mentioned a few times this summer, the Suns TV broadcasts will be available to triple the homes this year, including those without any cable or streaming subscriptions. New owner Mat Ishbia brokered a TV deal with Arizona’s Family TV channels to make 70* of the team’s 82 games watchable with nothing more than a free digital TV receiver. For more, check it here:

No more two-ways for the Bloomer! He’s finally earned the well-deserved full-time contract. Join me with a tap-tap-tap your keyboard or screen to give Jon big applause for his Blooming Suns future!!

Quote of the Week

“C’mon man. We’re playing to 11, the guy has the first nine buckets of the game.” — Joakim Noah, explaining why he wanted to double team Booker in summer pickup a few years ago.

Suns around the web

Book and Durant were seen (and supposedly coaching kids) at the Nike World Basketball Fest in New York City this weekend:

Good Bright Side reads you probably missed

Each week I’ll highlight some Bright Side articles that didn’t get as many eyeballs as they should have. It’s worth your time to give these unique takes a look before they’re lost in the ether forever.


No transactions this week. Here’s the salary chart in case you need it.

And here’s the bottom line.

It doesn’t matter how close they look to the line, the Suns will be over the second apron this coming year. Teams must give NBA-level contracts to at least 14 players a year, and the Suns are already over the second apron at 13 guaranteed players this year and still over the apron at only 10 guaranteed players the next.

During this coming season, while being over the second apron, the Suns:

  • cannot sign any high-salary buyout guys
  • cannot acquire > 10% more salary than they send out in any trades

That means no more Terrence Ross signings after the trade deadline, and no more Durant and Beal trades the way they were done in bringing back significantly more salary.

If you think that’s tough, next year it gets tougher. If they remain over the second apron as projected after the last day of this coming season, the Suns:

  • cannot pay more than league minimum for free agents from another team
  • cannot trade the “seven years out” first round pick (2031)
  • cannot acquire any players in sign-and-trade
  • cannot send out cash in any trades
  • cannot take back ANY more salary than they send out
  • can only do one-for-one trades for salary-matching purposes (no salary aggregation of multiple players)

If they remain over the second apron twice in the following four years (i.e. three of five), starting NEXT season:

  • those future frozen draft picks are moved to the END of the first round (they can later be unfrozen if the team gets below the second apron 3 out of 4 years)

In short, trades get tough for the teams over the second apron, including the Suns, Celtics, Nuggets and Clippers (This list only leaves out the Warriors and Bucks because Klay Thompson and Jrue Holiday are merely Bird Rights free agents until they re-sign).

Important Future Dates

  • Oct. 2: Media Day!
  • Oct. 3: Training camp opens for teams like the Suns, who stay in the States for preseason
  • Oct. 5: Start of preseason
  • Oct. 20: End of preseason
  • Oct. 24: Start of 2023-24 regular season; Suns are @ the Warriors on NBA’s Opening Night on TNT to help open the 2023-24 NBA season.
  • Nov. 3: NBA In-Season Tournament begins
  • Dec. 7: NBA In-Season Tournament Semifinals
  • Dec. 9: NBA In-Season Tournament Finals
  • Feb 8: Trade Deadline
  • Feb. 16-18: NBA All-Star Weekend 2024
  • April 14: 2023-24 regular season ends

This week’s poll

Remember the old days when reports would trickle out in September on how many players were back in Phoenix right after Labor Day, working out and playing pickup together to get in shape ahead of training camp?

Suns social media has shared workouts by Drew Eubanks, Josh Okogie and Udoka Azubuike in recent days but those pale in comparison to the headlines grabbed by Book and KD at various sports-celebrity stops around the globe.

Hence this week’s poll


How long into the season will be hear about ‘playing into shape’?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Training camp, no later
    (27 votes)
  • 34%
    End of preseason
    (49 votes)
  • 46%
    A month into the season, at least
    (67 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now

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