Phoenix Suns Rumors

Phoenix Suns trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Atlantic Notes: Bradley, Thomas, Ish Smith

March 31 at 8:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

Multiple executives from other teams around the league are impressed with all of the trades that the Celtics have made the last two years, but there’s no grand design behind it, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge tells Grantland’s Zach Lowe.

“We don’t have any master plan,” Ainge says. “You just hope you have the assets when a deal comes along.”

Ainge pledges an active run in free agency this summer, though he believes some of the team’s existing players could grow into the sort of star-level performers who usually are among the top three players on a contender, as Lowe details. The Celtics love Marcus Smart, last year’s No. 6 overall pick, Lowe writes, and while multiple teams offered expiring deals and picks toward the back end of the first round for Avery Bradley, Ainge turned them away, several league sources tell Lowe. There’s more on the Celtics amid the latest from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics think Isaiah Thomas is a better asset to trade than the protected 2016 first-round pick from Cleveland that they gave up to get him from the Suns at the deadline, according to Lowe. The C’s talked about waiting to do the Thomas deal to avoid winning too many games down the stretch this year, but decided against that, with Ainge informing coach Brad Stevens, whom he normally keeps in the loop, of the deal just an hour before it happened, as Lowe examines. “Ideally, he might have been someone you pick up in the summer,” Ainge said. “But someone else might trade for him. You might be in a bidding war. You have to move while the iron is hot.”
  • Nerlens Noel on Monday called Ish Smith “the first real point guard I’ve ever played with” and expressed a desire that Smith, a free agent at season’s end, return to the Sixers, notes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Of course, Noel spent the first half of the season with reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams at the point. In any case, Noel’s development has taken off since Smith arrived shortly after the deadline trade that sent Carter-Williams out, notes Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News, who refers to the big man’s growth as the team’s most important mission this season.
  • Marc Berman of the New York Post wonders just what the Knicks‘ D-League coaching change Monday means for the future of assistant GM Allan Houston, once seemingly a GM-in-training. Houston’s duties with the NBA team had already been curtailed under Phil Jackson, Berman writes.

Pacific Notes: Love, Lakers, Sacre, Len

March 28 at 6:54pm CDT By Chris Crouse

Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook teaming up and playing for the Lakers is a real possibility, opines Nick Dudukovich of Fansided.com. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com discussed the rumors of Love leaving Cleveland either this season or next on his podcast, which airs on ESPN Cleveland. Windhorst notes that out of all the stars in the league, the player that Love has the best relationship with is Westbrook.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Robert Sacre would like to play for Los Angeles next season, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. “I would love to be back here. It would be fun,” said Sacre. “You’re a Laker. What else can you ask for? There’s no other franchise like it. It’s an honor to wear purple and gold.” Sacre has a non-guaranteed salary for the 2015/16 season, which is worth slightly more than $981K.
  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic believes that Alex Len is the center of the future for the Suns. Phoenix picked up Len’s rookie scale option before the season and the team is likely to make the same decision regarding Len’s 2016/17 option, although that is just my speculation.
  • Pablo S, Torre of ESPN The Magazine chronicles Jeremy Lin‘s time to date for the Lakers and his career up to this point. Lin is in the last season of a three-year deal worth slightly over $25MM that he originally signed with Houston. The point guard will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

Suns Tops In Newcomers Since Start Of Season

March 27 at 10:55am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Suns have done a lot of roster shuffling this season to reach more or less the same point. Phoenix was widely expected when 2014/15 began to fall somewhere near the final playoff berth in the Western Conference, just as the team did last year, and that’s right where the Suns are, three games out of eighth place. They nonetheless have a league-high seven players who weren’t around for opening night, thanks in large measure to six trades, including three on deadline day. The likes of Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas have given way to Brandon Knight and Brandan Wright, but the Suns are more or less right where they started.

A pair of new coaches who also run the basketball operations for their teams have been active as well. Stan Van Gundy and Flip Saunders have brought six new players apiece to their respective rosters since the beginning of the season, though neither the Pistons nor the Timberwolves are playoff-bound. The same is true of the Sixers, who have just as many new faces, to no one’s surprise. By contrast, the Heat, whose most significant move was either acquiring Dragic from the Suns or signing Hassan Whiteside midseason, are in position to make the postseason with six players who weren’t around on opening night.

They’re competing for a playoff spot with the Pacers, who clearly haven’t panicked with Paul George out. Indiana picked up A.J. Price earlier this season via the hardship exception, letting him go when some of the team’s other injured players returned. Aside from that, the Pacers have stood pat in the face of a trying season. The Magic haven’t touched their roster all year, instead seemingly placing the blame for their continued struggles on Jacque Vaughn, whom they fired as coach. The Bulls and Raptors have high hopes for deep playoff runs, but neither team has anyone it didn’t have when the season began.

Here’s a look at how each team stacks up in terms of additions since the beginning of the season, categorized by the volume of new players. Those on 10-day contracts have an asterisk by their names.

Seven newcomers

Six newcomers

Five newcomers

Four newcomers

Three newcomers

Two newcomers

One newcomer

No newcomers

  • Bulls
  • Magic
  • Pacers
  • Raptors

And-Ones: Mudiay, Thomas, Orton

March 26 at 9:05pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Goran Dragic was a bit shocked that the Suns dealt his former teammate Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics at this season’s trade deadline, Ben Rohrbach of WEEI 93.7 FM writes. “If I’m honest, I was a little bit surprised, especially because I asked for the trade,” said Dragic. “But that’s how the NBA goes. It’s a business. Unfortunately, we had three point guards at the same position and only one ball, so it’s kind of hard to satisfy everybody.

Presumably, Dragic was talking about his request that the Suns trade him, as they ultimately did when they sent him to the Heat, rather than suggesting that he asked the Suns to trade Thomas, though that’s not entirely clear. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Metta World Peace‘s deal for the remainder of the season with Italy’s Pallacanestro Cantù is worth approximately $40K plus bonuses, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports.
  • Projected 2015 lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay has parted ways with agent Raymond Brothers, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress reports (Twitter link). The guard will now be represented by Jason Martin and Dwon Clifton of Rival Sports Group, Givony adds. Mudiay is currently the No. 3 ranked prospect according to DraftExpress and ESPN.com.
  • Daniel Orton, who appeared in 22 contest for the Sixers during the 2013/14 campaign, doesn’t look back at his time in Philadelphia fondly, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Orton discussed what it was like to go from the Thunder organization to the Sixers’, saying, “Leaving the Thunder, you see the greater side of the NBA. I went into Philly and a situation where it was the total opposite. You got a team just trying to rebuild basically from scratch and blowing up anytime you had something going good. So you definitely learn the business side of it.” Orton has played in China and the Philippines this season after attending training camp with the Wizards.

Western Notes: Anderson, Douglas, Barron

March 26 at 7:31pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Ryan Anderson, who has been out of action since February with an MCL sprain in his right knee, could be making his return for the Pelicans next week, John Reid of The Times Picayune writes. ”We’re progressing each day and continue to ramp up to be ready,” Anderson said. ”We’ll do a little more on the court. There is a mental aspect where I got to get over the fact that my knee is stronger and OK. There is still some strengthening I need to build up. But we’re doing everything we can and it is frustrating and it’s tough being out.”  In 52 games this season the big man has averaged 14.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per night.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Earl Barron‘s deal with the Suns for the rest of the season is indeed just that, without any extra years tacked on, according to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • Jordan Hamilton‘s latest Clippers contract is a two-year arrangement with non-guaranteed salary for next season, Pincus tweets.
  • The Pelicans tacked a non-guaranteed minimum salary for next season onto their deal with Toney Douglas, Pincus relays (Twitter link). His 2015/16 pay becomes guaranteed if he remains under contract through August 1st, as Pincus shows on the Basketball Insiders Pelicans salary page.
  • Bryce Cotton‘s multiyear deal with the Jazz covers both 2015/16 and 2016/17 with non-guaranteed salaries, as Pincus also reports (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Mavs Want New Deal With Amar’e Stoudemire

March 26 at 12:53pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Mark Cuban signaled that he’d like to keep Amar’e Stoudemire beyond the rest-of-season deal he signed with the team following his buyout with the Knicks, as Cuban told reporters, including Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News and Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Stoudemire’s choice of the Mavs over the Suns, a team in which he had an “extremely high” level of interest in joining, and other suitors indicates that he’ll again consider signing with Dallas this summer, MacMahon figures, though it doesn’t appear an open-and-shut case. Stoudemire called the summer ahead a chance for him to choose a team that has confidence in him and understands that he’s eager to play at a high level for years to come, as Sefko relays, and MacMahon believes he’ll prioritize winning, playing time, and money.

“I love Amar’e — love, love, love the guy,” Cuban said. “There’s not enough superlatives. He’s just a great guy on the court and off. I just love his physicality. He just wants to win and is a great guy.”

Cuban makes a habit of saying he wants to keep his teams intact only to shuffle the roster, Sefko points out. Still, the owner isn’t upset about Stoudemire’s criticism of his new teammates, citing the 13-year veteran’s experience as reason to let him speak his mind, Sefko notes. Dallas will probably offer Stoudemire a “significant” portion of the mid-level exception this summer, MacMahon believes. The non-taxpayer’s mid-level will be $5.464MM and the taxpayer’s amount will be $3.376MM, though if the Mavs dip below the cap, they’ll instead have the $2.814MM room exception.

MacMahon envisions Stoudemire asking for a multiyear deal, which jibes with the 32-year-old’s intent to maintain his performance well into the future. Stoudemire said he believes he can play another five or six years if he keeps his body in tune, as Sefko and MacMahon relay. The strong reputation of Mavs athletic trainer Casey Smith helped persuade the big man to sign with Dallas, as MacMahon wrote last month, but Phoenix’s training staff is as well-regarded as any in sports, and Stoudemire would reportedly welcome a return to the Suns this summer. In any case, Stoudemire said “there’s no way” he’s retiring this summer, according to Sefko.

Reports linked Stoudemire to the Blazers, Grizzlies, Spurs, Clippers, Raptors and Warriors while he was considering where he would play following his Knicks buyout, and that suggests there will be plenty of teams in the mix for him again this summer. In any case, he assuredly won’t be making the salary of almost $20.911MM the Knicks are shelling out for him this year, an amount that was to have been even greater before he gave up $2.5MM in the buyout. His deal with the Mavs gives him a prorated minimum salary, and Dallas would have to use cap room or an exception to give him more than 120% of the minimum next season, since they have only Non-Bird rights to him. The Mavs have about $28MM in guaranteed salary for next season, but several members of the team are set to hit free agency.

Pacific Rumors: Cousins, Jordan, Stoudemire

March 26 at 11:52am CDT By Chuck Myron

Two coaching changes and more losing for the Kings have thrown DeMarcus Cousins for a loop this year, but he’s determined to learn from adversity, as Michael Lee of The Washington Post details.

“It’s been a circus, man. It’s been a complete circus,” Cousins said of this season. “We got off to a hot start. Unfortunately, I got sick, so it ruined the look of the team. I take some blame for that. I know for a fact, if I wouldn’t have gotten sick, things wouldn’t have happened the way it happened. It was no way it could. At the same time, a lot of it is not my fault and we all know why. But this has been a disappointing year.”

George Karl‘s up-tempo system doesn’t really fit Cousins but the center will keep an open mind about it, Lee writes. Cousins is in the first year of a four-year max extension. Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • DeAndre Jordan said he loves the city of New York but isn’t thinking about his free agency this summer, as he told reporters, including Marc Berman of the New York Post, after the Clippers beat the Knicks on Wednesday.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire‘s said his interest in joining the Suns after his buyout with the Knicks was “extremely high,” according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “But I wanted to compete for a championship this year,” Stoudemire added. “That’s one reason why I didn’t choose the Spurs, because I knew it’d be a letdown for all my Phoenix Suns fans. I couldn’t do it. It was a tough decision, but I wanted to win this year.”
  • Wesley Johnson is finds it frustrating to be hitting free agency for a third year in a row, observes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. The Lakers have a general affection for him, and Johnson has been considering a new deal with the team this summer, in spite of L.A.’s hesitance to give him more than a one-year deal the past two offseasons, as Bresnahan also relays“It’s one of those things where you definitely don’t want to jump ship when something’s going bad,” Johnson said of the Lakers. I actually want to be a part of it to see if we can get back on the right foot. We’ll see what happens this offseason, see what direction they’re going.”

Pacific Notes: Nash, Wear, Len

March 25 at 9:31pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Speaking at his retirement press conference Steve Nash said that he considered his time with the Lakers a failure, Joey Ramirez of NBA.com relays. “I came here with huge hopes and dreams and was incredibly excited and humble to have the opportunity to come here and play for the Lakers and the world’s biggest fan base,” Nash said. “For it just not to be in the cards was a failure and a huge disappointment. It’s been a difficult period of my career and my life to battle through that and to try to make something of it, which was fruitless in the end. But I know I’ve never worked harder. I never wanted something more, and I never worked harder. It just wasn’t to be.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  •  Nash said that he understands the backlash he received from Lakers fans regarding him not being around the team this season, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. “I really needed to get away,” Nash said. “I had an incredible amount of stress and anxiety. I wanted something so bad and held on way too long. Probably over-trained to get there. I needed to get some space.”
  • Suns coach Jeff Hornacek insists that center Alex Len will be “a great player,” and his rapid progress is seen on almost a daily basis, Matt Petersen of NBA.com writes. “He’s getting smarter and smarter every day,” Hornacek said. “He’s backed off a little bit on the pick-and-rolls. He knows the speed of the guys better, it seems like. He made a couple plays where I thought guys were going to have lay-ups…yet he can block it late. Those are big plays.
  • Quite a bit has changed with the Kings organization since David Wear, who recently inked a 10-day deal with the team, was in training camp with them earlier this season, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. The forward is excited to get a shot to play in the NBA, Jones adds. “Of course I’ve been waiting, hoping for a call-up, so when I got the call, I was thrilled,” Wear said. “That’s what this whole year’s been all about, and it’s good to finally be here.”

Suns Notes: Trades, Thomas, Knight, Dragic

March 24 at 11:28am CDT By Chuck Myron

Most executives from other teams around the league said they wouldn’t have given up Isaiah Thomas and the Lakers’ protected first-rounder for what the Suns acquired in return at the deadline, according to Grantland’s Zach Lowe. Phoenix ended up with Brandon KnightMarcus Thornton and Cleveland’s 2016 top-10 protected first-round pick, as our trade deadline recap shows.

“Everybody loves the L.A. pick,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough told Lowe. “The concept of a pick is great, but it’s more of a sure thing to get a 23-year-old who is a borderline All-Star in the East.”

That 23-year-old is Knight, the soon-to-be restricted free agent whom the Bucks declined to trade straight-up for the Lakers pick, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com first reported and as Lowe reiterates. There are conflicting reports about whether Milwaukee turned down a Knight-for-Goran Dragic offer from the Suns, but several league sources tell Lowe that the Bucks indeed rejected such an offer. Lowe and others have plenty more from Phoenix:

  • Suns coach Jeff Hornacek insisted to Lowe that the idea behind collecting Dragic, Thomas and Eric Bledsoe on the same roster before the season was to afford all three of them rest so they’d be fresh for the playoffs, as Lowe relays in the same piece.
  • The Suns won’t spend money for the sake of spending it in free agency this summer, McDonough tells Lowe, who nonetheless believes it’s imperative that the Suns make the most of the additional cap flexibility that their deadline deals created.
  • Steve Nash‘s retirement underscores just how well the Suns made out in the 2012 sign-and-trade that sent him to the Lakers, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic examines. Knight is the primary asset that the Suns snagged thanks to what they gained in the deal, Coro points out, though president of basketball operations Lon Babby believes there was a subtle cost that lingers.  “It was among the most difficult, if not the most difficult, decisions we’ve had to make since I’ve been here…” Babby said of letting Nash go. “We made the right decision. I’m just disappointed it didn’t work out better for [Nash]. He defined our culture. To be honest about it, when you assess a trade like that, we gave up intangibles that we’re still trying to replace.”

Southeast Notes: Sessions, Deng, Oden, Scott

March 24 at 9:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

Ramon Sessions is growing more comfortable with the Wizards, especially offensively, after a deadline-day trade that brought him to Washington ended a brief and unusual tenure with the Kings, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post details.

I’ve been around for a while and I’ve been around with a few different teams and it was probably one of the strangest things, to have three coaches by the All-Star break,” Sessions said. “A lot different things you’re hearing from different people and it didn’t really correlate with what was going on on the court. So it was tough. It definitely was tough. Me being an older guy, it was a little easier, but I know for some of the young guys it had to be real tough.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Suns reportedly had interest in Luol Deng at last year’s trade deadline and during this past offseason‘s free agency, but they didn’t ask about him as they negotiated the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat last month, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports.
  • The Heat have been planning a free agency push for 2016, but that’ll be difficult unless team president Pat Riley wants to break up the core he has now, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines.
  • Ohio State coach Thad Matta has suggested that Greg Oden will make another NBA comeback attempt, but the former No. 1 overall pick had limited passion for the game last season with the Heat, Winderman writes in the same piece.
  • The toe injury that’s sidelined Hawks power forward Mike Scott doesn’t involve a broken bone as previously reported, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Scott was reportedly expected to miss four to six weeks as of a week ago, but now it’s likely he’ll be back at full strength for the playoffs, according to Newberry. The postseason begins three weeks from Saturday. The team’s 10-day contract with Austin Daye, whom the Hawks signed to offset the loss of Scott, expires overnight tonight.