- Suns GM Ryan McDonough said on Monday that the club has not yet engaged in extension discussions with Alex Len or Archie Goodwin, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. “We want to see how it goes in training camp and preseason and then we’ll revisit it as a staff probably the last week or last 10 days of October,” McDonough said. “With players as young as those two guys are, obviously there’s some projection involved too. It’s not just what they are now but what they’re going to become over the next four or five years.”
1:12pm: Responding today to Noel’s comments, Colangelo reiterated that he’s not shopping any specific players, suggesting that – as a new GM – he was simply gauging league-wide interest in his players (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com). Colangelo added that the situation shouldn’t be affected by Noel’s comments, and that Embiid’s health will be a major factor in the Sixers’ plans (Twitter links via Bodner and Pompey). The team isn’t in a rush to make any moves, per Colangelo (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).
Meanwhile, Noel doubled down on his earlier comments this afternoon. While he stressed he isn’t unhappy in Philadelphia, the big man said he doesn’t see “any way of it working” when asked again about the center logjam (Twitter link via Bodner).
8:37am: With Joel Embiid poised to make his NBA debut this season, the Sixers are stacked at the center position, as Embiid joins Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor in the rotation. The logjam at the position has resulted in plenty of trade rumors involving Noel and Okafor this offseason, but the team has yet to make a move. And as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Noel is starting to publicly question when a move will happen.
“I think it’s just silly… this situation that we are in now with three starting centers,” Noel said. “With the departure of [former GM] Sam Hinkie, I would have figured that management would be able to get something done this summer. … I think something needs to happen.”
According to Noel, he’s not asking to be traded himself, or demanding that the Sixers make a move immediately. However, it sounds as if he views a deal as inevitable, since it doesn’t make sense for the club to play out the season with all three players, assuming they all stay healthy. According to Noel, it’s the equivalent of having “three starting quarterbacks.”
“I feel like it definitely needs to be figured out,” Noel said. “I think at the end of the day, again, you have three starting-caliber centers. And it’s just not going to work to anybody’s advantage having that on the same team. That’s how I’m looking at it. I’m not opposed to anything, but things need to be situated.”
Although GM Bryan Colangelo has suggested in the past that heading into the season with Okafor, Noel, and Embiid all on the roster isn’t necessarily ideal, the Sixers also like all three players and don’t want to sell one of them for below market value. Appearing on Adrian Wojnarowski’s podcast last week, Colangelo denied aggressively shopping Okafor and Noel, adding that the team’s desire to make a deal has been overstated and calling it a “high-class problem” to have three promising young centers.
Noel tells Pompey that he knows he “was shopped,” though that could be a question of semantics — it’s not clear whether the Sixers were instigating trade discussions or simply talking to teams that called to ask about their bigs. According to Pompey, Noel’s name has come up in trade talks with the Celtics, Suns, Hawks, and Rockets, but Philadelphia turned down multiple offers for the 22-year-old. Another source tells Pompey that the Sixers have also spoken to the Raptors and Spurs.
While it remains possible that the Sixers will make a move prior to the regular season, the club had been hoping to make it until at least December 15, per Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter links). That would give Okafor and Embiid time to prove they’re fully healthy, and it would allow players who signed new deals this offseason to become trade-eligible, opening the door for more possible scenarios.
- The four players the Suns added to their training camp roster today will probably end up in the D-League, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix reached agreements with undrafted rookies Gracin Bakumanya, Shaquille Harrison and Derrick Jones, along with returning D-League player Derek Cooke. Teams can assign up to four waived players to the D-League as long as they aren’t claimed by other organizations.
The Suns signed four players just before the start of training camp, the team announced today on its website. The addition of Gracin Bakumanya, Derek Cooke, Shaquille Harrison and Derrick Jones gives Phoenix 19 players under contract heading into the first day of camp on Monday.
Bakumanya, a 6’11” center, was an international early-entry candidate who wasn’t selected in June’s draft. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bakumanya played in France last season and was part of the Rockets’ summer league team.
A 6’9″ power forward, Cooke played for the Suns’ D-League affiliate in Bakersfield last season, averaging 4.8 points and 7.0 rebounds in 47 games. Cooke, a Wyoming alumnus, played for the Suns’ team in the summer league.
Harrison, formerly of Tulsa, also went undrafted this year. A 6-4 guard, he averaged 15.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists as a senior and earned All-American Athletic Conference second team honors the past two seasons.
Jones, a 6’7″ power forward, spent one season at UNLV before entering the draft. The 19-year-old averaged 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 30 games with the Runnin’ Rebels.
Former second-round pick Alec Brown signed a contract with the Suns last week, but was waived by the team just three days later, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Per RealGM, Brown signed with Phoenix on Wednesday and was cut by the team on Saturday.
Brown, 24, was selected by the Suns in the second round of the 2014 draft with the 50th overall pick, after having averaged 15.7 PPG and 5.7 RPG with a 42.0% three-point percentage in his senior year. With his NBA rights held by Phoenix, the former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay center agreed to play for the Suns’ D-League affiliate, the Bakersfield Jam, in his rookie year. Last season, he headed to Galicia to play for Rio Natura Monbus Obradoiro.
In order to continue to hold Brown’s NBA rights, the Suns tendered him a contract offer – presumably a one-year, non-guaranteed deal – earlier this month. Teams typically have understandings with players who they don’t intend to bring to camp that those tenders are only meant to retain their rights, and they usually go unsigned. However, it seems Brown decided to sign his offer even though he wasn’t in Phoenix’s plans.
It’s possible that the Suns were willing to give Brown the freedom to potentially join any NBA team, but if that had been the case, it would have been easier for Phoenix to simply renounce his rights. The fact that Brown signed the team’s tender offer, then was waived later in the week, suggests the Suns weren’t expecting him to sign it.
In any case, Brown has since cleared waivers, according to RealGM. That makes the big man an unrestricted NBA free agent, though he’s probably more likely to end up overseas or with a D-League squad for the 2016/17 season.
Suns forward P.J. Tucker may not be ready for opening night, after having undergone a successful microdiscectomy procedure on his lower back, the Suns announced today in a press release. The team expects Tucker to be sidelined for the next six to eight weeks.
Tucker, the longest-tenured Sun, appeared in all 82 games for Phoenix last year, starting 80 of them and averaging a career-high 31.0 minutes per contest. For the season, he averaged 8.0 PPG and 6.2 RPG, chipping in 2.2 APG and 1.3 SPG as well.
With Tucker sidelined, players like Devin Booker, Jared Dudley, and T.J. Warren could see a few extra minutes early in the season. However, unless the Suns expect the issue to linger well into the season, Tucker’s recovery shouldn’t have a real impact on the team’s 15-man roster decisions.
Earlier today, we heard that the Suns will add Mike Moser, Shaquille Harrison, and Derrick Jones Jr. to their training camp roster. Those three players will vie with John Jenkins and perhaps one or two other players for the 15th and final roster spot in Phoenix, though they’ll likely end up heading to the D-League’s Northern Arizona Suns.
The Suns are adding three players to their training camp roster, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic, who reports that Mike Moser, Shaquille Harrison, and Derrick Jones Jr. will join the team. It’s not clear whether or not any of the three players will receive any guaranteed money, but their deals won’t be fully guaranteed.
Moser, who played his college ball at UCLA, UNLV, and Oregon, went undrafted in 2014 and has been playing overseas since then, spending time with teams in Lithuania and Israel. In 2015/16, the 25-year-old power forward appeared in 19 games for Hapoel Holon, averaging 11.5 PPG and 7.9 RPG for the club.
Harrison, who turns 23 next month, went undrafted out of Tulsa earlier this year. A point guard, Harrison averaged 15.1 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 4.1 APG during his senior year, but failed to improve his outside shooting, making less than 20% of his three-point attempts.
Jones, a small forward out of UNLV, played just one college season before entering the NBA draft. He wasn’t selected in June, after a freshman year in which he averaged 10.9 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 28 games. Jones was ruled academically ineligible for the final four games of his first and only college season because his ACT results were called into question by the NCAA, which is believed to have contributed to his decision to go pro.
All three players will have a chance to earn a spot on the Suns’ roster, but Phoenix currently has 14 players on guaranteed contract, and incumbent guard John Jenkins likely has a leg up for the 15th spot. It’s possible that Moser, Harrison, and Jones will all ultimately land with the Northern Arizona Suns, Phoenix’s D-League affiliate.
Former center Mehmet Okur has found a new NBA home. However, he’ll be transitioning into a coaching role rather than making a comeback as a player. The Suns announced today in a press release that the Turkish big man will be joining the club’s staff as a player development coach.
Okur spent 10 seasons in the NBA, with the Pistons, Jazz, and Nets, before announcing his retirement in 2012 at age 33. For his career, Okur averaged 13.5 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 634 regular-season games. He spent six of his NBA seasons in Utah, playing alongside current Suns head coach Earl Watson near the end of his stint with the Jazz. Both Okur and Watson played for current Suns assistant Tyrone Corbin, who was Utah’s head coach at the time.
In addition to hiring Okur, the Suns also announced that they’ve added Jason Hervey to their staff as an advance scout. Hervey previously worked in the Timberwolves’ scouting department and in the Pistons’ basketball operations department.
- Devin Booker‘s great rookie season has created a logjam in the Suns‘ backcourt, according to Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com. Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight both see themselves as lead guards, and Booker has earned starters’ minutes with his performance in 2015/16. Bledsoe and Knight are signed for the next three seasons and Booker is under team control for the next four years, so Phoenix has time to work out the situation if all three players are willing to share minutes. Otherwise, Feldman suggests it’s a good situation for a trade.
With the free agent signing period winding down and teams looking ahead to the preseason, we at Hoops Rumors will be tracking the Salary Cap figures for each team around the league. These posts will be maintained throughout the season once financial data is reported. They will be located on the sidebar throughout the year, once all the teams’ cap figures have been relayed. The next franchise we’ll be looking at are the Phoenix Suns, who currently are well under the league’s salary cap of $94,143,000 for the 2016/17 season. You can always check RosterResource.com for up-to-date rosters for each franchise, with the Suns’ team page accessible here.
Here’s a breakdown of where the Suns currently stand financially:
- Eric Bledsoe —$14,000,000
- Brandon Knight —$12,606,250
- Tyson Chandler —$12,415,000
- Jared Dudley —$10,470,000
- P.J. Tucker —$5,300,000
- Alex Len —$4,823,621
- Dragan Bender —$4,276,320
- Leandro Barbosa —$4,000,000
- Marquese Chriss —$2,941,440
- Devin Booker —$2,223,600
- T.J. Warren —$2,128,920
- Archie Goodwin —$2,094,089
- Tyler Ulis —$918,369
- Alan Williams —$874,636
- Michael Beasley —$777,777 [Waived via Stretch Provision]
Total Guaranteed Salary= $79,850,022
- John Jenkins —$1,050,961 [Salary fully guaranteed on 1/10/17]
Total Non-Guaranteed Salary= $1,050,961
Eligible for Rookie Scale Extensions
Cash Sent Out Via Trade: $0 [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]
Cash Received Via Trade: $0 [Amount Remaining $3.5MM]
Payroll Exceptions Available
- Room Exception — $2,814,000
Total Projected Payroll: $80,900,983
Salary Cap: $94,143,000
Estimated Available Cap Space: $13,242,017
Luxury Tax Threshold: $113,287,000
Amount Below Luxury Tax: $32,386,017
The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.