Phoenix Suns Rumors

Rajon Rondo Rumors: Thursday

December 18 at 4:55pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Celtics appear to have turned up the heat on Rajon Rondo talks, as several reports from Wednesday detailed. We’ll round up today’s latest in this post, with any additional updates throughout the day added to the top:

  • According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter links), Dallas and Boston are progressing toward completion of a trade for Rondo tonight. The Mavs would send Wright, Crowder, Jameer Nelson, a future first round pick, and a future second-rounder to Boston, Stein adds.
  • The Rockets have dropped out of trade talks with the Celtics, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports tweets.
  • Rondo and his representatives have made it clear to Dallas that the All-Star guard would be inclined to sign a new deal with the team this summer, Wojnarowski adds.

4:25pm update:

  • The first-rounder Dallas is offering as part of its package for Rondo is its 2015 pick, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

3:58pm update:

  • While the Lakers are in the hunt for Rondo, there is a strong desire in Los Angeles’ front office not to give up too much now for him via a trade, and instead, they would prefer to pursue Rondo in free agency this summer, Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (Twitter link).
  • The Mavs are emerging as the frontrunner in pursuit of a deal to acquire Rondo, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).
  • Dallas is currently offering a package that includes Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder, and a first round pick, Wojnarowski adds.
  • The Lakers and the Knicks both declined to be a part of three-way deals that could have sent Rondo elsewhere, Wojnarowski tweets.
  • With Dallas in the lead for Rondo, the Rockets are “still fighting” to land Rondo, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).

2:31pm update:

  • The Lakers made an offer that included Jordan Hill and a first-round pick, if not more, for Rondo and Jeff Green, but the Celtics turned them down, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link). The Lakers would have indeed had to have added more salary to such a deal to make it work, and Hill isn’t trade-eligible until January 15th.

2:21pm update:

  • The Celtics are asking too much for Rondo for the Kings to engage in talks about him with Boston as they have in the past, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). A report late Wednesday seemed to indicate that Sacramento had spoken recently with the Celtics regarding the point guard, but it’s unclear just how long ago the teams last discussed the matter.

12:51pm update:

  • The Lakers have offered Steve Nash and multiple picks to the Celtics for Rondo, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com hears (Twitter link).

12:36pm update:

  • The Mavs are confident that they can convince Rondo to stay in Dallas for the long term if they convince the Celtics to trade him, sources tell Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link). That falls in line with Berger’s report from earlier that Rondo would be open to re-signing with the Mavs and Rockets if he were dealt to either team.

10:57am update:

  • The Rockets have been pursuing Rondo longer than the Mavs have, but Goran Dragic was more attractive to Houston than Rondo was over this summer, Stein notes (Twitter links). Rondo and Dragic both appear likely to hit free agency in the summer ahead.

8:59am update:

  • The Mavs have advanced to the offer stage and have made a pitch featuring Brandan Wright as the key piece, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. Dallas would have to add others to make the salaries match. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge has begun to move on from the idea of pairing Rondo with another superstar, spurring his apparent interest in gauging deals for Rondo, but the market for Rondo doesn’t appear as strong as Ainge had hoped, the Herald scribe writes. However, Ainge is in no rush to simply accept whatever he can find for Rondo just so the point guard doesn’t leave the C’s empty handed in the coming summer’s free agency, Bulpett adds.
  • Jae Crowder‘s name has also come up in talks, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • Rondo is open to re-signing with the Mavs and the Rockets if the Celtics trade him to either of those teams, a source tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. It’s “certain” that the Rockets will use their nearly $8.375MM trade exception by Friday, Berger writes, as they’ve reportedly been trying to do, and that stands to alter what Houston has to offer for the Celtics point guard.
  • The Lakers are among the teams to have chatted up the Celtics in recent days about a Rondo trade, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, seconding an earlier report that the Rockets had done the same. The Lakers and the Knicks are on the “periphery” of Rondo talks, and the Lakers are more of a free agency option than a potential trade destination, as Berger adds in his piece.
  • The Pacers have also asked the C’s about Rondo, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports.
  • Rondo reiterated his fondness for Boston late Wednesday to reporters, including Ben Rohrbach of WEEI.com“How many times do you want me to say it?” Rondo asked. “We discussed it on media day. My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization [haven't] changed, so … I’m enjoying life. You can’t win ‘em all, but these guys are funny, I’m young and I’m doing what I love to do. It’s a dream come true. I can’t be upset about anything, really.
  • Ainge was vague in addressing the latest Rondo chatter in this morning’s radio appearance with Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb on 98.5 The Sports Hub (audio link), as Rohrbach passes along (Twitter link). “I wouldn’t say it’s any different from any year,” Ainge said. “… We’re having a lot of discussions, just like we do every year.” 

Pacific Notes: Villanueva, Kings, Kobe, Suns

December 18 at 1:13pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Clippers have won 11 of their last 13 games and sit at 18-7, but they’d still be without home-court advantage in the first round if the playoffs started today. That helps explain why they reportedly remain interested in Corey Brewer, among others, given how high the bar is set in the Western Conference. Here’s more on the Clippers and their Pacific Division rivals:

  • Rick Carlisle‘s willingness to personally conduct workouts for Charlie Villanueva helped sell the veteran on signing with the Mavs this summer when the Clippers were also in hot pursuit, Villanueva said recently on Google Plus, as the Dallas Morning News transcribes. “Not to take nothing away from what the Clippers and Doc Rivers [are] doing, but it just felt right with Rick,” Villanueva said. “It was just a feeling. I went with a feeling in my gut and I feel like I made the right move.”
  • TNT’s Kenny Smith is among the names “floating around” for the Kings head coaching job, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com, though it’s unclear whether he’s truly a candidate. Smith had conversations with the Kings about a front office position in 2013, as he told Sam Amick of USA Today at that time.
  • Mitch Kupchak offered a little more wiggle room for the idea that Kobe Bryant would play past the expiration of his contract in 2016 when the Lakers GM spoke this week with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio (audio link), observes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Kupchak earlier this month appeared to dismiss the notion of a prolonged career for Bryant.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged that he and Suns owner Robert Sarver have had conversations about a new arena in Phoenix, observes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Sarver raised the issue publicly earlier this year, though Silver on Wednesday cautioned that he doesn’t believe there’s an “imminent” need for a new building, Coro notes.
  • The Warriors have recalled Ognjen Kuzmic from the D-League, the team announced. It was just a one-day stint for the center, who juxtaposed an impressive five blocks against a paltry three points in 28 minutes of action Wednesday for Santa Cruz.

Pacific Notes: Morris Twins, Thomas, Thompson

December 17 at 10:01am CST By Chuck Myron

The Suns gave Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris the chance to decide how to split $52MM in extension cash this fall, and Marcus tells Rolling Stone’s Jeff Allen that has no qualms about the uneven split that sets him up to make $5MM per year while his twin brother gets $8MM.

“Keef played really well last year. Coming off the bench he was a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate. So I think he deserved for his number to be higher than mine,” Marcus said. “He’s one of the great power forwards in the league. If he was by himself he would’ve gotten way more than that. I just wanted personally for his number to be higher. We look at it as a number for the household, you know? $13MM a year for our family. Whatever it broke it down to, we didn’t really care.”

The brothers took the long-term deals rather than go for a chance to hit free agency in 2016, when the salary cap is expected to shoot up, to give themselves a better chance to continue to play together, Allen writes. There’s more on the Suns amid the latest from the Pacific Division:

Beck’s Latest: Kings, Knicks, Suns, Nets, Rockets

December 15 at 2:57pm CST By Chuck Myron

There will be chatter aplenty between now and the February 19th trade deadline, but not all of it will truly constitute trade rumors, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck cautions. However, when multiple voices speak in unison, there’s usually a grain of truth involved, and Beck has plenty of tidbits he’s heard from a variety of sources around the league. We already passed along the news that the Pistons are putting Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings on the block, but that’s not the only item of note. We’ll pass along the rest of the highlights here and encourage you to read Beck’s full piece for more:

  • The Kings head coaching job is George Karl‘s if he wants it, as both Beck and Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee hear (Twitter links). Alvin Gentry and Mark Jackson are also “prime candidates,” according to Beck, though it’s not clear if the Kings are targeting either of them. Karl said to Tom Byrne of SiriusXM NBA Radio today that, “If they’re interested in me, I’m interested in them (Twitter link). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first identified Karl as the front-runner for the job, which Tyrone Corbin is expected to assume on an interim basis.
  • Executives around the league tell Beck that the Knicks are making all of their players except for Carmelo Anthony available, as Beck writes in his piece. A similar scenario is in place for New Orleans, where the Pelicans are open to trading everyone outside of Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik and Ryan Anderson, Beck hears.
  • Many executives expect the Suns to trade one of Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, according to Beck.
  • The Nets would probably only move one or two of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, team sources tell Beck. The Rockets asked Brooklyn about Andrei Kirilenko before the Nets traded him to the Sixers last week, Beck also hears.
  • There’s conflicting intel on the Nuggets, whom many executives view as top candidates to become sellers, while one Western Conference exec tells Beck that the Nuggets like their team and aren’t inclined to move anybody. In any case, there’s plenty of interest in Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov, executives have said to Beck.
  • Many executives and scouts identified Thaddeus Young, Mo Williams and David Lee among likely trade candidates, Beck writes.

Western Notes: Kings, Thomas, McGee, Grizzlies

December 15 at 11:30am CST By Chuck Myron

Improvements in the performance and temperament of DeMarcus Cousins and a flawed roster unfit for the style Kings management wants to play are among the reasons SB Nation’s Tom Ziller believes the Kings erred in their apparent decision to fire coach Michael Malone. Cousins was one of Malone’s most enthusiastic supporters, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Carl Landry has had high praise for Malone, too, according to Jones, who adds that Malone’s players have almost universally held the coach in high esteem (Twitter links). While we wait to see what happens next in Sacramento, here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Isaiah Thomas has fired agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports for reasons both personal and professional, sources tell Darren Heitner of the Sports Agent Blog (Twitter link). The agency confirmed the move, as Heitner notes via Twitter. The Suns guard intends to pick a new agent before the holidays, Heitner adds. Miller negotiated a new four-year, $27MM deal this summer for Thomas, the last pick in the 2011 draft.
  • JaVale McGee will miss a “significant” amount of time after aggravating a muscle near the tibia in which he suffered a stress fracture that kept him out most of last season, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said Sunday to reporters, including Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post“I heard six weeks at one point,” Shaw said. “I don’t know. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to coming back right now.”
  • Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger downplayed the notion that the team would make changes in spite of rumors indicating that the Cavs have their eyes on Tayshaun Prince and Kosta Koufos, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes. The Grizzlies are reportedly interested in Ray Allen, though there’s no indication that he would consider signing with Memphis, Tillery points out.

Western Notes: Suns, Wolves, Bryant, Kanter

December 14 at 9:15pm CST By Chris Crouse

The Suns can blame their lackluster defense for their current four game losing streak, opines Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. New addition Isaiah Thomas feels the team’s mentality is reason for the current slide. “We’re just not bringing it every night, plain and simple,” said Thomas. “I don’t know what it is but we’re not bringing it. We’re not playing with that attitude like,’We need this win.’ That’s got to change or we’re going to dig ourselves a hole.” Even with Phoenix’s current struggles, the team resides in eighth place in the Western Conference with a record of 12-12.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Kings assigned Eric Moreland to the Reno Bighorns of the D-League, according to the RealGM transactions log.  Moreland, who has been yo-yoed a bit this season, was with the Kings for just one day on this latest stint.
  • Although Wolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders doesn’t agree with Magic Johnson’s plea for the Lakers to lose in order to secure a high draft pick, he understands the benefit to the strategy, writes Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. “I’m never a proponent to just say tank games or lose games. You’re letting players off the hook. Depending on who you have out there, you might not have to worry about it. … I know what Magic is saying, and I’m sure it’s how most people look at it: If you’re not going to be a playoff team, you’re better off getting as high a (draft) pick as you can,” said Saunders during an interview with Rand.  Minnesota currently sits in last place in the Western Conference with a record of 5-17.
  • Kobe Bryant may be on the verge of a huge milestone, being only eight points behind Michael Jordan to become the NBA’s third all-time leading scorer, yet he had bigger plans for the season when he signed his two year $48.5MM extension, writes Mark Heisler of the Los Angeles Daily News. Heisler opines that Bryant’s quest for another title is a lost cause due to the team’s current roster and Bryant’s expected retirement at the end of the 2015/16 season. The team certainly thinks this contract will be the last for one of the greatest Lakers of all time. “All indications are to me, from him, that this is going to be it,” GM Mitch Kupchak said. “If somebody’s thinking of buying a ticket three years from now to see Kobe play, I would not do that.”
  • Center Enes Kanter is making huge strides this season for the Jazz, writes Jody Genessy of the Deseret News. Kanter, who is set to become a restricted free agent after the season, enjoys playing under first year head coach Quin Snyder.

Southeast Notes: Hawks, Bosh, Heat

December 10 at 6:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

The Hawks and Philips Arena have named Nzinga Shaw as the organization’s new Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO), the team announced. Shaw will be responsible for developing and embedding diversity and inclusion best practices throughout the organization. “I am excited to be a member of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena organization at such a pivotal time. My goal as the CDIO is to help our organization rebuild trust and partnership in the Atlanta community, emphasizing civility, sportsmanship, and human decency in an effort to ensure that everyone can be a fan of the team, attend home games, and so that we can serve as a model for inclusion in the NBA,” Shaw said. “More specifically, I will lead the charge of creating a strategic framework to help shift the culture so that we can create greater inclusion and engagement with all of our fans and stakeholders.”

Here’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • In an interview with Grantland’s Zach Lowe, Chris Bosh discussed a number of topics, including the teams that were courting him before he decided to re-sign with the Heat. When Bosh was asked if the offers he received from the Rockets, Suns, Lakers, and Nuggets had interested him, Bosh said, “It was just interesting to be wanted, after all that time of bashing, bashing, bashing. You kind of bask in it just a little bit. Like, ‘Hey, I’m still valuable. I can still play this game.'”
  • When Bosh was asked by Lowe about whether any other team besides Houston truly tempted him to sign with them, Bosh replied, “Yeah. They make you think for a minute. But I was interested in staying put. But at the time, it’s like, OK, wow. I never imagined this. You just think about it. But for the most part, I was focused on staying with Miami.”
  • With the Heat now third-worst in the NBA in field-goal percentage defense, some outsiders have questioned coach Erik Spoelstra’s defensive philosophy, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes. But one Miami player said privately that a huge problem is the inability of the team’s wing players (guards especially) to consistently prevent penetration, which then exposes the team’s lack of size on the interior. This defensive weakness on the wing is the primary reason that the Heat have been mentioned as being interested in acquiring Corey Brewer from the Wolves, who is known as a strong perimeter defender.

Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

December 3 at 2:15pm CST By Chuck Myron

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.

Signings

Extensions

Trades

  • Acquired Isaiah Thomas from the Kings in exchange for the rights to Alex Oriakhi. Thomas was signed-and-traded for four years, $27MM.

Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

  • T.J. Warren (Round 1, 14th overall). Signed via rookie scale exception to rookie scale contract.
  • Tyler Ennis (Round 1, 18th overall). Signed via rookie scale exception to rookie scale contract.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic (Round 1, 27th overall). Playing overseas
  • Alec Brown (Round 2, 50th overall). Unsigned.

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

When last season began, many around the league reportedly expected the Suns would trade Goran Dragic before the 2014 trade deadline, in part because the Suns had acquired Eric Bledsoe to play point guard and in part because the team appeared to be rebuilding. Dragic instead enjoyed a career year and Phoenix never came close to letting him go during a 48-win season. Unbowed, Suns GM Ryan McDonough tripled down on point guards to team with Dragic for 2014/15, re-signing Bledsoe, signing-and-trading for Isaiah Thomas, and drafting Tyler Ennis, a collection of moves that few would have predicted.

Eric Bledsoe (vertical)The Suns made it clear long before the offseason began that they intended to keep Bledsoe in restricted free agency, threatening to match any offers for the Rich Paul client. That, coupled with a knee injury that limited him to just 43 games last year in his first season as a full-time starter, appeared to have the effect of scaring away would-be suitors, and Phoenix took advantage, holding the line on a four-year, $48MM offer through much of the summer. Bledsoe’s camp stewed, and he even put pen to paper on a qualifying offer that would have allowed him to hit unrestricted free agency in 2015 had he ever sent that signed QO back to the Suns. Phoenix explored all of its options, including a proposal to the Wolves that would have sent Bledsoe to Minnesota in a sign-and-trade in exchange for Kevin Love. Minnesota, already on the verge of closing on its deal to send Love to the Cavs, didn’t bite, but the Wolves later tried to engage the Suns on a different sign-and-trade idea that would have given Bledsoe the max he was seeking. This time, Phoenix was the team saying no, and soon thereafter, the Suns finally said yes on a deal to re-sign the 24-year-old, who shelved the qualifying offer for good.

The sides met roughly in the middle, with Phoenix granting Bledsoe a five-year, $70MM deal with average annual salaries of $14MM, or $2MM greater than their initial offer but almost $3MM less than Bledsoe would have received in a five-year max deal. The Suns absorbed the risks that the small sample size of Bledsoe as a starter wasn’t misleading and that his knee trouble won’t become a long-term issue in exchange for cost certainty as the salary cap escalates drastically in the years to come. There are no options in the arrangement, meaning Bledsoe is locked in through 2018/19. The Suns will have an elite point guard at a relative discount if he continues to develop.

They’ll also have another potent force at the position through 2017/18 thanks to their deal with Thomas, who felt jilted after the Kings refused to make him an integral part of their plans even after he put up 20.3 points per game for Sacramento last season. Thomas isn’t seeing nearly as many opportunities to score in Phoenix, and he won’t as long as the Suns backcourt is as crowded as it is. He’ll nonetheless make an average of about $6.75MM a year, better than mid-level money, to play in tandem with Bledsoe, Dragic and others, and that amount was enough for Phoenix to ward off a handful of other teams with interest, reportedly including the Mavs, Pistons, Heat and Lakers.

The Thomas deal went down nearly three months before the Suns re-signed Bledsoe, suggesting that perhaps the Suns viewed Thomas as insurance in case they couldn’t come to an agreement with Bledsoe. Thomas would have been wading into cluttered waters either way, given the presence of Dragic and Ennis, but as it is, the ex-King is an odd fit whose salary could become a complication if the Suns intend to lure other free agents to the warmth of the desert in the next few years.

Still, the Suns demonstrated plenty of times this past summer that they’re not averse to paying the sort of middle-tier salaries that other front offices avoid in favor of maximum-salary stars and minimum-salary role players. They committed money in the neighborhood of the mid-level exception to re-sign P.J. Tucker, who proved his worth as an outside shooter and strong rebounder for his size. They also handed out average annual values of $8MM and $4MM, respectively, to twins Markieff and Marcus Morris in rookie scale extensions, ensuring the former lottery picks who present matchup problems along the front line continue to do so for Phoenix. Their games don’t resemble each other’s as much as their faces do, as Markieff provides the rebounding and Marcus the three-point shooting. Neither is an elite talent, though both thrived in reserve roles last season that will change with the absence of Channing Frye, who bolted for Orlando.

It’s somewhat difficult to see why the Suns were willing to spend so liberally for mid-tier players but weren’t able to bring back Frye, who reeled in $32MM over four years from the Magic. That sort of salary wouldn’t have been particularly troublesome for a player whose inside-out game proved as effective as ever last season, even if the Magic turned a few heads when they shelled out that much for him. That’s particularly so in light of Phoenix’s willingness to shell out an average of $12MM annually for the Morrises.

Anthony Tolliver came in as a much cheaper alternative, and while he fits the profile of a stretch four, he hasn’t been able to stay on the floor much for the Suns, who’ve given him just 11.4 minutes per game so far. Still, at $3MM this season and with the vast majority of his salary for next season non-guaranteed, Tolliver represents a trade chip if coach Jeff Hornacek can’t carve out a more consistent role for him.

Playing time has been difficult to come by for the team’s 2014 lottery pick, too. Combo forward T.J. Warren has seen action in only seven games so far, rarely getting the chance to display the knack for scoring he honed at N.C. State. He was a bit of a stretch as a lottery pick, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors noted in his Prospect Profile, but at No. 18, the Suns came away with a point guard who for much of last season seemed destined to become a top 10 pick. The fortunes of Ennis stumbled down the stretch just as his Syracuse team did, but he was nonetheless a coveted prospect, and the Raptors were particularly keen on drafting the native of Ontario before the Suns got in the way. Phoenix used its third first-round pick on draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic, who probably won’t be coming stateside until 2016, at the earliest.

The draft isn’t the only way the Suns used a European player to prepare for the future. The Suns brought Zoran Dragic from his Spanish team with a two-year guaranteed contract that will no doubt play on brother Goran Dragic’s mind next summer, when Goran has a $7.5MM player option. Goran Dragic unsurprisingly intends to turn that option down, and he seems prepared to test the market even though he’ll reportedly give the Suns the first swipe at him. The Rockets and Lakers have already been linked to him, and it appears that for a second straight summer, there will be some uncertainty about one of Phoenix’s elite point guards.

It’s nonetheless unlikely that those negotiations will drag on nearly as long as Bledsoe’s did, and the hard part of keeping the core of the roster intact is probably over for McDonough. Now, the even more difficult task of taking a playoff contender and turning it into a title contender looms. Regardless of how or whether the Suns get to that point under his leadership, this past offseason is further evidence that the GM is unafraid to cut an unconventional path to make it there.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

Pacific Notes: Frye, Ellington, Thomas

December 1 at 11:00am CST By Chuck Myron

Four Pacific Division teams have winning records, and even the one that doesn’t picked up a win Sunday, as the Lakers took advantage of a Raptors team missing DeMar DeRozan to score an overtime victory. Still, every win for the Lakers is in some way a gain for the Suns, too, since Phoenix receives L.A.’s first-round pick for 2015 if it falls out of the top five. The Lakers hold a tenuous one-game lead on the Wolves for the fifth spot in the Reverse Standings in what’s shaping up as one of the best draft position races of the season. There’s more on the Lakers and the Suns amid the latest from the Pacific:

  • A “theory floated out” suggested that the Suns were upset when Channing Frye turned down his player option this past summer and chose to instead go after marquee targets like LeBron James and Kevin Love, as John Denton of Magic.com writes. The Suns nonetheless reportedly made a push to re-sign Frye on the first day of free agency, though he’s pleased with his new home in Orlando, as Denton details. “It’s just a business part of it and it’s hard to separate business and personal stuff, especially with me being from [Phoenix] and loving the teammates here as much as I did. But at the end of the day, I know I made the right decision [signing with the Magic],’’ Frye said. “I made the right decision, not only for me, but for my family. The [Suns] organization did pretty dang well [when I was in Phoenix] and they are doing well without me. So no hard feelings. Of course, I wanted to continue to play with my [Suns] boys, but I’m finding new friends and working things out in Orlando.’’
  • The partial guarantee on Wayne Ellington‘s minimum salary jumps from $315,646 to $581,692 if the Lakers keep him through today, as our Schedule of Contract Guarantee Dates shows and as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders originally reported.
  • The up-tempo style of the Suns helped influence former Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas to choose to head to Phoenix this past summer, as he tells Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe“My teammates are good guys, the organization is great, and the style of play is perfect,” Thomas said. “It’s a big reason why I chose here because it favors my strengths, getting up and down, scoring and shooting at will, and using our strength, which is our guards.”

Western Notes: Curry, Davis, Chandler, Suns

November 29 at 6:43pm CST By Arthur Hill

Hornets fans may be suffering through a miserable start to the season, but they can at least dream about adding an all-star, writes Diamond Leung of the Oakland Tribune. The WarriorsStephen Curry, who grew up in North Carolina, said he sometimes entertains thoughts about returning to play for Charlotte. However, he cautioned, it’s probably only a fantasy. “It’s just a fun thought to have,” Curry said. “The Hornets name does mean a lot to my family, and obviously I’m starting a new thing with the Warriors. I definitely feel right at home here (with Golden State).” Curry is in the middle of a four-year, $44MM contract that runs through 2016/17.

There’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • One player who iisn’t thinking about going anywhere is the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, who tells Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports that he’s very happy where he is. “I love it here in New Orleans,” Davis said. “Great city. Great atmosphere. …We’re getting the fans back and New Orleans back buzzing for the Pelicans, a great organization. I love my team here.” That has to be comforting news for the Pelicans, as Davis, who has become one of the NBA’s top young players, is in the final year of his rookie contract, currently making $7MM. He will be eligible for a maximum extension next summer that could pay him about $90MM over five years.
  • The MavericksRaymond Felton is trying to quell rumors from the New York media that Tyson Chandler was a distraction during his final season with the Knicks, writes  Eddie Sefko of The Dallas News. “All that was said about him was just nonsense,” said Felton. “Tyson, by all means, I’ve never seen him be a problem in the locker room. He holds guys accountable and if you can’t accept that, then you’re not in it for the right reasons.” Felton and Chandler were traded from New York to Dallas in the offseason.
  • Numbers are down for the Suns‘ Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas, but Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders writes that they are accepting that as part of the three-guard rotation. “In the end,” Dragic said, “you have to sacrifice some minutes and some shots so the team can get better.”