Phoenix Suns

Trail Blazers Eye Tyson Chandler

Consider the Trail Blazers one team that could make a push for Suns center Tyson Chandler, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports. The 34-year-old has quietly put forth a 2016/17 in line with some of the best seasons from his prime.

In 27.3 minutes per game for Phoenix, Chandler is averaging 11.6 rebounds per game, his highest such total since averaging 11.7 for the Pelicans in 2007/08. His presence as a defensive stopper would be tremendously valuable for a Trail Blazers team that has struggled on that side of the ball. Earlier this week, John Schuhmann of NBA.com wrote about Portland’s “disastrous” defense.

Owed $12.4MM this season and signed through the the 2018/19 campaign, the 16-year-veteran is a stark contrast from the predominantly young and raw players that make up the Suns roster.  Perhaps it’s for that reason that the franchise has been so aggressively showcasing Chandler while they stumble out the gates to a 12 and 25 record.

Portland may not be much higher in the win column, but the team already boasts a core of solid veterans coming off of three consecutive postseason appearances and Chandler could very well be a difference maker in the second half of the season.

Suns Waive John Jenkins

The Suns have waived John Jenkins, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Twitter link). The move will bring the team’s roster count to 14 players.

Jenkins’ minimum salary contract was partially guaranteed and this year’s salary would have became fully guaranteed had he remained on the roster through Saturday. He hasn’t seen much playing time for the Suns this season, scoring a total of seven points in 13 minutes of action.

Phoenix had claimed Jenkins off waivers after the Mavericks let the shooting guard go during the middle of last season. He was originally drafted by the Hawks with the No.23 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Suns Notes: Knight, Barbosa, Ulis

It’s looking more likely that the Suns will trade away Brandon Knight before the deadline, Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic writes. Knight has seen his playing time decreased because of injuries as well as his defensive mistakes. Boivin wonders if the combo guard’s frustration with his role is causing him to put forth lackluster effort on the defensive end.

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns should prioritize developing their young talent rather than focusing on winning games, Boivin argues in the same piece. The scribe believes coach Earl Watson should increase the minutes for the team’s prospects and reduce the minutes of its veterans.
  • Free agent addition Leandro Barbosa is giving the Suns a nice spark off the bench and the team is thrilled about the 34-year-old’s production, as Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic relays. “He’s a professional scorer,” Watson said. “He’s one of the best to do it since I’ve been in the league, and he’s done it for a long time at a high level. He has three things that he’s mastered offensively, and you can’t take away all three in one possession.”
  • Rookie Tyler Ulis is making the most of his playing time on the Suns, Haller writes in a separate piece. The play of Ulis could make it easier for the team to deal Knight.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/4/17

Here are Wednesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

4:25pm:

  • The Lakers have re-assigned rookie big man Ivica Zubac to the D-League (Twitter link). Zubac will be in uniform for the L.A. D-Fenders tomorrow night for the team’s game against Iowa.
  • The Pistons officially announced in a press release this afternoon that they’ve sent Henry Ellenson to the Grand Rapids Drive. As Keith Langlois of Pistons.com tweets, fellow rookie Michael Gbinije likely would’ve joined him, but he’s battling a forearm injury.
  • Forward Troy Williams has been recalled by the Grizzlies from his assignment with the Iowa Energy, per a team release. Williams averaged 24.3 PPG in three games during his D-League stint, including 32 in 28 minutes on December 27.

2:28pm:

  • Richaun Holmes, who has completed and passed all the elements of the NBA’s concussion protocol, has been assigned to the D-League by the Sixers, the team announced today in a press release. While some NBADL rehab assignments don’t include game action, the Sixers suggest that Holmes is expected to suit up tonight for the Delaware 87ers.

12:55pm:

  • A pair of Nuggets rookies, Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez, have been assigned to the D-League, according to a press release. Despite having a fairly young roster, Denver hasn’t used the D-League much this season, since the team doesn’t have its own affiliate. Beasley and Hernangomez will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s NBADL squad.
  • The Raptors have sent Bruno Caboclo and Fred VanVleet back to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). The duo has bounced back and forth between the NBA and NBADL all season — it’s the 13th D-League assignment for Caboclo and the ninth for VanVleet.
  • Maurice Ndour is headed to the D-League, having been assigned to Westchester today by the Knicks (Twitter link). New York’s D-League affiliate is in action tonight against Grand Rapids, and Ndour is expected to suit up for the game.
  • The Suns have assigned rookie forward Derrick Jones to the D-League, the team announced today (Twitter link). It’s the fourth NBADL assignment of the season for Jones, who has averaged 14.0 PPG and 6.1 RPG in 14 games for Northern Arizona.

Knicks View P.J. Tucker As Potential Trade Target

2:31pm: Although the Knicks’ front office has its eye on Tucker, no trade discussions between the two teams have taken place at this point, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).

8:54am: As they continue attempting to address their defensive issues, the Knicks have identified a Suns wing player as a potential trade target. According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, New York’s front office has been eyeing P.J. Tucker, labeling him as a player the team may pursue before this year’s trade deadline.

Tucker, 31, has played for Phoenix since returning from overseas in 2012, appearing in 356 games for the Suns over the last five seasons. Having averaged 30+ minutes per game in each of the last three seasons, Tucker has seen his playing time reduced a little this year (27.1 MPG) and is coming off the bench more often than he’s starting for the first time since his return to the NBA. In 36 games this season, he has recorded 6.3 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.3 SPG.

As our list of 2017 free agents by team shows, Tucker is the only Suns player currently on track for unrestricted free agency this summer. Unless the club is fairly confident he’ll be re-signed in July, it could make sense for Phoenix to gauge the market for him in the coming weeks and get an asset or two in return.

It’s not clear what the Knicks would give up if they put a formal offer on the table for Tucker. As Begley observes, the club has a few intriguing young players, like Willy Hernangomez, Kyle O’Quinn, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas. Draft picks could also be in play, though Begley notes that Phil Jackson and the Knicks’ front office were unwilling to part with future first-rounders last season.

Tucker is earning a fairly modest $5.3MM salary in 2016/17, so if the Knicks were to make a move for him, they’d only have to send out about $3.5MM to accommodate a deal under cap rules.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 12/31/16

Here are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Magic assigned center Stephen Zimmerman to the Erie BayHawks, the team tweets. The 7’0” center has appeared in eight games this season with the Magic, averaging 1.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 4.0 minutes. This is his third assignment to the BayHawks. He’s averaged 17.3 points, 13.5 rebounds 1.5 blocks in 34.2 minutes over six games with them.
  • The Suns recalled forward Derrick Jones Jr. from the Northern Arizona Suns, eight days after he was assigned to the D-League for the third time, the team tweets (Twitter link). He has averaged 14.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 32.1 minutes over 14 games with Northern Arizona.
  • The Knicks recalled guard Ron Baker and center Marshall Plumlee and they will rejoin the team in Houston, according to their Twitter feed. They were assigned to the Westchester Knicks on Friday and started their game against Fort Wayne. Baker had nine points, four assists and four steals in 30 minutes, while Plumlee posted 16 points and six rebounds in the same amount of action.
  • The Hornets recalled guard Aaron Harrison and forward Christian Wood from the Greensboro Swarm, they announced in a press release.  Harrison has appeared in 13 Swarm games over three assignments, recording averages of 20.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 36.5 minutes per game. Wood has appeared in 11 Swarm games during two D-League stints, averaging 17.2 points, 9.3 boards and 2.1 blocks in 29.3 minutes.
  • The Lakers recalled Ivica Zubac from the D-Fenders, one day after assigning him to the D-League, Harrison Faigen of SB Nation tweets. The 7’1” center had 17 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes against Northern Arizona on Friday.
  • The Jazz recalled forward Joel Bolomboy after he appeared in one game with the Salt Lake City Stars during his latest assignment. the team announced in a press release. He recorded 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes against Sioux Falls on Friday.

Knight Likely To Be Traded; Dudley Not Playing

The Suns would like to trade Brandon Knight before the February 23rd deadline, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The sixth-year guard has been the odd man out in the crowded Phoenix backcourt, starting just four games this season. He played only nine minutes in Thursday’s win over Toronto, fewer than rookie Tyler Ulis. Knight was acquired at the trade deadline in 2015 as part of a three-team deal with the Bucks and Sixers. He became an immediate starter, but a sports hernia limited him to 52 games last season and he was eclipsed in the rotation by Devin Booker. Knight still has three seasons and nearly $44MM left on his contract.

  • The Suns are giving more playing time to rookie forward Dragan Bender, which has resulted in fewer minutes for Jared Dudley, notes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. The 31-year-old swingman, who rejoined Phoenix on a three-year, $30MM deal this summer, sat out his third straight game Thursday night. “It’s the NBA,” coach Earl Watson said when asked about Dudley. “Everyone’s all right. We all live a nice life.” Dudley is averaging 8.2 points through 29 games and is shooting 44.4% from 3-point range.

And-Ones: Booker, Embiid, Karl

The Nets landed Trevor Booker during the offseason by selling him on the opportunity to expand his role, as he tells Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (video link). Booker said the Hornets, Magic, Suns, Mavericks and Wolves were among the teams to reach out to him, but his relationship with GM Sean Marks made him feel comfortable joining Brooklyn.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Joe Harris is enjoying the opportunity to play for the Nets, as he tells Scotto in a separate piece (video link). Harris, who signed with Brooklyn on a two-year deal during the offseason, is seeing a career-high 23.5 minutes per game this season.
  • Joel Embiid is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award, but it’s partly due to the struggles of the 2016 rookie class, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders details. Kennedy notes that there isn’t a single 2016 draft pick who is averaging at least 10.0 points per game.
  • In his book, George Karl claims that the NBA has a steroid issue, suggesting that performance-enhancers are the reason that players have longer careers in today’s NBA, as Dan Feldman of NBC Sports relays. It’s worth noting that in the book, Karl doesn’t present specific evidence of any particular player using PEDs nor does the former coach even acknowledge the advances in league-approved medicine or the increased awareness in players’ dietary needs, both of which have been proven to increase the length of an average career.

Texas Notes: Bogut, Barea, Nene, Ennis

Mavericks center Andrew Bogut, who has been sidelined since December 5th with a bone bruise on his right knee, could be back on the court this week, tweets Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com. Coach Rick Carlisle announced the news today on Bogut, who started 16 games before the injury. The 32-year-old, who was acquired in a trade from Golden State to sure up the Mavericks’ interior defense, is averaging 3.8 points and 10.4 rebounds per night. He was considered a prime candidate to be traded again when Dallas was at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but Mavericks may consider keeping him as they inch back toward playoff contention. The way he and the team play between now and the February 23rd trade deadline could determine how long he stays in Dallas.

There’s more basketball news out of Texas:

  • Carlisle also indicated good news might be coming about J.J. Barea, according to Sneed (Twitter link). The backup guard, who has been out with a muscle strain in his left leg, still has no timetable to return, but his coach says it’s “on the shorter end of things.” Barea has only been available for 11 games this season.
  • The Rockets‘ plan for veteran center Nene involves more games and fewer minutes, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. With starting center Clint Capela out a month or more with a fracture in his left fibula, Houston needs Nene to play in back-to-back games. The Rockets play the Suns tonight and the Mavericks on Tuesday, and coach Mike D’Antoni plans to limit him to fewer than 20 minutes in the second game. “I think it’s working out,” D’Antoni said. “I talked to him [Monday]. He said he’s feeling great. I would like to avoid some back-to-backs, but we can’t right now. The sooner we get Clint back the better.”
  • Tyler Ennis hasn’t played much since coming to Houston in a September trade, but he is hoping to be part of the Canadian National Team, Feigen relays in a separate story. Ennis met tonight with Suns assistant Jay Triano, who serves as Canada’s coach, to discuss his future role with the squad. “I’ve always played for the national team,” Ennis said. “With the Canadian guys we have in the NBA now, there’s more interest in playing. Hopefully, one summer, we’ll get everybody to come and play. We’re all pretty young.”

Kings Have Interest In Brandon Knight

  • The Kings have been talking to the Suns about a possible deal for Brandon Knight for several months, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Appearing on a podcast with Zach Lowe, Windhorst said Sacramento is looking for help at point guard and has been talking to Phoenix about Knight since the summer. Knight still has three seasons and nearly $44MM left on his current deal.

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