Phoenix Suns

Suns Announce Earl Watson's Coaching Staff

And-Ones: Cap Room, L. Sanders, R. Smith, RFAs

The Sixers, Nuggets, Nets, Thunder, and Lakers have the most cap room still available, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. In addition to those five clubs, the Timberwolves, Suns, Jazz, Celtics, Pacers, and Bucks also have some wiggle room remaining. While some of those clubs could use that cap space to try to sign a free agent like J.R. Smith or Lance Stephenson, I’d expect many of those teams to stay well below the cap throughout the year. Remaining $10-15MM below the cap would allow a team to accommodate a mid-season salary dump, potentially picking up a draft pick or two in the process.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the NBA:

  • Larry Sanders, who has been working out and is considering an NBA comeback, may be willing to play for a minumum-salary contract, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (via Twitter). It remains to be seen whether a team will take a flier on the former Bucks big man.
  • Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders identifies a few players who will be under pressure to perform in 2016/17 due to big new free agent contracts or roles that changed as a result of other players’ deperatures.
  • Former Louisville guard Russ Smith, who appeared in 15 games for the Grizzlies last season, has accepted a $1MM contract offer from Galatasaray, according to international basketball reporter David Pick (via Twitter). Mete Budak of Eurohoops pegs the former second-round pick’s salary at $850K, so the Turkish team may have included some bonuses in the deal.
  • Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders explains why he thinks the NBA’s restricted free agency system has problems, and puts forth some suggestions to potentially improve it. Donatas Motiejunas of the Rockets is the only RFA still on the market this summer.

Stoudemire Wanted To Play One More Season With Suns

Amar’e Stoudemire, who announced his retirement earlier today, wanted to sign with the Suns and play one more season, but Phoenix had no interest, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 relays (via Twitter). The scribe also speculates this snub could be the reason the forward chose to retire as a Knick despite having his best seasons in a Suns uniform.

Western Notes: Rockets, Brown, Abrines, Suns

Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon are gambles for the Rockets, but they’re probably risks worth taking, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Both players are sharpshooters who should fit well into new coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, but both have an extensive history of injuries. Anderson missed a significant stretch last season with an MCL sprain in Feburary, and had a season-ending neck injury in 2014. Gordon has been through a long string of injuries that have limited him to an average of 53 games per season over the past four years. Assuming they are reasonably healthy next season, Blancarte expects them to be valuable additions because of their ability to stretch the defense and Gordon’s talent for driving to the basket.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • High-scoring European player Bobby Brown will attend training camp with the Rockets on a non-guaranteed deal, tweets international journalist David Pick. Brown spent time with the Kings, Clippers, Hornets and Wolves from 2008-10.
  • The signing of Alex Abrines has helped the Thunder begin to lift the dark cloud caused by Kevin Durant‘s departure, writes Bery Tramel of The Oklahoman. Abrines will give Oklahoma City a 3-point threat and may take Dion Waiters‘ spot as a reserve guard behind Russell Westbrook and Victor Oladipo. The biggest question on the European star is whether he can defend well enough to earn significant playing time.
  • The Suns‘ collection of young players has produced renewed optimism in Phoenix, according to Dan Bickley of The Arizona Republic. Part of the confidence came from GM Ryan McDonough’s draft-night deal with the Kings that gave Phoenix Marquese Chriss along with Dragan Bender. In addition, McDonough likes the commitment he is seeing from his veterans this summer. “I think we’ve seen a powerful change over the past few months in terms of players buying in,” he said. “Our guys like being around each other. They like being in Phoenix. A lot of our core players have basically made Phoenix their home and stick around all summer. It’s 115 degrees and those guys could be anywhere in the world. They choose to stay in Phoenix. And that says something.”

Williams Has Good Chance To Make Roster

  • Power forward Alan Williams has a strong chance to remain on the Suns’ roster, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports. The 23-year-old Williams appeared in 10 games with the Suns last season, averaging 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 6.8 minutes. Williams’ $874,636 contract for next season becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster through Sept. 1. “Chances are, he’ll have a spot,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough told Coro.

Thomas Robinson Could Be Forward Option

  • After opting out of his contract with the Nets last month, Thomas Robinson has drawn interest from the Pacers, Suns, and Hawks, league sources tell Amico. Robinson’s player option for 2016/17 was worth the minimum, so if he can land a guaranteed offer, it won’t have been a mistake to turn down that option.

Suns Will Hold On To Cap Room

  • The Suns don’t plan a major move even though they still have more than $13MM in cap space available and a roster spot to fill, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix is more than $3MM below the minimum team payroll of $84.73MM, which could help facilitate trades during the season. “I’d be surprised if we spent a lot of that cap space now or over the summertime,” said GM Ryan McDonough. “More likely, we’ll preserve most, if not all of it, and go into the season and look at either in-season signings or probably more likely in-season trades that are lopsided where we take back more money than we send out. There are a decent amount of advantages to operating as an under-the-cap team in terms of player aggregation and trades and things like that.”

Update On NBA Traded Player Exceptions

Traded player exceptions, which we’ve explained extensively in a Hoops Rumors glossary entry, are a tool that over-the-cap teams can use to complete trades. For mid-season deals, when most teams are at or over the salary cap, these exceptions are typically used and created frequently.

This summer, however, with the salary cap increasing by more than $24MM and most teams choosing to use cap room rather than staying over the cap, trade exceptions have become scarcer — and less useful. In order for teams to actually use their available cap room to take on salaries or to sign free agents, those exceptions must be renounced.

Heading into the 2016/17 league year, teams around the NBA held a total of 29 trade exceptions. After the new league year officially got underway and the moratorium ended, the majority of those TPEs were lost. In total, 22 of the 29 previously-existing traded player exceptions were renounced or expired.

Earlier this month, only the Clippers, Cavaliers, and Thunder still held any TPEs, with Cleveland hanging onto five of them, and L.A. and OKC holding one apiece. Over the last week or so, a few new trade exceptions have been created, but with so many teams still under the cap, the full list is much shorter than it has been in past years.

Here’s a breakdown of the newly-created TPEs:

Charlotte Hornets

Amount: $1,666,470
Expires: 7/12/17
How it was created: When the Grizzlies signed Troy Daniels away from the Hornets, they did so in a sign-and-trade deal, allowing Charlotte to create a TPE for half of Daniels’ $3,332,940 salary.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Amount: $1,333,420
Expires: 7/15/17
How it was created: The Cavaliers created this TPE worth Sasha Kaun‘s 2016/17 salary when they sent him to Philadelphia without receiving any NBA salary in return.

(Note: The Cavaliers also created a $4,803,750 trade exception by signing-and-trading Matthew Dellavedova to the Bucks, but immediately used that exception to acquire Mike Dunleavy.)

Los Angeles Clippers

Amount: $1,209,600
Expires: 7/15/17
How it was created: When the Clippers acquired Devyn Marble from the Magic for C.J. Wilcox, the team actually used its old $947,276 TPE (acquired in January’s Josh Smith trade) to absorb Marble’s salary, then created a new exception worth Wilcox’s salary.

The traded player exceptions listed above have been added to our full breakdown of the TPEs available around the league. That list no longer includes the $2,038,206 exception the Thunder created last summer when they sent Perry Jones III to the Celtics — that TPE expired on July 14.

Our full list of TPEs also no longer features the following exceptions, all of which were renounced earlier this month when these teams went under the cap (expiry date listed in parentheses):

  • Atlanta Hawks: $947,276 (2/18/17)
  • Brooklyn Nets: $2,170,465 (7/13/16)
  • Chicago Bulls: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
  • Chicago Bulls: $947,276 (6/22/17)
  • Denver Nuggets: $135,000 (2/18/17)
  • Detroit Pistons: $6,270,000 (6/29/17)
  • Golden State Warriors: $5,387,825 (7/27/16)
  • Golden State Warriors: $3,197,170 (7/31/16)
  • Memphis Grizzlies: $450,000 (2/18/17)
  • Miami Heat: $1,706,250 (7/27/16)
  • Miami Heat: $1,294,440 (7/27/16)
  • Miami Heat: $2,129,535 (11/10/16)
  • Miami Heat: $2,145,060 (2/16/17)
  • Miami Heat: $845,059 (2/18/17)
  • Miami Heat: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $5,200,000 (7/9/16)
  • Milwaukee Bucks: $4,250,000 (7/9/16)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: $5,000,000 (7/12/16)
  • New Orleans Pelicans: $102,217 (12/24/16)
  • New York Knicks: $1,572,360 (6/22/17)
  • Phoenix Suns: $578,651 (2/18/17)

Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Suns Sign Leandro Barbosa

JULY 19, 2:01pm: The Suns have officially signed Barbosa, the team announced today (via Twitter).

JULY 6, 11:00pm: The deal includes a team option on the second year, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweets.

10:54pm: The Suns have agreed to a deal with unrestricted free agent Leandro Barbosa, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (via Twitter). The pact is worth $8MM over two-years, Wojnarowski adds. It’s unknown if the deal includes any options, be it player or team.

The 33-year-old makes his return to Phoenix, where he spent the first seven years of his career after being selected No. 28 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. The veteran also made a brief 20-game pit stop with the franchise during the 2013/14 campaign.

Barbosa was a member of the Western Conference champion Warriors this past season, appearing in 68 games and averaging 6.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 15.9 minutes per contest. He shot .462/.355/.839 from the field on the year.

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