Phoenix Suns

Henry Sims, Lorenzo Brown Join Pistons D-League

The D-League affiliate of the Pistons has added center Henry Sims and point guard Lorenzo Brown to the roster, Peter J. Wallner of reports. The Grand Rapids Drive already held Brown’s D-League rights, so they signed him directly. Sims signed with the D-League at large and was subject to the league’s waiver process, and Grand Rapids filed a successful claim that allowed the team to acquire the big man. Both players are still free to sign with any NBA team that expresses interest this season.

Brown, 25, has made a total of 55 appearances in two NBA seasons, averaging 3.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists to go along with a slash line of .375/.155/.656. He was in training camp with the Timberwolves this year, but Minnesota waived him prior to the regular season. Brown’s deal with the Wolves included a $75K partial guarantee, giving the player some breathing room financially this season.

Sims, who is also 25, made 73 appearances for the Sixers last season, including 32 starts. He averaged 8.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.1 assists in 19.2 minutes per contest. His career numbers through three NBA campaigns are 7.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG to go along with a slash line of .475/.174/.760. Philadelphia didn’t tender a qualifying offer to the big man this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent. The big man, who was in Suns camp on a non-guaranteed contract, was waived during the preseason.

Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Whiteside, Durant

Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis arrived in the NBA with questions regarding whether or not his thin frame could endure the nightly beatings administered by the league’s other big men, but the Latvian has shown that he can hold his own thus far, Ian Begley of writes. “As you can see, I’m still skinny, I’m still light. But I fight hard and I can’t back down to anybody,” said Porzingis. “So that’s been my game; a lot of people didn’t know my game. So that’s why they thought, ‘Skinny white guy, he’s not going to be physical.’ But I still fight for those rebounds and try to do my job on the court.

While the 20-year-old has gotten off to a solid start, averaging 11.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest, the coaching staff cautions against placing too high an expectation on what Porzingis will be able to accomplish this season, Begley relays. “I don’t think we could anticipate that he’d be as good as he’s been. There probably will be a stretch for two weeks where he looks bad and everybody is questioning whether we should have drafted him and all the stuff that comes with that,” coach Derek Fisher said. “He’s a rookie and there’s a lot to learn. His ceiling is a long way from wherever he is now.

Here’s more from out of the Eastern Conference:

  • The Celtics have once again assigned swingman James Young and power forward Jordan Mickey to the Maine Red Claws, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. This will mark Young’s fourth jaunt to Maine of the young season, and Mickey’s third, as our tracker shows.
  • One executive who spoke with Chris Mannix of said he wouldn’t sign 2016 free agent Hassan Whiteside for more than $10MM a year, which Mannix connects to the Heat big man’s track record of maturity issues.
  • Kevin Durant‘s relationship with the Wizards and their fanbase will never quite be the same after making what could be his last appearance at the Verizon Center as a visiting player on Tuesday night, writes Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post. If Durant signs with Washington next offseason when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, he will arrive with a massive set of expectations attached. But if he instead elects not to play for his hometown squad, there will be a palpable sense of disappointment present every time he plays in D.C., Steinberg opines.
  • Bucks point guard Tyler Ennis credits his time spent with the Suns during the early half of the 2014/15 season for helping his development as a player along, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel writes. “In the long run, it helped me a lot,” Ennis said of his time in Phoenix. “Competing against those guys [Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas] in practice is not something every rookie gets to do. I learned a lot from them.” The second year player has been forced into a starting role for Milwaukee thanks to an injury to Michael Carter-Williams.

Western Notes: Dragic, Rondo, Suns, Fredette

Goran Dragic remarked around the time of his trade to Miami that he saw the Lakers as a “perfect fit,” but while the Lakers were initially likely to pursue him in free agency, they abandoned the idea when they became enamored with D’Angelo Russell and were optimistic about signing a big man, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Dragic, despite his comment about the Lakers, seemed likely to re-sign with Miami in the months prior to his free agency, and he re-upped with the Heat in July. See more from around the Western Conference:

Atlantic Notes: Stauskas, Wood, Porzingis

The Sixers may have taken Nik Stauskas with their second first-rounder during the 2014 draft if the sharpshooter was there, but the team is happy to have the guard on the roster now, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reports (Twitter links). “He’s been good. I think his upside is high. I think the bounce and the athleticism has always intrigued us,” coach Brett Brown said. Philadelphia instead took Elfrid Payton with the No. 10 overall pick and traded him to Orlando for the rights to Dario Saric and a future first-rounder.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Prior to the 2015 draft, Christian Wood believed he could have been selected as high as No. 13 by the Suns and that he wouldn’t fall past the Grizzlies at No. 25, but the forward understands why that didn’t happen, Jake Fischer of writes. “Memphis told me how much they liked me,” Wood said. “A lot of NBA teams didn’t want to take the risk. Some teams thought I was lazy, some teams thought I didn’t give effort 100% all of the time. I think that played a big part into it.” Wood signed a four-year, partially guaranteed deal with the Sixers before the season started.
  • The Nets will send their first round pick this season to the Celtics as a result of the Kevin Garnett trade and with the team struggling so far, the pick is looking like it will be a top selection. While sending that kind of asset to a division rival isn’t ideal, Brooklyn shouldn’t sacrifice any more future assets in order to improve the team this season and therefore send a worse asset to Boston, Tim Bontemps of the New York Post opines. Bontemps notes that Brooklyn could have close to $40MM in cap space next summer, so while the team may endure a down season, it’ll have an opportunity to make a quick turnaround.
  • Kristaps Porzingis has exceeded expectations for the Knicks and some around the league are comparing him to Dirk Nowitzki, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. “That kid is going to be a heck of a player,’’ said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who coached Nowitzki for three seasons. “He’s long — nowhere near Dirk yet. But he’s Dirk-like from his length, his range with his 3-point shot. He’s fearless and he’s long and a rebounder. He rebounds with his length. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with in this league for a long time.’’

Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

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.



  • None


Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

Camp Invitees

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

The Suns didn’t land LaMarcus Aldridge, but they did pull off a surprise that helped put them in play for Aldridge in the first place. They convinced Tyson Chandler to head to Phoenix, enticing him with a four-year deal that will pay him $13.585MM in 2018/19, when he’ll be 36. It’s a risky financial commitment to a center whose health made the Thunder skittish enough to void a trade for him more than six years ago, but he’s been relatively injury-free since. Last season he averaged a double-double for just the third time in his career, a sign that he’s not yet in decline. He also comes in as a respected leader, and former No. 5 overall pick Alex Len, whom Chandler displaced from the starting lineup, has expressed on multiple occasions that he’s on board with the move and eager to learn from Chandler’s mentorship. Chandler’s presence helped Phoenix’s case for Aldridge, who admires the 14-year veteran.

The Chandler signing nonetheless presents a conundrum for the team going forward, with Len becoming eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer and the end of his contract coinciding with the midpoint of Chandler’s. Big men with promise have always been well-compensated when they’ve hit NBA free agency, and unless Len is particularly disappointing over the next year or two, the Suns will probably have to give him at least as much as they’re giving Chandler. Dave King of SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun suggested to us that the best-case scenario involves Len eventually taking over the starting job from Chandler, and King points out that the projected rises in the salary cap will make Chandler’s contract count for a lower percentage of the cap than it does now. Still, the Suns could end up with a hefty amount of money committed to non-stars at the center position.

A more immediate concern is at power forward, where the true feelings of Markieff Morris are hard to discern. He said in early September that “My future will not be in Phoenix,” a few weeks after publicly demanding to be traded. When training camp began at end of September, his rhetoric had turned 180 degrees, and he’s continued along that tack ever since, seemingly ready to continue with the Suns and without his brother. However, Marcus Morris, whose trade to the Pistons touched off the controversy, raised serious questions Friday about whether his brother truly does want to remain in Phoenix.

It seems as though the Suns could have averted all of this had they not pulled the trigger on the move before receiving any commitment from Aldridge that he would sign into the resulting cap space. However, GM Ryan McDonough said he would have executed the trade, which shipped out Morris along with Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger, even if he knew Aldridge wasn’t going to come to Phoenix. Indeed, the move didn’t create enough room by itself for the team to accommodate the max deal it clearly would have taken to sign Aldridge. It opens playing time at small forward for T.J. Warren, the 14th overall pick from 2014, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic pointed out to us, and it freed the Suns of their obligation to Granger, whom the Pistons waived. Still, it cost the team Bullock, the 25th overall pick from 2013 who had an impressive preseason in Detroit, and it angered, if only temporarily, a key player under contract through 2018/19. Time will tell, but a strong chance exists that the cost of the trade will ultimately outweigh the benefit.

Likewise, it’s too early to judge Phoenix’s decision in February to offload a package that included a protected first-rounder from the Lakers and 2014 18th overall pick Tyler Ennis in exchange for Brandon Knight, but the Suns did what they had to do this summer to protect that investment, coming to terms with Knight on a five-year, $70MM deal as soon as they were allowed, and perhaps even sooner. Knight only played 11 games for the Suns the trade, but the Suns nonetheless saw fit to secure him for the long term at the same rate they committed to Bledsoe last year. Bledsoe’s name emerged in trade rumors amid conflicting reports, but it never appeared as though any move was ever close, and the Suns seem eager to duplicate the success they had with Bledsoe and Goran Dragic as dual point guards in 2013/14. Knight’s game can fit with Bledsoe’s, as Troy Tauscher of Fansided’s Valley of the Suns examined in an interview with Hoops Rumors, so it would appear to be Jeff Hornacek‘s responsibility to make that happen.

Hornacek must do so without the benefit of contractual security beyond this season, since the Suns didn’t pick up his 2016/17 team option or sign him to an extension. Steve Kauffman, Hornacek’s agent, reportedly engaged in an odd dialogue on an Iowa State fan message board denying that Hornacek turned down an opportunity to interview for the school’s coaching job, though Hornacek, who played at Iowa State, had made it seem as though he remains committed to the Suns. Regardless, the future is in doubt for Hornacek, who burst onto the scene with a 48-win season in 2013/14, his first as an NBA head coach.

The pressure is also on Mirza Teletovic, who’s started slowly on his one-year deal, a contract he chose over reported multiyear offers from the Nets, Kings and Bucks. The 30-year-old entered the season as the team’s second-best power forward, making his difficulties especially troublesome for Phoenix, given the question marks about whether Morris, the starter at the position, truly wants to stick around. Sonny Weems, another offseason signee, isn’t delivering either, at least offensively. Weems has pointed to his defense and decision-making as qualities that make up for that, but Hornacek elected not to take him off the bench in Sunday’s game. Teletovic only saw six minutes in that contest.

Devin Booker isn’t seeing much playing time, either, but that’s not a surprise for the still-developing shooting guard who just turned 19 two weeks ago. This year’s 13th overall pick can shoot as well as just about anyone, having nailed 41.1% of his 3-pointers at Kentucky last season and 40% during summer league play this past July. It’s the rest of his game, particularly his ability to drive to the basket and play defense, that needs attention, as Charlie Adams of Hoops Rumors wrote, and a fair chance exists that he’ll be honing those skills on D-League assignment this season.

Booker, unlike Hornacek, Teletovic and Weems, isn’t under immediate contractual pressure to perform, and that’s the case for many in Phoenix, where expectations beyond simply grabbing the eighth playoff spot are low. The Aldridge chase shows the Suns have long-term goals that transcend what they’ll reasonably be able to accomplish this season, so McDonough, with three extra first-round picks set to come to Phoenix between now and 2021, is surely eyeing the future. Owner Robert Sarver, seemingly more willing to spend than in the past, is nonetheless itching to return to the postseason, and, if Aldridge’s interest is any indication, maintaining a strong supporting cast will be critical if the team is to succeed in landing a marquee free agent. This season’s Suns need not contend, but they have to compete.

Eddie Scarito contributed to this post. The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of it.

Top Bloggers: Troy Tauscher On The Suns

Anyone can have a blog about an NBA team, but some set themselves apart from the rest with the dedication and valuable insight they bring to their craft. We’ll be sharing some knowledge from these dialed-in writers on Hoops Rumors in a new feature called Top Bloggers. As with The Beat, our ongoing series of interviews with NBA beat writers, it’s part of an effort to bring Hoops Rumors readers ever closer to the pulse of the teams they follow. Last time, we spoke with Philip Rossman-Reich, who is the Managing Editor of Fansided’s Orlando Magic Daily. Click here to see the entire Top Bloggers series.

Next up is Troy Tauscher, who is a writer for Fansided’s Valley Of The SunsYou can follow Troy on Twitter at @tt_sports and click here to check out his stories.

Hoops Rumors: Publicly, it seems that Markieff Morris has backed down from his trade demands or, at the very least, he’s not saying much about it.  Do you think this is the last we’ll hear about Morris being dissatisfied in Phoenix? How do you see everything playing out? (Note: We asked this question before the latest comments from Marcus Morris).

Troy Tauscher: It’s really hard to write this paragraph given Markieff Morris’ rough start. Anyway, I’ve maintained that he’s still upset with Phoenix. However, I also think he values winning and playing well, and is truly prepared to make that his priority. The market for him isn’t favorable, so I don’t think he gets traded this season. If the Suns can eventually package him with other assets for a deal that improves the team, I don’t think they hesitate and I don’t think Morris will be upset that he’s leaving.

Hoops Rumors: The Suns didn’t land LaMarcus Aldridge, but they did add Tyson Chandler and Mirza Teletovic. What did you like about the Suns’ offseason? Were there any additional moves that you wish they made?

Troy Tauscher: I liked both signings, even though Teletovic can’t hit a shot to save his life right now. I also really liked the Devin Booker pick. If I could add one thing, I would have signed a backup point guard who can manage the offense but doesn’t demand time. Ronnie Price is a good locker room guy and a hound on defense, but he can’t manage the offense. If Bledsoe or Knight get hurt, I think that might be an issue. I also obviously wish Aldridge would have joined the Suns.

Hoops Rumors: How do you think Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe will mesh in the same backcourt?

Troy Tauscher: I think the Bledsoe-Knight pair is built to be a productive combination. The numbers say Knight was a very efficient spot-up shooter last season. He can work around Bledsoe attacking the rim. Knight can also create for Bledsoe by finding off-screen cuts that Bledsoe can finish. I like versatility, and the two have complementing skill sets that allow the Suns to diversify their offense. Defensively, I think it’s just a matter of Bledsoe taking the athletic challenge and giving Knight the secondary assignment.

Hoops Rumors: The Suns appear to have a lot of depth but they don’t have an elite star player. How do you see them addressing that in the years to come?

Troy Tauscher: The honest answer is that I have no idea. I’ve mentioned frequently that [GM] Ryan McDonough has some kind of dark wizard powers that allow him to just conjure up deals out of thin air. It’s impossible to guess who the available player will be. I mean, Aldridge was likely to stay with the Blazers for most of last season. The Suns do have good assets and a smart front office. I think it’s just a matter of waiting until they find the right guy at the right time.

Hoops Rumors: Playing in the Western Conference and in the Pacific Division isn’t an easy draw. What kind of record do you see the Suns winding up with in 2015/16?

Troy Tauscher: I have the Suns at 45 wins and the No. 8 seed, mostly because I’m not all in on the Jazz. I think it’ll be hard sometimes and I certainly don’t see that prediction as a lock. The more balanced attack they bring fixes some of their biggest flaws from previous seasons. It’s just about how much they want it and how much discipline they have on a nightly basis.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Ezeli, Price

The Kings‘ top priority in free agency this past offseason was Rajon Rondo, who was viewed as the perfect fit on a young Sacramento squad, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports writes. “I knew he was going to be available,” Vlade Divac, the Kings’ president of basketball and franchise operations, told Spears. “He was my first choice when I went after some free agents. Honestly, we weren’t a perfect destination in free agency and that was something we could take advantage of. He works well for us. We have things to turn around. I was very honest with him. I knew people were talking. But this is a great opportunity not only for him, but for us. Honestly, we were probably the first ones to approach. Everyone was scared. I wasn’t. As a player, I knew what he could do.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Festus Ezeli hasn’t played much during his time with the Warriors, but an injury to Andrew Bogut is giving him a chance at spot starts this season, and he’s making the most of the playing time he’s getting, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group examines. The rim protector is showing off the strides he’s made as he’s poised for restricted free agency, with extension talks breaking down before Monday’s deadline.
  • Ronnie Price‘s affection for his time with the Lakers last season is clear, but he instead wound up signing this summer with Phoenix, where coach Jeff Hornacek says he’s been impressed with him since their days together with the Jazz, as Matt Petersen of details. “Ronnie’s always been on our list,” Hornacek said. “He’s that veteran guy who understands what his role is. He plays hard in practice. You put him in the game, he’ll be the guy that’s picking guys up full-court. I like that energy.”
  • The Clippers could have a D-League team by next season if they want to, but coach/executive Doc Rivers isn’t sure whether that’s the choice they’ll make, tweets Dan Woike of the Orange County Register. The Clips are one of 11 teams without an affiliate this season but, with the Hornets and Nets already with deals to start their own affiliates and the Bulls not far behind, they’re part of a quickly shrinking group of holdouts. The Clippers, Hawks and Wizards are among the teams close to starting D-League teams, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Marcus Morris: Markieff Looks Unhappy On Suns

Markieff Morris has had nothing but positives to say about the Suns since he arrived at the team’s training camp in September and backed off his summer trade demand, but twin brother Marcus Morris isn’t sold on the idea that he still likes playing for Phoenix. Markieff Morris “doesn’t look happy,” his brother said today to reporters, including MLive’s David Mayo.

“He just don’t look comfortable,” Marcus Morris added, according to Mayo. “He don’t look too excited.”

Still, Marcus Morris wouldn’t directly answer whether his brother wants to be traded, according to Mayo. The Suns have been steadfast before and since Markieff Morris pronounced his desire to remain in Phoenix that they have no intention of trading him, though the Pistons, whose deal with the Suns to acquire Marcus Morris in July touched off the controversy, reportedly have some interest in reuniting the brothers.

Marcus Morris said today that he hopes his brother can end up on a team he enjoys playing for and expressed his fondness for his experience with the Pistons so far this season, Mayo notes. Detroit’s new starting small forward sent mixed messages Thursday about whether he’s past his own resentment toward the Suns, who play host to the Pistons in tonight’s game.

Markieff Morris said repeatedly over the summer that he wanted out of Phoenix, a narrative that began when John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 radio reported his displeasure with the team following the departure of his brother. He made his public trade demand to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer soon thereafter, and later tweeted, “My future will not be in Phoenix,” a remark that drew a $10K fine from the NBA. His contract calls for him to make $8MM this season, the first in a four-year extension he signed a year ago in the ill-fated hopes that it would allow him a long term future of playing alongside his brother, who simultaneously signed a four-year, $20MM extension.

Do you think Markieff Morris will still be on the Suns when the trade deadline passes? Leave a comment to let us know.

And-Ones: Beal, Durant, Morris, Giles

Bradley Beal understands the advantage of the cap flexibility the Wizards retained when they didn’t sign him to an extension before Monday’s deadline, and he has no desire to play for any other team after his restricted free agency next summer, as he tells Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports. Beal thinks of himself as a max player but told Lee that he’ll accept whatever he deserves regardless of whether it’s the max. The Wizards reportedly intend to give him the max next summer.

“This is where I want to be. I’m not looking at any other teams. I’m not looking to go anywhere else. I believe in this team we have in this locker room. I’m a big cornerstone of this team, so I’m here. I want to be here. Hopefully, the front office knows that. I’m pretty sure that they know that,” Beal said.

See more on the Wizards amid the latest from around the NBA:

  • The Wizards remain a legitimate threat to sign Kevin Durant in 2016, league sources tell Ken Berger of One executive from another team who spoke with Berger insists the maneuver the Wizards are executing with Beal to help facilitate that, similar to what the Pistons are doing with Andre Drummond, is against the rules.
  • Marcus Morris made comments indicating that he’s ready to move past his feelings toward the trade that separated him from his brother, but as Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press shows, he still has negative memories of his time with the Suns“I felt disrespected the entire time I was in Phoenix,” Morris said. “I was playing well, but I still feel like I didn’t have a real opportunity to grow. Anytime a team trades you away like that, it’s a slap in the face. I still feel disrespected, and I feel like I want to disrespect them.”
  • Top 2017 draft prospect Harry Giles suffered a “slight small tear” in his right ACL, a source told Adam Zagoria of, but it’s enough to knock him out for his senior year of high school this season, his father confirmed to Paul Biancardi of Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress moved the 6’10” power forward down from No. 1 to No. 2 in his 2017 mock draft, replacing him at the top with 6’8″ small forward Jayson Tatum, but Givony explained to Zagoria for a separate story that Giles has plenty of time to recover and regain the top spot.

And Ones: Love, Kidd, Morris, D-League

Kevin Love and LeBron James didn’t get along during the 2014/15 campaign, Love’s first with the Cavaliers, and much of the discord stemmed from Love arriving to the team out of shape, which frustrated James immensely, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal writes. Love, who was an unrestricted free agent this offseason, says that he always intended to re-sign with Cleveland, and he approached James shortly after the NBA Finals to let LeBron know that he wanted to play a larger role in the team’s offense, Lloyd relays. “More than anything I just wanted to see what he thought about where the team was going and what we wanted to accomplish,” Love said. “It was always ‘we’ or ‘us.’ It was never like, ‘You need to tell me this.’ Never.

Many within the Cavs’ organization believe that James, who loves challenges, has taken Love on as his own special project this season, and his primary goal is to build up Love’s confidence, Lloyd adds. “Some of the finer points and perhaps things people overlook is how he influences his teammates and how he influences the flow of the game just by recognizing what helps other guys function better when he trusts in something or someone on the court,” coach David Blatt said of James. “Bron also understands this is a long season and the more he empowers those around him, the better it’s going to be going down the line.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Jason Kidd‘s move from the Nets to the Bucks was certainly a wise one given Milwaukee’s much brighter future outlook, Mike Mazzeo of writes. For his part, Kidd enjoys the challenge of developing and coaching the team’s younger players, Mazzeo notes. “Coaching is hard no matter what — whether you’re coaching veterans or young guys,” Kidd said. “Being able to use certain vocabulary with the older guys — they get it and they can go out and execute it. Sometimes with the younger guys, you have to show them on video or walk through it and then have them do it. So you might have to spend a little more time teaching, but that’s fun. That’s why I like being in Milwaukee, to help put these young guys in a position to have success.
  • Pistons combo forward Marcus Morris said that he has learned from his negative experience of being traded away from his twin brother, Markieff Morris, after inking a contract extension with the Suns, David Mayo of writes. “This is the NBA. I let relationships overcome business. That will never happen again,” Morris said. “I’m learning from it. My brother’s learning from it. We’re going to continue to grow.
  • The Clippers have assigned Branden Dawson and C.J. Wilcox to the D-League, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. Since Los Angeles does not possess its own affiliate, both players are going to the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns‘ affiliate, Pincus adds.

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