Phoenix Suns

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Young, Barnes

Most teams chasing top-tier centers thought it better to go after the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan and Greg Monroe before circling back to Tyson Chandler as something of a fallback option, but the Suns found it wise to chase Chandler before pursuing Aldridge, as Rob Mahoney of SI.com examines. Chandler quickly committed to Phoenix, and he helped them become a finalist in the Aldridge sweepstakes.

“I think when you have a guy like that that you target, you go aggressively after him. And that’s what we decided to do with Tyson,” McDonough said to Mahoney. “It did help us that there were so many free agent big men on the market, especially high-level players — guys who have been All-Stars, All-NBA, and all that stuff. I think a few teams wanted to kind of talk to each of the guys and get a feel for them. Some of the players wanted to do visits with multiple teams, and be wined and dined a bit. Tyson really didn’t want any of that.”

There’s more from Phoenix amid our latest look around the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns seemingly made their three-player trade with the Pistons in an effort to clear cap room for Aldridge, but McDonough told Mahoney that the deal that sent out Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger is one the team would have done regardless, citing a desire for more roster balance and future flexibility.
  • Nick Young feels more confident that he’ll begin the coming season with the Lakers after a recent meeting with GM Mitch Kupchak, reports Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. That jibes with a dispatch last week from Bill Oram of the Orange County Register, who heard that the Lakers had stopped looking for trade partners who’d take Young.
  • Harrison Barnes confirmed Thursday that he wants a long-term future with the Warriors, as Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group details. He and the team reportedly share a mutual interest in a rookie scale extension. “I mean, we just won a championship,” Barnes said. “Of course I’d love to keep this group together for many years to come, you know what I’m saying? So that’s obvious.”

Suns Eye Justin Hamilton

The Suns are close to making a partially guaranteed offer to two-year veteran Justin Hamilton, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link). Hamilton, who finished last season with the Timberwolves, had reportedly been close to a deal last week with Valencia of Spain, but he remains a free agent. In any case, he’s uncertain about signing just a partially guaranteed deal, according to Wolfson.

Minnesota last month decided against making a qualifying offer of only about $1.147MM, $200K more than Hamilton’s minimum salary, an inauspicious sign for his NBA future. He’d been mostly stuck at the end of the bench with the Heat the past two seasons until the three-team Goran Dragic trade took him to the Pelicans, who waived him a couple of weeks later. Minnesota claimed the 7-footer off waivers, sacrificing 2014 second-rounder Glenn Robinson III to do so.

Hamilton averaged 9.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 24.9 minutes per game across 17 games with the Wolves. That’s a small sample size, but it appears to be enough to tempt Phoenix to some degree. The Suns have only 13 fully guaranteed contracts and the $2.184MM room exception available, though it would be surprising if they offered Hamilton more than the minimum.

Do you think Hamilton deserves a spot on an NBA roster? Leave a comment to let us know.

And-Ones: Playoffs, Aldridge, Teletovic, Mekel

The NBA is leaning toward no longer guaranteeing a playoff spot to division winners, commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press observes. It would be one more step away from a divisional structure that long ago ceased to have much relevance on roster building, though Pelicans GM Dell Demps recently cited the preponderance of strong post players in the Southwest Division as he spoke about the team’s decision to re-sign Omer Asik. Here’s more from around the NBA:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge kept the Trail Blazers in the running for him right up until he committed to sign with the Spurs, as Aldridge said this week in an appearance on ESPN Radio’s The Russillo Show, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com relays. Aldridge also insisted that he didn’t exit Portland because of any jealousy toward Damian Lillard“We got along very well during the season,” Aldridge said. “I thought we played well off of each other. So, all of that stuff is just rumors that I’ve dealt with before. Me leaving had nothing to do with any of that. It was just me feeling like being close to home, by my family, being able to see them more and just a change of scenery. I had been in Portland for nine years. I had been through a couple of rebuilds. So it was just time to try something new. It wasn’t anything toward Damian or the organization.”
  • The decision to cancel the meeting between Aldridge and the Knicks was a mutual one, Aldridge also said in his radio appearance, notes Ian Begley of ESPN.com.
  • The Nets wanted to keep Mirza Teletovic, offering him a two-year deal that included an option, and the Kings also offered him a two-year deal, but he thought the Suns were a better fit, as Teletovic said to Bosnian media and as Igor Marinovic and NetsDaily relay (Twitter links). Teletovic signed for one-year with Phoenix.
  • Former Mavericks and Pelicans point guard Gal Mekel is in talks with three NBA teams, as Marc Stein of ESPN.com hears (Twitter links).
  • Many scouts say Dragan Bender is the best international prospect, but whether Bender, who won’t turn 19 until November 2016, enters next year’s draft will depend on where he’d likely be drafted, sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who looks the 2016 draft class.

Western Notes: Hammon, Terry, Teletovic, Jazz

Former Nets executive Bobby Marks says he would call Spurs assistant Becky Hammon first if he were running a team and looking for a head coach (Twitter link). Hammon has been a full-time NBA assistant for only one season, but she guided the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title as the first female summer league head coach and commanded the attention of her players, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News details.

“She’s just a good coach,” said Kyle Anderson, San Antonio’s 2014 first-round pick. “Everybody listens to her like they would anyone else. I mean, she’s the coach.”

The arrival of the first female head coach for regular season play still seems a long way off, but, as Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News points out, the Spurs have once more proven they’re not afraid of innovation. Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Jason Terry confirmed Monday that he’s close to a deal with the Rockets, but Houston has renounced his Bird rights, according to the RealGM transactions log. That means the team is limited to paying him a deal with a starting salary of no more than the roughly $2MM slice of the mid-level exception left over from the K.J. McDaniels signing, which also took up a portion of the mid-level.
  • Upheaval has surrounded the Suns during GM Ryan McDonough‘s first two seasons on the job, but this week he signaled that he’s settled on his main players, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic documents. “It took a little while to get to a core we liked but we think we finally have that and have the ability to be successful this year and then hopefully build on that and add to it a year from now when the cap spikes up and we have cap space to bring in guys that help our young core,” McDonough said.
  • The Suns signed Mirza Teletovic for only one year, but they hope to re-sign him to a new deal next summer, Coro writes in the same piece.
  • The Jazz‘s three-year deal with Tibor Pleiss is worth an even $9MM, and the team’s three-year deal with Raul Neto is worth precisely $2,852,546, reports Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Contract Details, Chandler

The Clippers‘ offseason moves, which include re-signing DeAndre Jordan, signing unrestricted free agent Paul Pierce, and acquiring swingman Lance Stephenson, have added needed versatility to the team’s roster, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes. With Stephenson, Pierce and Wesley Johnson joining the roster, the Clippers have more skill, length, defense and versatility on the perimeter than they did last season, Blancarte opines. The addition of forward Josh Smith also gives coach Doc Rivers some needed rotation flexibility in the frontcourt, notes Blancarte.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The four-year deal that Kosta Koufos signed with the Kings is worth precisely $32.879MM, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reveals (Twitter link). Marco Belinelli is getting $1 less than $19MM in his new three-year deal, Pincus adds. Sacramento gave Omri Casspi exactly $5.8MM on his two-year deal, Pincus also reports, adding that the James Anderson‘s contract is for two years at the minimum salary with a player option on year two.
  • Tyson Chandler‘s four-year deal with the Suns will pay him $13MM this coming season, $12.415MM in 2016/17, $13MM in 2017/18, and $13.585MM the final season, tweets Pincus. Brandon Knight‘s five-year pact will see him earn $13.5MM in 2015/16, then pull down salaries of $12,606.250, $13,618,750, $14,631,250, and $15,643,750, Pincus notes.
  • Instead of lamenting the Suns‘ signing of Chandler, who will be the team’s starting center, Alex Len is looking forward to learning from the veteran, Michael Lee of The Washington Post relays. “He’s one of the best defensive bigs in the league. The way he blocks shots, the way he communicates. I think I can learn just from watching, just from being around him, add it to my game. I think it’s going to be great,” Len said. “He’s a great leader. We needed a veteran last year. Somebody in the locker room, on the court, somebody we can look up to. So, I think it’s great for the team.” Len, 22, started 44 games for Phoenix during the 2014/15 campaign.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Pierce, Clippers, Suns

Paul Pierce, a native of California, is happy to be back home after signing with the Clippers, but the Lakers would have never been an option, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe writes. Pierce signed a three-year deal for approximately $10MM.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to come home, finally,” Pierce said. “I grew up a Laker fan but playing on all the Boston Celtic teams . . . there’s no way I could go there — so this was the next best choice. And it’s always been a dream to play in front of my family and friends.”

Here’s more on the Clippers and Pacific Division:

  • Despite reports that indicated a rift between Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan played a role in the center agreeing to sign with the Mavericks before ultimately re-signing with the Clippers, Paul said he’s delighted to have the big man back, Justin Verrier of ESPN.com writes. “DeAndre, he’s like my big little brother. We talk a lot more than people realize,” Paul said. “It doesn’t matter; the only thing that matters is we brought in [Pierce], who I’m probably the happiest about because of his championship pedigree, being that voice in our locker room. We brought in [Lance Stephenson], Wesley Johnson, brought Austin [Rivers] back, Josh Smith. Big summer for us.
  • Suns president Lon Babby said  re-signing Brandon Knight was the team’s most important move, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic tweets. Knight, who signed a five-year, $70MM contract with the Suns, said he did not talk to any other teams, Coro also tweets.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr expects James McAdoo, who is expected to compete for a reserve spot with the Warriors in training camp in late September, to contribute next season, Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com writes. McAdoo split time between the Warriors and D-League last season.

Suns Waive Jerel McNeal

The Suns have waived guard Jerel McNeal, the team announced. McNeal’s minimum salary arrangement with Phoenix for the 2015/16 campaign would have become fully guaranteed if he remained on the roster past July 21st, as is shown by our schedule of guarantee dates. This move reduces the Suns’ roster count to 13 players.

McNeal initially signed with the Suns via a 10-day contract back on April 1st after Phoenix opted not to re-sign guard A.J. Price when Price’s 10-day deal expired. The shooting guard, who was not drafted when he was eligible in 2009, had been playing for the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns’ D-League affiliate, prior to joining Phoenix. In 27 games for the Jam, McNeal had averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists in 32.6 minutes per contest. He has previously had NBA training camp stints with the Clippers, Raptors and Rockets.

The Pelicans and Jazz have briefly carried McNeal on regular season rosters in the past, but he didn’t see action with either team during those stints. In just six total NBA regular season appearances, all with Phoenix last season, McNeal has notched averages of 1.5 points, 0.5 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 6.0 minutes per contest. His shooting line is .273/.500/1.000.

2015/16 Roster Counts: Phoenix Suns

During the offseason it’s OK for teams to carry as many as 20 players, but clubs must trim their rosters down to a maximum of 15 by opening night. In the meantime, some teams will hang around that 15-man line, while others will max out their roster counts. Some clubs may actually have more than 15 contracts that are at least partially guaranteed on the books. That means they’ll end up paying players who won’t be on the regular season roster, unless they can find trade partners.

With plenty more movement still to come, here’s the latest look at the Suns’ roster size, the contract guarantee status of each player, and how each player came to be on Phoenix’s roster.

(Last Updated 7-23-15, 8:00pm)

Fully Guaranteed (13)


Partially Guaranteed (0)

  • None

Non-Guaranteed (0)

  • None

10-Day Contracts (0)

  • N/A

TOTAL ROSTER COUNT (13)

Suns Re-Sign Brandon Knight

JULY 17TH, 7:32pm: The signing is official, the Suns announced. “We are delighted to have reached a multi-year agreement with Brandon,” said president of basketball operations Lon Babby. “He will be an integral member of our team on the court and will enhance our culture with his leadership and professionalism.

1:57pm: The Suns won’t be trading Bledsoe even though they’ve secured a deal with Knight, as a source strongly emphasized to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link).

1:48pm: The Suns and Knight have reached agreement on those five-year, $70MM terms, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports confirms (Twitter link).

10:52pm: If the Suns re-sign Knight, they would seriously consider trading Bledsoe, Marc Stein of ESPN.com tweets.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

JULY 1ST, 5:46pm: Brandon Knight, who will become a restricted free agent on July 1st, will sign a five-year, $70MM contract with the Suns, reports Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times, who cites a league source. Of course, it is illegal for sides to have discussed a dollar amount and length of a potential deal before July 1st, but that doesn’t mean negotiations didn’t happen.

Knight, 23, was traded to the Suns in February in a multiple-team deal. He has expressed interest in re-signing with the Suns and mentioned that he was looking for that to happen swiftly. The Suns, reportedly, want to bring him back, and Knight told them that he has no issues sharing duties with Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt. Interestingly, Knight’s reported deal worth $13MM annually for five years are the exact terms the Suns gave Bledsoe last September.

Knight was averaging 17.8 points per game and 5.4 assists per game before the Bucks dealt him to the Suns. He then played 11 games for the Suns, averaging 13.4 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. After suffering an ankle injury March 9, Knight missed 16 of the Suns’ final 17 games. He underwent minor arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in April.

Suns Ink Mirza Teletovic

JULY 17TH, 4:21pm: The Suns have officially announced the signing. “We have followed Mirza Teletovic’s career for a long time and we are excited to have him wear a Suns uniform,” said GM Ryan McDonough. “Mirza is one of the best shooting big men in the world and we think his skill set will be a great fit for our style of play.

JULY 9TH, 5:42pm: The Suns will sign Mirza Teletovic to a one-year deal for $5.5MM, TNT’s David Aldridge reports (Twitter link). The move comes shortly after the Nets pulled their qualifying offer to the forward earlier today, making him an unrestricted free agent. Phoenix is likely using cap space to accommodate the transaction.

The client of Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman ends up with a deal that’s about $1.3MM more lucrative than he’d have had if he’d simply signed the more than $4.21MM qualifyer while it was on the table. The agreement with Phoenix comes as somewhat of a surprise, as aside from a vague link to the Spurs, it didn’t seem as though any NBA team other than the Nets had much interest. Nets GM Billy King said this morning that the Nets and Teletovic were in talks and that he was hopeful of re-signing the three-year veteran, but Brooklyn never made Teletovic a priority this offseason, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Teletovic, who turns 30 in September, was to have missed the rest of the season when doctors diagnosed him with blood clots in his lungs after a game in January, but he came back for the playoffs and appeared in three games during Brooklyn’s first-round series loss to the Hawks. He was a significant part of Brooklyn’s rotation prior to the ailment, averaging 22.3 minutes per game this past season.

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