Offseason Outlook: Phoenix Suns

Guaranteed Contracts


  • None

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Free Agents / Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (5th overall)
  • 1st Round (30th overall)
  • 2nd Round (57th overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $44,420,504
  • Options: $0
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $3,831,793
  • Cap Holds: $11,085,598
  • Total: $59,337,895

The Suns didn't waste time in making changes this offseason as they became the first NBA club to can their GM.  Lance Blanks was shown the door on April 24th and a few weeks later, the Suns found their next decision maker in Ryan McDonough.  Blanks didn't have the easiest job with the Suns as he joined the club in the summer of 2010, shortly after Amar'e Stoudemire left for the Knicks.  The Suns went from a Western Conference finalist in 2010 to a mediocre team the next two seasons, capped off by a 25-57 mark this year.  McDonough's job won't be easy, but he doesn't necessarily have a tough act to follow.

We saw multiple coaches under contract given the greenlight to look elsewhere this offseason – Larry Drew, Lionel Hollins, Doc Rivers - but the Suns did that before it was cool.  Lindsey Hunter was still technically the club's interim head coach this summer and while Phoenix mulled their options, they gave the former guard a chance to explore his options elsewhere.  That didn't officially spell the end of Hunter's tenure with the Suns, but it more or less sealed his fate and made way for new head coach Jeff Hornacek.

One would expect a team as young and, sorry, as unimpressive as the Suns to have enough cap room to ink someone to a max deal, but that's just not the case.  The club has two deals that are only partially guaranteed in Shannon Brown and Hamed Haddadi plus a non-guaranteed pact with P.J. Tucker, but the team will still have more than $44MM committed to nine players for next season if they were to cut bait with those three.  When you couple that with the two first-round picks that the Suns have in the June draft, there's just no way that they can throw someone max money.  Even if they could, the Suns aren't in a position to court an elite player and overpaying for a near-max type like Andre Iguodala or Monta Ellis doesn't fit their gameplan since they aren't going to contend right away.

The Suns hold two first-round picks in this Thursday's draft (No. 5 and No. 30) and no matter how the top of the board shakes out, the Suns figure to come away with a quality talent.  The latest mock draft from DraftExpress has the Suns taking Victor Oladipo but the Indiana high flyer may not be available and could even be in the mix at No. 1.  In a draft that is said to be short on stars, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic hears that they'll be in best player available mode, which could even mean taking a point guard, despite having Goran Dragic under contract for the next three years and 2012 first-rounder Kendall Marshall.  I don't think the Suns are enamored enough by Trey Burke to overload themselves at the one-guard position and even if their not drafting for need, it's hard to rule out the appeal of Ben McLemore.  The Suns need perimeter shooting and athleticism and the Kansas product provides both.

Two of this year's top prospects are centers (Nerlens Noel and Alex Len) and neither player would seem to fit a need for the Suns, but that could change if they were to part with Marcin Gortat.  The Blazers have interest in the 29-year-old and if the Suns can get one of those prospects at No. 5 (Len is far more likely than Noel), they could be thinking big with their highest pick since 1968/69.  With the late first-rounder or their second-round selection, the Suns could be thinking international since they're building for the future.  

Additional notes:

  • P.J. Tucker's $884K salary is non-guaranteed for 2013/14, but he's a mortal lock to return.  There weren't a whole lot of bright spots for the Suns last season, but Tucker's hard-nosed style of play was one of them. 
  • The Nos. 5, 30, and 57 selections in the draft may not be enough for the Suns.  They're reportedly open to adding another first-round pick and for a forward-thinking franchise, that possibility can't be ruled out.  It sounds as though we'll see a lot of movement on draft night and the Suns are one of the clubs to keep an eye on.

Cap footnotes:

  1. Brown's and Haddadi's salaries become fully guaranteed if they're not waived on or before June 29th.
  2. Tucker's salary becomes fully guaranteed if he's not waived on or before July 1st.
  3. $988,872 is the amount of Garrett's potential qualifying offer. If the Suns don't extend a QO, Garrett's cap hold will be reduced to $788,872.

Storytellers Contracts and Sham Sports were used in the creation of this post.

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