Western Notes: Suns, O’Neal, Jazz

The Suns recent contract agreement with Isaiah Thomas has puzzled some since the team already has point guards Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, and recent draftee Tyler Ennis on the roster. But Phoenix believes they have only strengthened their “dual-playmaker” offense with the acquisition, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. GM Ryan McDonough said, “We feel like the strength of our team is the backcourt. We feel like this move has made us even stronger in the backcourt. We were very good when Dragic and Bledsoe were on the court, and we think Isaiah is that caliber of player where if you can have one or two of those guys on the court at all times, you really don’t have any dropoff scoring-wise. You always have multiple weapons. You have guys who can run pick-and-rolls from either side of the floor and can push the floor in transition.”

Here’s more from the western half:

  • Jermaine O’Neal is expected to make a decision on his retirement soon, reports Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group (Twitter link). O’Neal appeared in 44 games for the Warriors last season, averaging 7.9 PPG and 5.5 RPG while playing 20.1 minutes per contest.
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr has spoken with Klay Thompson and David Lee about the trade rumors surrounding both players, writes Leung. According to the article Kerr said, “They both get it. I told them, I know you get it. It doesn’t make it any easier. But this is why you really get paid. I mean, you get paid all this money, is it really for coming into a gym for two hours a day and shooting jump shots? We’ve been doing that for free our whole life, you know? You get paid because you can get traded, and you have to uproot your family. You can get hurt, you can get booed, and people on the message board are crushing you. That’s where you actually earn your money in this league, where it actually feels like work.
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was noncommittal when asked what Gordon Hayward‘s new contract would mean for Alec Burks and Enes Kanter and any discussions on signing those players to contract extensions, notes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link).
  • With the Lakers seemingly striking out on all the big name free agents this summer, the team will have to turn to “Plan B,” writes Bill Oram of the Orange County Register.
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