Pacific Notes: Suns, Free Agency, Lakers, Russell

The Suns are expected to pursue the biggest names on the market when free agency starts Wednesday, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix will likely make pitches to Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, while trying to reach a deal with their own free agent, Brandon Knight. The Suns will have an estimated $12MM in cap space to work with, meaning they would have to trade away some salary before signing Love or Aldridge. “We’re going to be aggressive and target the best players,” said GM Ryan McDonough. “I think you’ll see us go after the top guys. We hope to get meetings with some of the top free agents and sell them on all Phoenix has to offer.” Knight, who was acquired from Milwaukee in February, will be a restricted free agent, meaning the Suns can match any offer he receives. He has said he would like to remain in Phoenix.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns should base their free agent campaign on their pursuit of Steve Nash 11 years ago, writes Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic. Nash was happy in Dallas, Boivin writes, but Phoenix showed how badly it wanted him through a combined effort of the top names in the organization. Chairman Jerry Colangelo chased Nash with a group that included team president Bryan Colangelo, new owner Robert Sarver, coach Mike D’Antoni, minority owner Steve Kerr, director of player personnel David Griffin, agent Bill Duffy and director of basketball operations Rex Chapman. Boivin contends the Suns will need a similar show of force this year to land a top-tier name like Love or Aldridge.
  • The Lakers‘ choice of D’Angelo Russell shows they understand the modern NBA, writes Baxter Holmes of Spreading the floor and hitting three-pointers has become more important than ever, and Holmes contends a star point guard like Russell is more valuable than a low-post scorer like Jahlil Okafor“He’s got gifts that you can work really hard and long on and still not acquire those gifts,” GM Mitch Kupchak said of his new guard. “Some of them you’re just born with or somebody sprinkles a little gold dust on you at some point. It’s just there.”
  • Russell may have made up the Lakers‘ mind during his second workout with the team, tweets Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times.

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