The Phoenix City Council approved a $230MM deal tonight for improvements to Talking Stick Resort Arena that will ensure the Suns remain in the downtown facility through 2037, writes Jessica Boehm of The Arizona Republic. Under the agreement, the city will cover $150MM in renovations, while the team will be responsible for $80MM, plus any overruns.
Council also agreed to put $2MM per year into a renewal and replacement fund over the next 12 1/2 years to cover future renovation needs. The Suns will contribute $1MM each year over that same time frame. The franchise will continue to be in charge of operations and maintenance for the arena and will pay rent to the city based on annual proceeds.
The Suns will also build a practice facility with an estimated cost of $25-$50MM. The team pledges to remain at Talking Stick Resort Arena for the next 18 years with an option to extend the lease through 2042. The Suns could be fined up to $200MM if they break that lease.
There’s more Suns news to pass along:
- With Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes both injured, Dragan Bender may be looking at his last chance to prove he can be a contributor in Phoenix, notes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Bender posted double-doubles in back-to-back starts and is showing glimpses of why Phoenix made him the fourth overall pick in 2016. He’s still averaging just 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per night in 16 games. “You have to (be) really, really hard mentally on yourself,” Bender said, “and be able to tell yourself each and every day to push through it. It’s a rough business. You can sit for 45 games, and then two guys went down with injuries — which is unfortunate — but it’s time to get in the game and show what you can do.”
- Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Elie Okobo and T.J. Warren are the most likely Suns to be traded before the deadline, Mizell adds in a separate story. Daniels has only appeared in 22 games, playing mostly when others are injured; the acquisition of Kelly Oubre has lessened the need for Jackson; Okobo may be shipped out in the search for a point guard; and Warren might fetch a nice return in the middle of his career-best season. She adds that Bender, Holmes and Jamal Crawford may be enticing because they have expiring contracts.
- Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines the performance of Igor Kokoskov in his first season as an NBA head coach.