The Suns realized the NBA’s new second tax apron was already going to be an issue for them, so they decided not to let it stand in the way of pursuing Bradley Beal when the Wizards made him available, writes Brian Windhorst of ESPN (subscription required). Phoenix reached an agreement on Sunday to trade for Beal, adding the $208MM he’s owed over the next four years to an already expensive roster.
Suns management had been considering cost-cutting moves, according to Windhorst, including a recent meeting with Chris Paul to discuss the possibility of waiving him and saving half the cost of his $30.8MM salary for next season. They decided to reverse course when the opportunity with Beal arose and will likely guarantee Paul’s entire salary before sending him to Washington, sources tell Windhorst.
New owner Mat Ishbia appears to be committed to the super-team philosophy despite a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was designed to impose heavy sanctions against free-spending teams. The trades for Beal and Kevin Durant have created a significant jump in salary since Ishbia took over the team in February.
The Suns’ spending spree is likely to continue, according to Windhorst, who says they will try to re-sign free agents Torrey Craig, Josh Okogie, Damion Lee, Jock Landale, Bismack Biyombo and Terrence Ross. Windhorst also expects Phoenix to retain Cameron Payne, who only has a $2MM guarantee on his $6.5MM salary for next season through June 29, and the Suns may add to their roster with a $5MM trade exception that doesn’t expire until February.
There’s more from Phoenix:
- Paul was flying to New York for an appearance on “Good Morning America” when he learned about the trade, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. “In this league, anything can happen, so you just figure out what’s next,” said Paul, who was on the morning show to promote his new book.
- The Suns could avoid the second apron by trading Deandre Ayton for little to no salary in return, which would give them access to the mid-level exception, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. However, he believes it’s more likely that Ayton will be shopped for low-salaried role players, which would help ease the potential tax bill. According to Gozlan, Phoenix is currently looking at a payroll in excess of $190MM, which would result in a luxury tax penalty of about $90MM.
- Once the Beal trade is complete, the Suns won’t control any of their first-round picks for the rest of the decade, tweets NBA writer Evan Sidery. The Nets own their selections in 2023, 2025, 2027 and 2029, along with the right to swap picks in 2028. The Wizards are expected to get pick swaps in 2024 and 2026.