The Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010 and they didn’t exactly get closer to ending their drought during the 2018/19 campaign. Despite the lack of success, Devin Booker remains optimistic about the future.
“I feel like you take the positive,” Booker said (via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic). “That’s just me being a positive person. There were stretches this season we played really good basketball. Played the right way and it resulted in wins. We have to take that same vibe that we had during that stretch and carry that into the summer and build on that.”
The offseason will bring change in Phoenix. Jeff Bowers will take on the role of senior VP of basketball operations in the front office and the organization will look to make upgrades on the court. League sources tell Rankin that the Suns are willing to go over the salary cap in free agency this summer.
The latest projections have the cap coming in at approximately $109MM for the 2019/20 season. The Suns have slightly under $61.7MM in guaranteed salary on the books next year, though that doesn’t include Tyler Johnson‘s player option – worth roughly $19.3MM – or Kelly Oubre‘s $9.6MM cap hold. It would be an upset if Johnson decides to turn his option down.
The Suns could find themselves over the cap if they choose to sign outside free agents before circling back to offer Oubre—a restricted free agent—a new deal. Several teams have employed this strategy with restricted free agents, such as the Pistons with Andre Drummond in 2016.
The team could also go over the cap by utilizing exceptions. The Suns will almost certainly enter July operating as a team under the salary cap (unless they decide to take back salary in trades that exhaust their cap space prior to the start of the new league year). They’ll likely have the room exception at their disposal, which is projected to come in at $4.76MM.
Phoenix added several veterans over the past few offseasons and those moves didn’t work out with the team shipping Trevor Ariza to Washington as the most recent example. The Suns will need to find the right additions this time around.
“We have the good young core that’s ready to go. We just all have to stick together. Sprinkle in a couple of vets and some guys that are ready to win,” Booker said.