Dario Saric‘s fate will be among the most important decisions facing the Suns this offseason, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Saric started 50 of the 58 games he played in his first season in Phoenix, but averaged a career-low 10.1 PPG. Rankin notes that the team would like to find a more athletic power forward, but Saric has proven his value by playing hard, moving the ball and being a good locker-room influence.
Saric, who turned 26 this week, is already on his third team in four NBA seasons. The Suns can make him a restricted free agent in the offseason by extending a $5MM qualifying offer.
There’s more today from Phoenix:
- Monty Williams has made a difference in his first year as Suns coach, just as league general managers predicted in a preseason survey, Rankin adds in a separate story. Williams was the choice of 43% of GMs among “new or relocated” head coaches expected to have a positive impact on their new team. Phoenix has more wins than in any of the past four years, even though the season has been put on hold with 17 games remaining and center Deandre Ayton was suspended for 25 games. With Williams at the helm, Devin Booker became an all-star for the first time, Kelly Oubre posted his best season and the team rose from 29th to 19th in defensive rating.
- Point guard could be an emphasis for Phoenix in the draft, writes Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports, who agrees with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that the team would have interest in Tyrese Haliburton and Killian Hayes. In his latest mock draft, Givony has Haliburton being selected with the ninth pick, one ahead of the Suns, assuming they remain in the 10th slot. Zimmerman believes either would be a productive backup to Ricky Rubio, and at 6’5″ they both have the size to handle either backcourt position. Among point guards already on the roster, Elie Okobo‘s contract isn’t fully guaranteed for next season, while Jevon Carter will be a restricted free agent.
- Ty Jerome talks to Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports about an eventful rookie year that included two trades shortly after the draft, an early-season ankle injury that sidelined him for six weeks and now a coronavirus lockdown.