Hoops Rumors » Phoenix Suns Legitimate NBA free agent and trade rumors. 2017-11-23T01:24:18Z https://www.hoopsrumors.com/feed/atom Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Suns Notes: Bledsoe, McDonough, Centers]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79988 2017-11-22T14:16:04Z 2017-11-22T00:31:10Z Eric Bledsoe will return to Phoenix on Wednesday for the first time since the team traded him to the Bucks, but the point guard is downplaying the events, calling it “just another game.”

“It’s just another game,” Bledsoe said (via ESPN’s Nick Friedell). “Another game we just got to win. We got to win this game, get above .500, build off that.”

Bledsoe wouldn’t comment on the “hair salon” incident or on Suns‘ management when asked if he wished either party had handled things differently leading up to his departure.

“I’m at this point now,” Bledsoe said. “I’m on another team focused on what we can build here. So I ain’t focused on that.”

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns waited too long to trade Bledsoe, RealGM’s Danny Leroux contends, suggesting that the team should have dealt him before last season’s trade deadline. The scribe argues that the number of teams in playoff contention at the time, combined with Bledsoe’s age and reasonable contract, made February 2017 the right time to move him.
  • Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic believes that GM Ryan McDonough can turn things around for the franchise, though it will take some time. The Suns are expected to be one of only a few teams with substantial cap room this summer and while Moore is hopeful that someone like LeBron James or DeMarcus Cousins decides to come to the team, he envisions Phoenix landing a player in the tier below them. He names DeAndre Jordan, Aaron Gordon, and Marcus Smart as possibilities.
  • Tyson Chandler is expected to be back in the lineup on Wednesday after missing the last three games with an illness, Moore writes in a separate piece. Coach Jay Triano said he isn’t sure how he’ll handle the center rotation, with Greg Monroe, Alex Len and Chandler all vying for minutes. “I haven’t even thought about it,” Triano said. “I’ve got a couple of days to figure out the rotations.”
  • The Northern Arizona Suns, the team’s G League affiliate, have added Earl Barron and Nick Friedman as assistant coaches, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link). The club has also promoted Tyler Gatlin to associate head coach.
Clark Crum <![CDATA[Pacific Notes: James, Gallinari, Kuzminskas]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79930 2017-11-21T05:50:38Z 2017-11-21T04:02:19Z After bouncing around Europe and playing in five different countries over five seasons, Suns rookie point guard Mike James is making the most of his opportunity in the NBA, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. James has made such an impression since signing a two-way contract back in July that general manager Ryan McDonough, who didn’t even know who James was until this summer, has stated that the team plans to sign James to a standard NBA contract before his two-way contract expires on December 6.

James, who had balked at the opportunity to play in the NBA on numerous previous occasions, finally felt that it was time. “I felt like if I wasn’t going to do it this year, I probably wasn’t never going to do it. So I’m just like, let me take one chance. It would just be for a year, and if it doesn’t work out here, I’ll be back overseas, and I’ll make more money.” 

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari continues to nurse a strained left glute that he suffered in the first half of the team’s loss to the Heat on November 5. Essentially day-to-day since then, it has now been confirmed in a tweet from Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times that Gallinari will miss another 7-10 days.
  • Back in Los Angeles after a brief stint in Houston, Clippers guard Lou Williams is eager to have his new team back at full strength as soon as possible, as detailed in an interview with Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Believing that the Clippers still have plenty of time to right the ship despite being in the midst of a nine-game losing streak, Williams said, “We’ve been playing extremely hard giving ourselves an opportunity to win these games and just haven’t been able to finish. (Once we) get guys back … we’ll break through.”
  • The Lakers are keeping an eye on free agent Mindaugas Kuzminskas and have even met with the forward recently, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. The Lakers were one of the teams we recently highlighted as having interest in Kuzminskas. The Lakers already have a full 15 players under contract, so any play for Kuzminskas would first require a roster move.
Clark Crum <![CDATA[Standard NBA Deal Expected For Mike James]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79866 2017-11-21T16:57:01Z 2017-11-20T23:01:28Z Perhaps one of the more surprising stories to come out of the 2017/18 NBA season so far is the play of Suns‘ rookie point guard Mike James.

James is currently averaging 11.4 PPG and 4.0 APG, good enough for top-10 spots in both categories among all rookies. And, according to Scott Bordow of AZCentral.com, James’ play has not been lost on general manager Ryan McDonough, who plans to sign James to a standard NBA contract before he reaches the 45-day NBA limit on his two-way contract on December 6.

Before signing James, however, the Suns will need to create an open roster spot, as they already have 15 players under contract. Bordow opines that in order to do so, the Suns will likely look to move on from one of their three centers – Tyson ChandlerAlex Len, or recently acquired Greg Monroe.

Out of the three, Monroe is probably the likeliest candidate to be moved. He is on an expiring contract and the Suns have already been reported as exploring the trade market for the 27 year-old. Len is also on an expiring contract after signing a qualifying offer in the offseason, but he has the ability to veto trades, and Chandler still has two years and $26.6MM remaining on the contract he signed back in 2015.

If the Suns can’t find a trade within the next couple weeks and need to waive a player to make room for James, Derrick Jones‘ roster spot could be in jeopardy, since he’s the only Sun without a fully guaranteed 2017/18 salary.

Luke Adams <![CDATA[Leandro Barbosa To Play In Brazil]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79843 2017-11-20T17:41:23Z 2017-11-20T17:41:23Z Veteran guard Leandro Barbosa is continuing his playing career in his home country of Brazil, having joined Franca Basquete, the team recently announced (Instagram link). Barbosa’s agreement with the Brazilian club was first reported by Giancarlo Giampietro (Twitter link).

Barbosa, who will turn 35 next Tuesday, began his basketball career in Brazil back in 1999 and has played there as recently as the 2013/14 season. However, he has spent the majority of the last 15 years playing for NBA teams, appearing in 969 total regular season and playoff games for the Suns, Warriors, Raptors, Celtics, and Pacers.

Most recently, the Brazilian guard played a part-time role for the Suns last season, rejoining the franchise with which he started his career. In 67 games (14.4 MPG), Barbosa averaged 6.3 PPG, 1.6 RPG, and 1.2 APG, with a shooting line of .439/.357/.889. Phoenix elected not to guarantee Barbosa’s full $4MM salary for 2017/18 though, waiving him in July to save $3.5MM.

The exact terms of Barbosa’s deal with Franca Basquete aren’t clear — it’s possible he’ll be free to explore NBA opportunities later in the season, if there’s any interest.

Austin Kent <![CDATA[Greg Monroe Boosts Value With Strong Suns Debut]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79686 2017-11-18T00:23:49Z 2017-11-18T00:23:49Z
  • A solid debut with his new franchise could boost Greg Monroe‘s trade value, Cody Cunningham of Phoenix’s official team site writes. The big man dropped 20 and 11 in his first game for the Suns since coming over alongside draft picks in the Eric Bledsoe trade.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[2018 Salary Cap Outlook: Pacific Division]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79571 2017-11-17T19:22:07Z 2017-11-17T14:52:09Z NBA rosters will undergo some changes over the course of the 2017/18 season, particularly around the trade deadline, and those changes may have an impact on teams’ cap sheets for future seasons. Based on the NBA’s current rosters, however, we can identify which teams are most and least likely to have cap room in the summer of 2018, which will dictate the type of moves those clubs can make in the offseason.

    We’re taking a closer look at each of the NBA’s 30 teams by division this week. Today, we’re tackling the Pacific division. With the help of salary information compiled by Basketball Insiders, here’s how the summer of 2018 is shaping up for the five Pacific teams:

    Golden State WarriorsKevin Durant vertical
    Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $102,091,455
    Projection: Over the cap

    The Warriors’ total guaranteed salary of $102MM for next season looks modest at first glance. But that figure only accounts for seven players, and Kevin Durant isn’t one of them. Even if Durant is willing to sign for several million less than the max again, which is certainly no lock, re-signing him and then filling out the rest of their roster figures to take the Dubs into luxury-tax territory.

    Phoenix Suns
    Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $70,667,235
    Projection: Up to approximately $28MM in cap room

    While the Suns’ return in the Eric Bledsoe trade was widely viewed as underwhelming, the move did clear $15MM in guaranteed salary from the club’s 2018/19 cap, creating additional flexibility. Retaining Alan Williams – who has a non-guaranteed salary – and re-signing Alex Len would cut into the Suns’ cap space. However, neither of those moves are locks at this point, so Phoenix could get easily get to $25MM+ in cap room, and could potentially open up even more room by trading Jared Dudley and/or Tyson Chandler, who will be on expiring contracts next season.

    Sacramento Kings
    Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $68,252,577
    Projection: Up to approximately $33MM in cap room ($16MM if player options exercised)

    There have been no reports yet suggesting that Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple will exercise their player options for 2018/19, which are worth about $8.74MM and $8MM, respectively. The Kings should probably be preparing for that outcome though — neither player has a major role, and the free agent market won’t be as player-friendly as it was in 2016, when Koufos and Temple signed their current deals.

    If those options are exercised, the Kings’ guaranteed salaries will increase to about $85MM, limiting their cap flexibility. But they’ll also be able to dedicate that remaining cap room to a single player, if they so choose — assuming Koufos and Temple return, Sacramento would head into the offseason with 14 players under contract, not including draft picks.

    Los Angeles Clippers
    Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $59,880,133
    Projection: Up to approximately $31MM in cap room

    Only five Clippers players currently have fully guaranteed salaries for 2018/19, but there are several other candidates to return. For one, Patrick Beverley and his $5MM non-guaranteed salary will certainly be back — that’s a tremendous bargain for one of the league’s best defensive players, and our cap projection for the Clippers assumes he’ll be on the books at that price.

    Our cap projection doesn’t take into account any player options though, and four Clippers players hold those options for 2018/19. DeAndre Jordan, who figures to land a lucrative multiyear deal, will likely turn down his $24MM option, but Austin Rivers ($12.65MM), Milos Teodosic ($6.3MM), and Wesley Johnson ($6.1MM) are candidates to opt in. If all three of those players pick up their options and Beverley is retained, the Clips’ cap room will essentially disappear.

    Los Angeles Lakers
    Guaranteed 2018/19 team salary: $49,336,471
    Projection: Up to approximately $47.5MM in cap room

    The Lakers’ desire to open up two maximum-salary slots for the 2018 free agent period has been well publicized, but the team still has some work to do to achieve that goal. Based on a $101MM cap, maximum salaries for, say, LeBron James and Paul George would be worth a combined $65.65MM in 2018/19. L.A. remains about $18MM shy of that figure, even assuming the team renounces Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

    Of course, moving Luol Deng‘s $18MM salary would just about get the Lakers there, but finding a club willing to take on that deal without sending out any salary in return will be challenging, to say the least. Waiving and stretching Deng’s contract next July and dumping Jordan Clarkson‘s $12.5MM salary is probably a more realistic path for the Lakers to get into that range for two max deals.


    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[And-Ones: E. Okafor, Perkins, S. Brown, Wood]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79580 2017-11-16T19:59:48Z 2017-11-16T19:59:48Z Two NBA veterans have been among the most impressive G League standouts early in the season, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Emeka Okafor, 35, has spent the past four years recovering from surgery on a herniated disc in his neck. He joined the Sixers for training camp and opted to stay with the organization’s affiliate in Delaware. He is averaging 14.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game and is shooting better than 60% from the field.

    Kendrick Perkins was the Cavaliers’ final roster cut and went to Cleveland’s affiliate in Canton. He is averaging 13.0 points and 10.3 rebounds through three games. He has dropped weight and may still be able to help an NBA team at age 33.

    There’s more news from the NBA and the G League:

    • Today is an important day for four players who were claimed off waivers during the offseason, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. The BullsDavid Nwaba and Kay Felder, the HawksNicolas Brussino and the BucksDeAndre Liggins are all now eligible to be traded.
    • The Sixers used the remainder of this year’s cap space for the renegotiation/extension with Robert Covington, leaving just eight teams with cap room, according to Marks (Twitter link). They are the Bulls [$15.1MM], Mavericks [$12.5MM], Suns [$8.9MM], Pacers [$6.1MM], Kings [$4.3MM], Nets [$3.4MM], Hawks [$589K] and Magic [$549K].
    • Veteran guard Shannon Brown has been claimed from the G League player pool by the Wisconsin Herd, tweets Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days. The 31-year-old last played in the NBA in 2014, when he appeared in five games with the Heat.
    • Christian Wood has joined the Delaware 87ers as a returning player, according to Reichert (Twitter link). He played 13 games for the Hornets last year and ended the season in the G League.
    • International stars are having a greater impact on the NBA than ever before, writes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. Many of the league’s best young players hail from overseas, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kristaps Porzingis, both considered early-season MVP candidates, along with Ben SimmonsAndrew WigginsJoel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Ziller credits former commissioner David Stern for his focus on expanding the league to overseas markets. That strategy not only created more revenue, it exposed the NBA to an international audience and created a new reservoir of players.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Celtics Notes: Monroe, Okafor, Irving, Kerr]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79565 2017-11-16T17:00:18Z 2017-11-16T17:00:18Z The Celtics could become an option as Phoenix tries to find a taker for Greg Monroe, according to Chris Mannix of The Vertical. The Suns acquired Monroe in the Eric Bledsoe trade, but don’t have any long-term plans for the 27-year-old, who is on an expiring contract. Boston is getting by with Aron Baynes and rookie Daniel Theis at center, but the team might view Monroe as a better alternative.

    Mannix says the decision will come down to a choice of keeping the chemistry that has propelled the Celtics to a league best 13-2 record or going after a proven scorer and rebounder. There’s also the question of what Phoenix might want in return for Monroe, who hasn’t played since the trade was finalized. If he winds up agreeing to a buyout with the Suns, the Celtics have an $8.4MM disabled player exception that might be enough to bring Monroe to Boston.

    There’s more Celtics-related news this morning:

    • Boston’s preference is to hold onto the DPE through the buyout deadline to see which players become available, Mannix adds in the same story. That means the Celtics wouldn’t use it to acquire benched center Jahlil Okafor from the Sixers, although they remain interested in Okafor if he gets bought out.
    • Following a summer of change for Kyrie Irving, the star point guard is trying to prove to the league that he made the right choices, writes Chris Forsberg of ESPN. In addition to asking for a trade away from LeBron James and the three-time Eastern Conference champion Cavaliers, Irving switched his number to 11 and adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. The early results have been promising as he ranks third in the league in clutch-time scoring. “I feel absolutely amazing,” Irving said. “My energy, my sleeping patterns, just my intellect and everything that I’m awake to now — I’m very much aware. My awareness is a lot better now that I’m not eating all the GMOs and pesticides and all that they put in our food, man.”
    • The Celtics’ young talent has caught the attention of Steve Kerr, whose Warriors will be in Boston tonight, relays Chris Haynes of ESPN. The game is being hyped as a possible preview of the NBA Finals, and Kerr suggests that the Celtics could be in that position for many years to come. “It sure looks like Boston is the team of the future in the East,” he said, “with the assets that they still have and their young talent and their coaching, and Kyrie is amazing. “That looks like a team that is going to be at the top of the East for a long time to come. Whether their time is now or the future, that’s to be determined, but they sure look like they want it to be right now.”
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Nuggets Were Close To Eric Bledsoe Trade]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79558 2017-11-16T16:55:35Z 2017-11-16T14:57:57Z Denver was in the “red zone” on a potential trade for Eric Bledsoe last month, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN. Complete details aren’t provided, but Lowe believes Phoenix would have received Emmanuel Mudiay and a first-round pick.

    Negotiations with the Suns eventually fell apart and the Nuggets moved on, leaving them with an extremely young point guard duo in Mudiay and Jamal Murray.

    “We chase every opportunity to improve ourselves,” said Denver GM Tim Connelly, who refused to comment directly on the Bledsoe talks. “We’ve had a lot of excellent players offered to us for our young talent. There’s a fine line between overvaluing your own players and being too aggressive chasing short-term results.”

    The decision not to give up too much for Bledsoe is understandable, writes Lowe, who says he wouldn’t have made made the Nuggets title contenders this season or next. After that, he will be seeking a huge contract as a free agent in his 30s with a history of knee problems.

    Lowe also notes that Denver had an opportunity to make a run at Kyrie Irving over the summer, but refused to include Murray in a potential deal. He believes a package of Murray, Wilson Chandler and a minimally protected first-rounder would have gotten the Cavaliers’ attention.

    The experience issue at point guard was created just before the season started when the Nuggets elected to waive Jameer Nelson, who played 75 games last season and started 39. Denver worked out a deal to trade him to a lower-level team in exchange for a protected second-round pick, but pulled out because the front office didn’t want Nelson to be stuck on a team with no shot at the playoffs. He eventually signed with the Pelicans after clearing waivers.

    “It was tough to see Jameer go,” coach Mike Malone said. “The players trusted him. I find value in veteran mentors. In our meetings, of course I brought up all the reasons it made sense to keep him. But you have to think big picture. It wasn’t like I was kicking and screaming. By the end, we were all on board.”

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Devin Booker Talks Bledsoe, Hair Salon, More]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79355 2017-11-13T16:33:12Z 2017-11-13T16:33:12Z
  • In a Q&A session with Nick Friedell of ESPN.com, Suns guard Devin Booker discusses the trade that sent Eric Bledsoe out of Phoenix, becoming the face of the Suns, and several other topics. The highlight of the conversation may have been Booker’s “no comment” when asked about the hair salon that Bledsoe supposedly didn’t want to be at when he published his infamous tweet last month.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Derrick Jones Excels During G League Assignment]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79316 2017-11-13T19:44:07Z 2017-11-13T04:04:30Z
  • Prior to the Northern Arizona Suns’ Saturday game against Iowa, second-year forward Derrick Jones was assigned to the G League, according to a press release from the Suns. Jones played a big part in the club’s win last night, filling up the score sheet with 24 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Cavaliers Notes: Thompson, Monroe, Crowder, Smith]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79279 2017-11-12T18:09:57Z 2017-11-12T18:09:57Z The Cavaliers should offer Tristan Thompson to the Suns for Greg Monroe, suggests Sam Amico of AmicoHoops. Amico reported last night that Cleveland is interested in Monroe, who was traded from Milwaukee to Phoenix this week and apparently has no long-term future with the Suns. The 27-year-old has averaged 14.0 points and 8.7 rebounds throughout his career, but fell out of the rotation in Milwaukee and has appeared in just five games this season.

    Their salaries are similar, with Monroe making $17.8MM this year compared to Thompson’s $16.4MM, but Monroe has an expiring contract while Thompson is owed more than $36MM over the next two seasons. Acquiring Monroe would provide immediate help as Thompson is out for the next few weeks with a strained calf. Amico also notes that Thompson’s romantic involvement with actress Khloe Kardashian could bring an unwanted distraction to the Cavs’ locker room.

    There’s more news out of Cleveland:

    • Jae Crowder had a lot of adjustments to make during his first few weeks in Cleveland, notes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. One of the key pieces in the Kyrie Irving trade, Crowder has seen his role change several times in 13 games, starting at small forward and power forward and coming off the bench at both positions. Teammates have noticed how well Crowder has been able to handle all the different roles being thrown at him. “He’s such a huge X factor for us and can do so many things, it’s just tough because we’ve been asking him to play the 4, play the 3, guard the other team’s best player, score the basketball,” said Kevin Love. “He just has to find a way to go out there and play and compete because tonight that’s what he did and he was great for us.”
    • J.R. Smith seems comfortable in the starting lineup again, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Smith started the season in a reserve role after the signing of Dwyane Wade, but was reinserted as a starter after Wade asked to come off the bench. Smith struggled with his shot throughout October, but has strung together three straight games in double figures. “I’m shooting the same shots, it’s just, they’re starting to fall,” Smith said. “For whatever reason it is, just happened earlier. Being aggressive earlier, trying to put the ball on the floor, get to the basket. Trying to get to the free-throw line. Just trying to be more aggressive, as opposed to waiting for it to come to me.”
    • Kyle Korver, who re-signed with the Cavs for $22MM over three years, is providing more than just his play on the court, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. He is also serving as a shooting coach, helping Crowder and others with their mechanics.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Wolves Considered Mike James Before He Signed With Phoenix]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79267 2017-11-12T20:23:28Z 2017-11-12T03:53:16Z
  • The Timberwolves aren’t surprised by the success of Suns point guard Mike James, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Minnesota considered signing the 27-year-old before he agreed to a two-way contract with Phoenix in July.
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    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Cavaliers Have ‘Strong Interest’ In Greg Monroe]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79249 2017-11-11T22:55:59Z 2017-11-11T22:55:59Z With a shortage of big men, the Cavaliers have turned their attention toward Greg Monroe and are considering an offer to the Suns, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.

    The veteran power forward/center was shipped from Milwaukee to Phoenix this week as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The Suns reportedly don’t have any long-term plans for Monroe and would consider a buyout if they can’t move him in another deal.

    The 27-year-old is in the final year of his contract with a $17.8MM salary. In addition to providing an inside presence, Monroe is a “team-first player,” according to Amico, who would be willing to sacrifice his stats for the chance to rejoin a contender.

    Monroe appeared in just five games with the Bucks before the deal and had his minutes cut sharply to 15.8 per night. However, he is a proven scorer and rebounder who averaged 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 81 games last season, then raised those numbers to 13.2 and 7.3 in the playoffs.

    The Cavaliers need inside help after losing starting center Tristan Thompson to a strained left calf in a November 1 game. He was projected to miss three to four weeks, which puts him out for most of the month.

    It’s not clear what the Suns might ask in return for Monroe, but Iman Shumpert [$10,337,079] and Channing Frye [$7,420,912] provide an almost perfect salary match. Shumpert, who was on the trading block throughout the offseason, has a player option for next year worth slightly more than $11MM, while Frye, who spent three seasons with Phoenix early in his career, has an expiring deal.

    Amico adds that the Spurs and Nuggets have also expressed interest in Monroe.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/10/17]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79191 2017-11-11T05:04:35Z 2017-11-11T04:58:38Z Here are the G League moves from around the basketball world today:

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Woj: Suns Had Been Seeking Young Player And First-Rounder(s) For Bledsoe]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79167 2017-11-10T20:21:42Z 2017-11-10T20:21:42Z
  • According to Wojnarowski, the Suns were initially seeking a good young player and a first-round pick – or two – in exchange for Eric Bledsoe. Of course, the return Phoenix got from Milwaukee in exchange for Bledsoe didn’t come close to that. Bledsoe’s value had taken a hit because of the public nature of the situation, but Marks points out that most teams already have solid point guards and weren’t ready to make a major trade so early in the season, further limiting the Suns’ options.

  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Community Shootaround: Best Fit For Greg Monroe]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79155 2017-11-10T18:40:13Z 2017-11-10T18:40:13Z Veteran center Greg Monroe, who continues to recover from a calf injury, reported to his new team on Thursday, but he admits he doesn’t know whether he’ll actually suit up for the Suns, per Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Monroe said yesterday that he – along with agent David Falk – spoke briefly to Ryan McDonough, acknowledging to the Suns’ general manager that he recognizes he may not fit into the team’s plans.

    “I just told them I understand the plan they have in place and how they want to approach the season,” Monroe said. “I told them, ‘If you want me to play, I’ll always play. I’ll never be one not to want to play. If not, we’ll just work together and find the best option for everyone.’ But I’m more than happy to play here.”

    Although Monroe says he was “blindsided” by the trade that sent him from Milwaukee to Phoenix in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, he’s unlikely to be caught off guard a second time. The Suns have a logjam at center and a report on the heels of this week’s trade indicated that the club likely won’t keep Monroe through the 2017/18 season.

    Still, as I noted on Thursday, even though Monroe has an expiring contract, his $18MM salary won’t be easy to move, particularly if the Suns don’t want to take any future salary back. The Bucks had reportedly been exploring the trade market for Monroe off and on for the last year and hadn’t had much luck until this week, so there’s little reason to expect Phoenix to be able to find good value for the big man right away.

    If the Suns don’t find a viable deal soon for Monroe, they’ll probably hang onto him for a little while rather than jumping right into buyout talks, but buying him out remains a possibility. In that event, Monroe would certainly clear waivers and then would be free to sign with any team except the Bucks.

    What do you think? Is there a team out there that makes sense as a trade partner for the Suns in a Monroe deal? If he’s bought out, which club do you think would be the best fit for Monroe?

    Jump into the comment section below to weigh in!

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Five Trade Candidates Who May Be Difficult To Move]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79105 2017-11-09T18:58:33Z 2017-11-09T18:54:46Z While trade rumors generally don’t gain a ton of steam until a little closer to the deadline, several candidates to be moved have emerged in the opening weeks of the 2017/18 season. Eric Bledsoe was the first to be dealt, with the Suns finding a taker for him more than three months before this season’s trade deadline.

    However, with Bledsoe off the board, teams may find it difficult to find viable deals involving several of the other players on the trade block around the NBA. Several of the most noteworthy current trade candidates either have undesirable contracts or haven’t shown enough on-court value to make them worthwhile investments — or both.

    Here’s a breakdown of five players who teams may have trouble moving – or at least finding fair value for – in advance of the 2018 trade deadline:Luol Deng vertical

    1. Luol Deng, Lakers: Deng is in the second year of a four-year contract worth $72MM, one of the least team-friendly deals in the league. Deng is unhappy with his lack of a role in Los Angeles, and the Lakers – who want to clear enough cap room to make a run at multiple maximum-salary free agents in 2018, would love to accommodate a change of scenery for the veteran forward. As we heard earlier this week, the two sides are exploring trade or buyout possibilities. But trade interest is unsurprisingly “non-existent” and Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders suggests the Lakers don’t want to go the buyout route at this point unless Deng takes a huge discount, which his camp seems unwilling to do. So this situation remains in a holding pattern for now.
    2. Greg Monroe, Suns: Although Monroe can still be a productive player, he wasn’t a part of this week’s Bledsoe trade because of his on-court abilities — he was included because of his expiring contract. The Suns are reportedly unlikely to keep him through the season, but flipping him won’t be easy. Monroe is earning nearly $18MM this season, and it’s tricky to move a salary of that size without taking back a multiyear contract, something Phoenix isn’t all that interested in doing. There simply aren’t many teams that have a need for a player like Monroe and would have the ability to match up with what the Suns would want out of a deal.
    3. Tyson Chandler, Suns: If the Suns can’t find a viable deal for Monroe, finding one for Chandler won’t be any simpler. Chandler is a little more affordable than Monroe, at $13MM this season, but he has one more guaranteed year on his contract for 2018/19. A team desperate for rim protection and veteran leadership could be willing to take on his contract, but the Suns may need to sweeten the deal with a draft pick or another asset. Considering Chandler isn’t unhappy in Phoenix, it may make more sense to just be patient and wait until the offseason to seriously attempt to move him.
    4. Nikola Mirotic, Bulls: Forced to take sides in the Mirotic/Bobby Portis altercation, the Bulls’ locker room and front office appear to be united — they’re with Portis. It may seem counter-intuitive that the player on the receiving end of a punch that caused multiple facial fractures is now on the outs, but Portis has seemingly said and done all the right things since delivering that blow, and his dedication and work ethic are highly valued in the Bulls’ locker room. Understandably, Mirotic no longer wants any part of the situation, but he can’t be traded until January 15. And even when he becomes trade-eligible, the 26-year-old may not have a lot of value — he’s earning $12.5MM, and has provided inconsistent production throughout his first three NBA seasons. Plus, if he’s truly as culpable in the incident with Portis as the Bulls have suggested, suitors may have personality concerns.
    5. Jahlil Okafor, Sixers: Unlike the other players on this list, Okafor isn’t expensive — he’s earning just $5MM this season. He also isn’t past his prime, like Deng and Chandler. In fact, at age 21, he almost certainly hasn’t reached his prime yet. For those reasons, Okafor may not be difficult to trade, but the Sixers will have a very hard time extracting what they perceive to be fair value for 2015’s third overall pick. Okafor can’t crack Philadelphia’s rotation, and there are serious concerns about his defensive ability, limiting his appeal. Because the Sixers declined his $6.3MM option for 2018/19, Okafor also can’t receive a contract offer worth more than $6.3MM from the team that acquires him, and he’ll be an unrestricted free agent, meaning he may just end up being a rental. A club is unlikely to surrender much for that.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns Notes: Chandler, Triano, Monroe, Jones]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79101 2017-11-09T17:41:26Z 2017-11-09T17:41:26Z In the wake of Eric Bledsoe‘s now-infamous “I don’t wanna be here” tweet on the first weekend of the 2017/18 season, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough received a call from Jeff Schwartz, Tyson Chandler‘s agent, and admitted to ESPN’s Zach Lowe that he was expecting the worst when he got that voicemail.

    “Given the way our season had started, it wouldn’t have been shocking if Tyson wanted to be moved,” McDonough said.

    However, Schwartz expressed the opposite sentiment, assuring McDonough that his client was “fine” and enjoys mentoring the young players in Phoenix. “It was a breath of fresh air,” the Suns GM said. Chandler remains a trade candidate, since he probably doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans, but unlike Bledsoe, he’s in no rush to leave.

    Lowe’s deep dive into the Suns – which is worth checking out in full – includes several more tidbits out of Phoenix, including some details on the changes that Jay Triano has made since replacing Earl Watson. Triano, who has been focused on accountability, has impressed the Suns so far and has a change to earn the head coaching job on a permanent basis, per McDonough.

    Here’s more on the Suns:

    • Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic passes along more comments from McDonough, who said after Tuesday’s Bledsoe trade that the move could speed up the team’s timeline. As Bordow details, even though McDonough suggested that Phoenix has the flexibility to make a major roster addition in 2018, he said multiple times that the club is “more likely” to pursue a top free agent in 2019.
    • Within Bordow’s piece, McDonough also talks about the newest Sun, Greg Monroe, indicating that he’s open to a trade but that a buyout is less likely. The Suns GM intends to discuss all the possibilities with Monroe’s agent, David Falk.
    • The Suns’ vice president of basketball operations, James Jones, is taking many of the lessons he learned during his years as a player in Miami and applying them to his new job in Phoenix, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[McDonough: Bledsoe Trade Could Speed Up Timeline]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79068 2017-11-09T14:08:34Z 2017-11-09T02:27:21Z The Suns got off to wretched start to the season and they didn’t wait long at all to make changes with an eye on turning the franchise’s fortunes around. Phoenix fired coach Earl Watson, something that upset Eric Bledsoe, and just weeks later, the team dealt the point guard to the Bucks.

    GM Ryan McDonough believes the Bledsoe trade put the team in position to make a “compelling offer for a superstar,” as Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic passes along. The executive adds that if the organization wants “to be a player in 2018 and speed up our timeline a little bit, we’re able to do that as well.”

    The Suns have could have as many as three first-round picks in the 2018 draft. They will receive Milwaukee’s 2018 first if it falls between No. 11 and No. 16, and they possess Miami’s first-rounder from the Goran Dragic, though the selection is top-seven protected.

    If recent history is any indication of the trade market, dealing for a star does not require the kind of haul it has in previous years. Outside of the Kyrie Irving trade, one can argue that nearly every All-Star that switched teams over the past year via trade did so at a discounted price.

    The Pelicans brought in DeMarcus Cousins for a lottery pick and a young prospect. The Bulls landed Jimmy Butler for a pair of guards with potential and the ability to move up nine slots in the 2017 draft. The Rockets only had to surrender a few solid NBA players in addition to a first-rounder in the Chris Paul trade. The Thunder landed Paul George for two players who each may never make an All-Star team (though, if Victor Oladipo‘s hot start continues, he’ll make a case for one this season) and they reeled in Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks for an Enes Kanter-headlined package.

    Each of those deals had various circumstances to why the price was so low. However, had each of those players not been in their respective situations, the top talent would have likely never even been on the market.

    Phoenix had the assets to make competitive offers for each of those stars and stood pat. After the Bledsoe deal, they maintain the ability to get involved should another star become available. However, it’s possible that the string of deals were more situation-based coincidences than a sign that new trend is emerging in the market for stars.

    The trade adds to the Suns’ cupboard, though the increased flexibility doesn’t guarantee that the team is any closer to competing for a playoff seed in the West. McDonough’s talk of an improved timeline may be legit or it could simply be him masking a one-sided trade.

    Do you buy what McDonough is selling? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below and let us know how you would proceed if you were sitting in the GM’s chair. We look forward to what you have to say!

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns Recall Derrick Jones From G League]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79054 2017-11-08T20:33:32Z 2017-11-08T20:33:32Z
  • One day after being assigned to the Northern Arizona Suns, Derrick Jones has been recalled to the NBA by the Suns, says Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Eric Bledsoe Leftovers: Quotes, Reactions, More]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79048 2017-11-08T19:25:01Z 2017-11-08T17:58:35Z Speaking to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Eric Bledsoe opened up about the trade that sent him to Milwaukee, expressing excitement about playing for a future Hall-of-Famer in Jason Kidd, and alongside a current superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo. Bledsoe also admitted that the Suns sitting him at the end of last season played a part in souring him on his situation in Phoenix, since he felt he was “100% healthy.” Still, he says he has no hard feeling about how things played out.

    “I felt like with where the team was headed, it was time for me to move on,” Bledsoe said of the Suns. “They’ve got an amazing, young, talented team, and I feel like it was time for me to find a better situation for my career. It had nothing to do with anything the Suns had going on. I made the decision that this was best for me.”

    With Bledsoe poised to make his debut for the Bucks later this week, let’s round up a few more grades, reactions, and leftover notes on Tuesday’s trade:

    • Malcolm Brogdon, who may see his role altered as a result of Bledsoe’s arrival, tells Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders that losing Monroe “is definitely a negative for us.” However, he likes Bledsoe’s game too. “Having another guard that can really create his own shot, get downhill and make plays—I think that will definitely help us,” Brogdon said.
    • While Bledsoe should fit the mold of the Bucks‘ “long-armed and athletic” roster, he likely won’t do much to solve the club’s spacing issues, writes Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post in his assessment of the deal.
    • The Bucks are the clear winners of the swap, in the view of Charles Curtis of USA Today, who suggests the Suns‘ return for a player of Bledsoe’s caliber was absolutely terrible.” Jeremy Woo of SI.com was less harsh on the Suns’ side of the trade, but agrees that the Bucks were the winners, while ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (Insider link) is somewhat lukewarm on the deal for both sides.
    • The merits of the trade for the Suns and Bucks are debatable, but Bledsoe himself is the clear winner, says Steve Aschburner of NBA.com.
    • The Suns haven’t made the postseason since 2010, and now they’ve further postponed the timeline on their rebuild, writes Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com, who suggests that the fans in Phoenix deserve better from the franchise.
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns Have Interest In Jahlil Okafor]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79044 2017-11-08T16:00:24Z 2017-11-08T16:00:24Z The Suns have shown interest in trade candidate Jahlil Okafor, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski notes within his report on Greg Monroe‘s future in Phoenix.

    As Wojnarowski details, Okafor likely isn’t a fit for the Suns at the moment, with Monroe joining Tyson Chandler and Alex Len to create a crowded depth chart at center. However, both Monroe and Chandler are trade candidates, and Len is only on a one-year contract, so it’s not as if Phoenix has its center position set for years to come.

    The Suns currently have a full 15-man roster and will need to open up a roster spot by December 6 in order to convert Mike James‘ two-way contract to a standard NBA deal. As such, it’s not clear if the team will have the flexibility to make a play for Okafor. The Sixers are reportedly uninterested in taking on salary for the 2018/19 season, which limits Phoenix’s potential trade options.

    Okafor confirmed last week that he’s seeking a trade or buyout from Philadelphia, but the Sixers appear to be in no rush to make a move, recognizing that his value has a chance to increase in the event of an injury, or closer to the trade deadline. The Bulls and Hawks have been cited as possible suitors for the former third overall pick, with the Celtics viewed as a viable option as well. The Bucks could also be an intriguing fit for Okafor after they dealt Monroe.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Bucks GM Jon Horst Talks Eric Bledsoe Trade]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79041 2017-11-08T14:52:45Z 2017-11-08T14:52:45Z Bucks general manager Jon Horst went through his first summer as the head of basketball operations in Milwaukee this year, taking the reins in mid-June and guiding the team through the rest of the offseason. However, as our Offseason in Review piece on the Bucks detailed, Horst didn’t exactly make any major splashes in his first few months as GM. The team didn’t sign any outside free agents, and its only two trades involving sending or receiving cash in exchange for a draft pick.

    As such, Tuesday’s acquisition of Eric Bledsoe represented Horst’s first major move as general manager of the Bucks, as he sent Greg Monroe and a pair of draft picks to Phoenix in exchange for the play-making point guard. After completing the deal, Horst sat down with Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to discuss the move. The Q&A is worth reading in full, but here are a few highlights from the Bucks’ GM:

    On why the Bucks made the move for Bledsoe:

    “I think this was the right deal because we were able to add someone that’s dynamic, another dynamic player that can score the ball, that can play-make for others, that has defensive toughness, athleticism and strength. And we were able to do that with effectively giving up one of the pieces of our core, as we’ve talked about publicly. Also, the Bucks DNA thing we’ve talked about is real. He is a high-character guy, highly talented, he has positional versatility, he can play on the ball and off the ball and he’s got great toughness.”

    On whether Bledsoe’s messy split with the Suns gave the Bucks any pause:

    “No, because with everything we do we do our due diligence. In surveying the league and getting that information, to a person everyone thinks very highly of Eric. … I think he was in a tough situation. We had a franchise that was trying to go in one direction, a player that wanted to be competitive in a different direction and those two things pulled at each other and it kind of resulted in what we all saw. That was of very little consideration for us, really all through this.”

    On whether Bledsoe is a better fit than Monroe for the modern NBA:

    “I think players like Greg Monroe have a role in this NBA without a doubt. So I don’t really buy into that. I do think Eric fits into a style of play that maybe we want to try to be a little bit quicker, up-tempo, more aggressive defensively and offensively and I think he can help us do that. I don’t think Greg is a dying breed or anything like that.”

    On how the Bucks will handle their reduced depth at center after moving Monroe:

    “The same way that we handled approaching and getting Eric Bledsoe. We’re turning over every stone, we’re going to look at every option. We increased a little bit of financial flexibility this year in the deal, which will allow us to kind of be more active in discussions and addressing things. But John (Henson) has been playing at a really high level, Thon (Maker) was very productive last year and is playing well this year. We don’t mind giving D.J. (Wilson) some minutes. Joel Bolomboy is a guy that we’re intrigued by and we’re going to look for opportunities for him. We’ll consider that, we’ll look for that, but in the short term we’re fine as is. We’re not going to rush into anything.”

    Chris Crouse <![CDATA[Suns Unlikely To Keep Greg Monroe Through Season]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=79001 2017-11-08T06:19:16Z 2017-11-08T00:53:46Z The Suns acquired Greg Monroe in the Eric Bledsoe trade earlier today, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com, the team will likely explore trading the big man.

    Wojnarowski hears that it’s unlikely Monroe remains on the Suns’ roster through the season. Phoenix has not yet had conversations with Monroe about a buyout agreement, preferring to parse the trade market in order to get something in return for the center.

    CBA rules don’t prohibit the Suns from flipping Monroe immediately after acquiring him from the Bucks. If Phoenix intends to aggregate Monroe’s salary with another player’s salary for matching purposes, the team would have to wait two months to make a deal, but that shouldn’t be an issue, given Monroe’s sizable contract and the Suns’ excess cap room.

    Monroe, 27, remains sidelined with a calf injury and he isn’t expected to return to the court until next week. During the five games he played with the Bucks, he saw a total of 79 minutes where he accumulated 34 points and 25 rebounds.

    Monroe, who will make $17.88MM this season, is in the final year of a three-year, $50MM pact in which he signed with Milwaukee back in the summer of 2015.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns Assign Derrick Jones To G League]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78978 2017-11-08T14:30:04Z 2017-11-07T23:23:59Z
  • Second-year forward Derrick Jones has been sent to the Northern Arizona Suns, according to a press release issued today by Phoenix. The Suns’ affiliate doesn’t play its next game until Thursday, so we’ll see if Jones’ assignment lasts that long.
  • ]]>
    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns Trade Eric Bledsoe To Bucks]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78955 2017-11-07T22:07:42Z 2017-11-07T22:03:57Z The Suns and Bucks have finalized a trade that sends Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee in exchange for Greg Monroe, a 2018 first-round pick, and a 2018 second-round pick. Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN first reported the deal, which has now been officially confirmed by both the Suns and Bucks.NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns

    Bledsoe had been publicly on the trade block since the first weekend of the season, when he published a tweet that read “I don’t wanna be here” after the Suns lost their first three games. The veteran point guard had previously – and privately – expressed a desire to be traded, and Phoenix had explored potential deals at that time. However, Bledsoe’s tweet forced the issue, and the team responded by sending him home and pursuing deals more aggressively.

    Bledsoe, who will turn 28 next month, is coming off a career year for the Suns in 2016/17. He recorded 21.1 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 66 contests (all starts) before the team shut him down as part of its tanking effort down the stretch. The Suns’ handling of Bledsoe at the end of the season is likely one reason why the former first-round pick wasn’t thrilled with his situation this year.

    As trade rumors swirled around Bledsoe, the Bucks were frequently cited as a potential suitor, with Milwaukee and Denver viewed as the most likely landing spots for the disgruntled point guard. So far this season, Malcolm Brogdon has been playing regular minutes at the point guard spot for the Bucks, with Matthew Dellavedova getting the backup minutes and Giannis Antetokounmpo also assuming some ball-handling duties in a point forward role. With Bledsoe entering the mix, Brogdon may begin to see more action at the two.

    From an on-court perspective, Monroe doesn’t seem like a fit in Phoenix, considering the team’s frontcourt is already pretty crowded. Alex Len and Tyson Chandler are the Suns’ current centers, though Chandler is a trade candidate. Even if the club hangs onto Chandler, the unbalanced roster isn’t a major issue, since the Suns aren’t in win-now mode. It will be more interesting to see if the Bucks’ frontcourt holds up without Monroe, who played well last season. Milwaukee has been leaning more heavily on John Henson, Mirza Teletovic, and Thon Maker while Monroe has been sidelined with a calf injury.

    Monroe is earning $17,884,176 this season and is in the final year of his contract, while Bledsoe is making $14.5MM and has one additional year left at $15MM. The deal will reduce Milwaukee’s team salary by more than $3MM, moving the club comfortably away from the luxury tax threshold. The Bucks will also get a trade exception worth $3,384,176.

    However, the team now has about $106MM on its books for 2018/19, without taking into account a qualifying offer or a new contract for Jabari Parker, who will be a restricted free agent. If the Bucks hope to re-sign Parker, they may need to move another contract to avoid becoming a taxpayer.

    As for the Suns, they won’t mind taking on a little extra money in the swap, since they still have a significant chunk of cap room. The deal should get their team salary above the required floor for 2017/18, and by trading Bledsoe for Monroe, the Suns also remove $15MM in guaranteed salary from their books for 2018/19, increasing their flexibility to make moves next summer.

    Finally, the two draft picks included in the deal include some unusual protections. As first reported by Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), the second-rounder is top-47 protected. If the second-rounder doesn’t change hands in 2018, it appears the Bucks’ obligation relating to that pick would be extinguished.

    As for the first-rounder, the Suns have confirmed the details initially reported by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter links), who describes the protection on that pick as follows:

    • Suns receive pick in 2018 it falls between Nos. 11 and 16.
    • If Suns don’t receive 2018 pick, they’ll receive pick in 2019 if it falls between Nos. 4 and 16.
    • If Suns don’t receive 2019 pick, they’ll receive 2020 pick (top-7 protected).
    • If Suns still haven’t received pick after 2020, they’ll receive unprotected 2021 pick.

    In addition to potentially landing Milwaukee’s pick in 2018, Phoenix will have its own first-rounder and Miami’s (top-seven protected) for next year’s draft.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Trade Notes: Suns, Bucks, Bledsoe, Monroe, Okafor]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78972 2017-11-07T18:25:08Z 2017-11-07T18:25:08Z Major early-November NBA trades are rare, but the Suns and Bucks are on the verge of completing one, having agreed in principle to a trade that will send Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee. Greg Monroe is heading to Phoenix as part of that deal, along with the Bucks’ 2018 first-round pick and 2018 second-round pick.

    Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times (Twitter link) expressed some surprised that Tyson Chandler wasn’t involved in the trade, since he’s a good friend of Jason Kidd, who has wanted Chandler on his roster in the past. However, Chandler is earning $13MM and is under contract next year as well, so the Bucks would have had to add another substantial salary to the deal to make that happen.

    Meanwhile, Chris Haynes of ESPN observes (via Twitter) that the Suns finalized the agreement just when Bledsoe was about to return to the club’s facility to work out, which was either a fortuitous coincidence or a sign that the team really had no interest in having him around.

    Here’s more on the Bledsoe trade:

    • Monroe and his $17MM+ contract appear to be functioning primarily as salary filler to complete this deal, but the Suns have yet to decide whether to keep, trade, or release him, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. If Phoenix buys out Monroe, the big man would be an “obvious candidate” to sign with the Celtics or Thunder, says Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post (Twitter link).
    • After trading Monroe, the Bucks look like a match made in heaven for Jahlil Okafor, argues Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype.
    • While Bledsoe didn’t have a strong preference for where he ended up, Milwaukee was at the top of his wish list, according to Gambadoro, who says the point guard is looking forward to playing with Giannis Antetokounmpo (Twitter links).
    • Because today’s trade is a one-for-one swap in terms of players, the Suns will still have to open up a roster spot within the next month in order to convert Mike James‘ two-way contract to a standard NBA deal, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).
    • The acquisition of Bledsoe doesn’t come without a good deal of risk for the Bucks, given the point guard’s injury history, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News.
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Eric Bledsoe Fined $10K For Tweet]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78843 2017-11-06T14:27:03Z 2017-11-05T18:54:08Z 12:54pm: Bledsoe will return to the Suns’ facility this week and begin working with staff members, tweets Shams Charania of The Vertical. Bledose won’t rejoin the team, but he will use the facility to remain in game shape in anticipation of a trade (Twitter link).

    12:07pm: Suns guard Eric Bledsoe received a $10K fine from the league for the tweet that sparked trade talks and led to his dismissal from the team, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

    Bledsoe, who reportedly asked Suns management to trade him during the preseason, hasn’t played since sending out a tweet that read, “I Dont wanna be here” on October 22. Bledsoe denied the message had anything to do with the team and said it was directed at a hair salon, but GM Ryan McDonough didn’t believe that explanation. Bledsoe was sent home the next day and hasn’t rejoined the team.

    As Bobby Marks of ESPN noted (via Twitter) when Bledsoe first published his tweet, the NBA has the ability to penalize a player for a “public statement detrimental to the NBA,” and issued an identical $10K fine to Markieff Morris two years ago when Morris publicly demanded a trade out of Phoenix.

    The Suns have been listening to trade offers for the 27-year-old Bledsoe, but haven’t found one to their liking. A rumored deal this week involving the Pistons and Reggie Jackson has apparently fallen through.

    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Pistons' Front Office Says Nothing To Jackson Trade Rumors]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78815 2017-11-05T01:47:18Z 2017-11-05T01:47:18Z
  • Two front office sources from the Pistons confirmed to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press that the organization has no plans to trade Reggie Jackson for Eric Bledsoe. One source said there was no substance to the rumored deal, while another confirmed communication between the Pistons and Suns but indicated a trade is unlikely.
  • ]]>
    Arthur Hill <![CDATA[Cavaliers Notes: Bledsoe, Okafor, Wade, Irving]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78803 2017-11-04T23:16:23Z 2017-11-04T23:16:23Z The Cavaliers were among the teams mentioned when the Eric Bledsoe trade request first went public, but Cleveland should pass on the Suns guard, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. In response to a reader’s question, Vardon says Bledsoe doesn’t solve the Cavs’ need for shooters and his desire to start would muddle an already crowded backcourt.

    Bledsoe shot 43% from the floor and 34% from 3-point range last season and wouldn’t stretch opposing defenses the way the Cavaliers need. Bledsoe and LeBron James were workout partners this summer, so they have a connection, but Vardon doesn’t expect Cleveland to offer any significant assets. Phoenix is looking for young talent and valuable draft picks, and apart from Brooklyn’s unprotected first-rounder, the Cavs don’t have much to offer in those areas.

    Sources also tell Vardon the team isn’t interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor.

    There’s more today out of Cleveland:

    • Dwyane Wade won’t rejoin the starting lineup before Isaiah Thomas returns from his hip injury, Vardon adds in the same piece. With Derrick Rose at point guard, the Cavaliers need J.R. Smith starting beside him to provide a 3-point threat. Smith is averaging 5.2 points in nine games this season and struggling with his shot, hitting just .209 from long distance, but he has a history as an effective 3-point shooter. Wade, who hasn’t been much better at .222, started three games at the beginning of the year before asking to be moved to a reserve role.
    • Cleveland hasn’t figured out how to handle the loss of Kyrie Irving, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Irving played a key role in winning three straight Eastern Conference titles and posted a career-best 25.2 points per game last season to go with 5.8 assists. He gave the offense an explosive quality that has been missing so far this year. “One thing I did notice at Miami, teams were afraid of us a little bit,” Wade said in comparing his old Heat teams with the Cavs. “Ain’t nobody afraid. Maybe at some point it will get there, but not right now. Everyone’s playing free, it’s early in the year, and everything’s going right for everybody but us. And we’ve got to figure it out.”
    • Coach Tyronn Lue has expressed a desire to “play with pace,” but Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com isn’t convinced that’s the best approach for the NBA’s oldest team.
    Mark Suleymanov <![CDATA[John Wall Understands Eric Bledsoe's Standoff With Suns]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78756 2017-11-04T17:02:44Z 2017-11-04T16:19:56Z
  • John Wall understands the predicament his former Kentucky teammate, Eric Bledsoe, is in with the Suns, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “Eric’s situation was that they had some great pieces and some great teams. [Markieff Morris] was with him over there. They had a season where they almost made the playoffs with 48 wins and they didn’t make it.” Wall said. “He’s going into his eighth year and he hasn’t made the playoffs [since 2013]. The team is getting younger and younger and he wants to get out of there and get to a team where he can make the playoffs.”
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    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Mike James Makes Case To Have His Two-Way Deal Converted]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78748 2017-11-04T03:52:43Z 2017-11-04T03:52:43Z
  • After breaking into the Suns rotation and carving out a role as the team’s starting point guard, 27-year-old rookie Mike James could see his two-way contract converted into a standard deal, Benny Nadeau of Basketball Insiders writes. The two-way contract that he signed over the offseason, of course, limits James’ NBA service to 45 days.
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    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Tyson Chandler Won't Demand Trades, Discusses Eric Bledsoe]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78737 2017-11-03T23:58:59Z 2017-11-03T23:58:59Z
  • Don’t expect 17-year veteran Tyson Chandler to demand a trade out of Phoenix, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes in an excellent feature. The 35-year-old Suns big man may be on a different timeline than the rest of the franchise but doesn’t plan on forcing his way out of town. He spoke about teammate Eric Bledsoe who, well, has. “I’m not surprised about that. I kind of saw that stuff coming,” Chandler said. “He’s in a different place than I’m in. He’s in the prime of his career. Everything that happened last season and then rolling over into the summer, of course, I felt like it could’ve been handled differently. But I understand his stance and I understand it’s his career. He’s got to eat. He ultimately has to make his own decisions, as a man.”
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[SVG: Pistons Not Trading Jackson For Bledsoe]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78718 2017-11-03T17:58:11Z 2017-11-03T17:58:11Z After trade rumors surrounding Eric Bledsoe and Reggie Jackson swirled on Thursday, Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy once again assured his starting point guard that no deal is in the works, as Rod Beard of The Detroit News details.

    “It was crazy yesterday,” Van Gundy said on Friday. “I left practice yesterday and there’s a rumor out on Reggie and Bledsoe so I had to get home and call Reggie and say we’re not trading you for Bledsoe. I don’t usually address all of them, but it’s early in the (season). You can’t address all of them at the trade deadline, but I felt the need to address this.”

    Van Gundy acknowledged that Pistons general manager Jeff Bower is active when it comes to reaching out about trade possibilities and doing his due diligence. However, SVG confirmed that a rumored deal involving the Pistons, Suns, and Pelicans – described yesterday as “dead’ – doesn’t have legs. The hypothetical three-team swap would have seen the Pistons give up Jackson and a first-round pick in exchange for Bledsoe.

    For the Pistons, it’s a situation eerily reminiscent of one that took place last January. At that time, reports linked the Pistons and Jackson to a possible Ricky Rubio trade, and Van Gundy publicly denied that such a deal would happen. He was right about that, and there’s no reason to believe he’s misleading reporters and fans about the possibility of a Bledsoe deal either.

    Still, the fact that Van Gundy keeps having to come out and shoot down reports involving Jackson suggests that the Pistons continue to explore possible point guard deals, even with the 27-year-old off to a strong start this season. For his part, Jackson says he’s not worried about his name popping up in trade rumors once again.

    “I don’t pay attention and really don’t care (about rumors),” Jackson said. “I’m still in Detroit and still here to compete and make my team the best it can be. If something else happens, it happens. That’s not something I’m concerned about.”

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Pelicans, Suns, Pistons Discussed Bledsoe Trade]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78618 2017-11-03T00:45:12Z 2017-11-02T23:28:05Z 6:28pm: It turns out the third team involved in the Bledsoe/Jackson trade discussion was New Orleans. Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated writes that the Suns would have landed Detroit’s 2019 first-round pick, New Orleans’ 2018 first-round pick, Alexis Ajinca, and Omer Asik. Jackson would have gone to the Pelicans in that scenario. The talks are now “dead,” the report states.

    2:25pm: According to Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, the Pistons offered the Suns a package including Jackson and a first-round pick for Bledsoe.

    12:06pm: If they make a deal with the Pistons, the Suns would prefer to get a third team involved to take Jackson, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    It makes sense that the rebuilding Suns wouldn’t want to absorb Jackson’s contract, which runs through 2019/20, but involving a third or fourth team typically makes trades more difficult to complete, so we’ll see if this goes anywhere.

    11:39am: The Pistons should be added to the list of teams that have exhibited interest in disgruntled Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). However, Stein cautions (via Twitter) that for a deal to appeal to Phoenix, the Pistons would have to attach additional pieces to Reggie Jackson.

    Shortly after Bledsoe publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with his situation in Phoenix a week and a half ago, the Suns sent him home and began aggressively seeking a trade. At that point, it seemed as if the Suns may resolve the situation quickly, but GM Ryan McDonough said this week that there’s no timetable for a Bledsoe deal, suggesting the team isn’t rushing to get something done.

    Reports last week indicated that the Nuggets and Bucks might be the most likely landing spots for Bledsoe, but Jamal Murray and Emmanuel Mudiay have played well lately for Denver, and Malcolm Brogdon – whom the Suns would reportedly target – is off to a good start in Milwaukee. As such, the Suns may be looking to engage other teams in trade discussions.

    The Pistons would be an interesting trade partner. It’s worth noting that the Suns were said to have expressed “strong” interest in Andre Drummond back in June. Jake Fischer of SI.com, who initially reported Phoenix’s interest in Drummond, tweeted today that Bledsoe’s name was part of those discussions as well.

    For what it’s worth, Detroit has been linked to multiple point guard trade candidates over the course of the year, including Kyrie Irving in August and Ricky Rubio back in January. Those rumors never led to anything real, so it’s possible Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons are just doing their due diligence again here. However, the fact that they’ve kicked the tires on so many other point guards may also suggest they’re open to moving on from Jackson.

    After enjoying a career year in 2015/16, Jackson struggled through an injury-plagued 2016/17 campaign. He’s off to a good start this season, averaging 16.4 PPG and 6.0 APG through eight games.

    Austin Kent <![CDATA[Robert Sarver Has 'Zero Interest' In Selling Team]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78648 2017-11-02T20:44:27Z 2017-11-02T20:59:18Z
  • Contrary to a Washington Post report that suggested Suns owner Robert Sarver was looking to sell the franchise, the executive has “zero interest” in cashing out, Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic writes. Sarver bought the team for $401MM in 2004 and it’s now, per Forbes, valued north of $1B.
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    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Jahlil Okafor]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78611 2017-11-02T15:03:36Z 2017-11-02T15:03:36Z Having turned down Jahlil Okafor‘s request for a buyout, the Sixers remain focused on finding a trade involving the third-year big man, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

    According to Wojnarowski, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo is determined to land some sort of “asset” in an Okafor deal. However, a trade may ultimately revolve around future second-round picks in exchange for Okafor, league sources tell Wojnarowski.

    It has been a busy week on the Okafor front. We heard last Friday that the 76ers are working Okafor’s camp to try to find a workable trade, but the club wasn’t able to find a deal before the rookie scale option deadline on Tuesday. Philadelphia declined Okafor’s option for 2018/19, which prompted him to ask for a buyout, as he confirmed on Wednesday. The former third overall pick further expressed his frustration with his current situation in a conversation with reporters.

    The Celtics have been mentioned as a possible destination for Okafor, but a few other teams have displayed interest in the 21-year-old as a “reclamation project,” per Wojnarowski. Woj’s report suggests that an Eric Bledsoe trade may help create the “moving parts around the league” necessary to pave the way for an Okafor deal. While it’s not clear if the Suns have interest in Okafor, Woj does note that they’re monitoring the situation in Philadelphia.

    Luke Adams <![CDATA[Suns GM: No Timetable For Eric Bledsoe Trade]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78431 2017-10-31T15:16:04Z 2017-10-31T15:16:04Z With the Suns in Brooklyn to face the Nets tonight, Eric Bledsoe will miss his fourth straight game, and he may end up sitting out many more. According to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic, Suns GM Ryan McDonough said this week that there’s no timetable for a Bledsoe trade, suggesting the team isn’t rushing to get anything done.

    “We are open to doing a deal whenever the best offer presents itself,” McDonough said. “Any other comments or thoughts from me would be pure speculation at this point.”

    The 2017/18 regular season is only two weeks old, so there are unlikely to be any teams desperate enough to improve their existing offers for Bledsoe at this point. Additionally, as Bordow notes, some potential trade partners may be able to make more competitive offers when trade restrictions lift on certain players on December 15.

    Of course, the two teams most frequently mentioned as potential landing spots for Bledsoe are Denver and Milwaukee, and neither the Nuggets nor the Bucks were very active in free agency over the offseason, so they’re not limited by many trade restrictions at this point.

    In any case, since the Suns have no real playoff aspirations this season, there’s not much downside in being patient and hoping that the offers for Bledsoe improve. Phoenix will have to continue paying its disgruntled point guard while he remains away from the club, but team salary is currently below the required floor anyway, so paying Bledsoe isn’t having a real impact on the Suns’ bottom line.

    Dana Gauruder <![CDATA[Alex Len Pumps Up His Value]]> https://www.hoopsrumors.com/?p=78409 2017-10-31T16:35:02Z 2017-10-31T03:33:17Z Suns center Alex Len didn’t receive an offer sheet as a restricted free agent this summer but he’s pumping up his value during the early going, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. Len is averaging 10.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG and one scout told Bordow that Len could receive a four-year deal worth up to $15MM per season if he continues his strong play. Len signed his qualifying offer of $4.2MM in late September after his unsuccessful foray into restricted free agency.