Jordan Goodwin

Contract Details: Bitim, Evbuomwan, Funk, Spencer, Hagans, Goodwin

Onuralp Bitim‘s new standard contract with the Bulls covers two seasons beyond this one, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). The three-year deal is guaranteed for the rest of this season but is non-guaranteed in years two and three, Scotto notes.

The Bulls used $500K of their mid-level exception to give Bitim a rest-of-season salary worth more than the rookie minimum, Hoops Rumors has learned. And while the Turkish wing isn’t owed any guaranteed money beyond this season, he can earn a partial guarantee worth $350K if he’s still under contract by the start of the 2024/25 regular season.

Here are more details on a few contracts recently signed around the NBA:

  • Like fellow signee Buddy Boeheim, Tosan Evbuomwan agreed to a two-year two-way contract with the Pistons, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Both players received partial guarantees for 2024/25, but those guarantees are very modest (projected to be worth approximately $78K) and won’t count against the cap, so they don’t necessarily assure either player of starting next season on Detroit’s 18-man roster.
  • Andrew Funk‘s two-way contract with the Bulls and Pat Spencer‘s two-way deal with the Warriors each run through the 2024/25 season as well, according to Smith and Scotto (Twitter links).
  • Conversely, the two-way contracts that Ashton Hagans signed with the Trail Blazers and Jordan Goodwin signed with the Grizzlies are both just rest-of-season deals, Hoops Rumors has learned. As a result, Hagans and Goodwin will be eligible for restricted free agency this summer.

Grizzlies Release Gilyard, Sign Goodwin To Two-Way Deal

The Grizzlies have released Jacob Gilyard and filled his two-way spot by signing Jordan Goodwin, the team announced in a press release (via Twitter).

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report the moves (Twitter link), noting that Gilyard made a “positive impression” on Memphis despite being waived. He initially signed a two-way deal with the Grizzlies last April, making one appearance as a rookie in 2022/23.

Players on two-way contracts can only be active for 50 NBA games in a season. As we relayed a few days ago, Gilyard — a 5’9″ point guard who went undrafted in 2022 out of Richmond — was nearly at the 50-game limit, and the Grizzlies have a full 15-man standard roster.

Instead of converting him to a standard deal and having to waive someone on a guaranteed contract, they decided to cut Gilyard, who averaged 4.7 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 42.5% from deep in 37 games this season (17.7 minutes). He’ll still receive his full two-way salary, but two-way deals don’t count against the salary cap, whereas standard deals do.

Gilyard will become an unrestricted free agent on Monday if he clears waivers.

Memphis initially signed Goodwin to a 10-day hardship contract before the All-Star break. That deal expired after last night’s loss to the Clippers, but the Grizzlies will keep him around on a two-way contract.

A third-year guard out of Saint Louis, Goodwin has previously played for the Wizards and Suns. He has averaged 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals in two appearances thus far with Memphis (26.5 minutes).

The Grizzlies have a full 18-man roster, with all three two-way slots filled.

Grizzlies Sign Jordan Goodwin To 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 13: The Grizzlies have officially signed Goodwin to his 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

It will technically be an 11-day deal, since 10-day contracts are required to cover a minimum of three games. Memphis plays twice more before the All-Star break, then resumes play on February 23 vs. the Clippers.

FEBRUARY 12: The Grizzlies intend to sign Jordan Goodwin to a 10-day contract, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Goodwin played four college seasons at Saint Louis before going undrafted in 2021. He’s in his third NBA season, having previously played for the Wizards and Suns.

A 25-year-old guard who’s known as a strong rebounder and defender, Goodwin was sent from Phoenix to Brooklyn ahead of last week’s trade deadline in the deal that saw Royce O’Neale land with the Suns. Goodwin was subsequently released by the Nets, and after clearing waivers, he became an unrestricted free agent.

Goodwin appeared in 40 games with Phoenix this season, averaging 5.0 PPG, 2.9 RPG and 2.0 APG in 14.0 MPG. He struggled with scoring efficiency, posting a lackluster .389/.288/.862 shooting line.

As our tracker shows, Memphis currently has a full 15-man standard roster. However, the Grizzlies have been decimated by injuries in 2023/24 — as with several other players they’ve signed to 10-day contracts, Goodwin’s deal will almost certainly come via the hardship exception.

According to Wojnarowski, Goodwin is expected to join Memphis “as soon as Tuesday,” which means his Grizzlies debut could come on Wednesday vs. Houston.

Nets Waive Jordan Goodwin

FEBRUARY 9: The Nets have officially waived Goodwin, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post (Twitter link).

FEBRUARY 8: The Nets are waiving guard Jordan Goodwin after acquiring him in the three-team trade that sent Royce O’Neale to Phoenix, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

After waiving Goodwin, the Nets will have 14 players on standard contracts and two players on two-way deals, giving them two open roster spots in total (one standard, one two-way).

The 25-year-old point guard played sparingly for the Suns after arriving in the Bradley Beal trade, averaging 5.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 14.0 minutes and 40 games. Last season with the Wizards, he averaged 6.6 points and 2.7 assists in 62 games (seven starts).

Goodwin was on a minimum contract with a partially guaranteed team option for next season. The Nets will be on the book for his hit this season ($1.93MM). He’ll be eligible to sign with any team as a free agent other than the Suns.

Suns Acquire Royce O’Neale In Three-Way Deal

7:22pm: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Grizzlies, who classified the draft asset they’re getting from the Suns as a “future first-round pick swap.”

Memphis will be able to swap its own 2026 first-round pick for the least favorable of the Suns’, Wizards’, and Magic’s first-rounders that year, tweets Chris Herrington of The Daily Memphian.

As previously reported, Brooklyn waived Thaddeus Young and Memphis cut Victor Oladipo to make room on their respective rosters for the incoming players.

4:58pm: The Suns hung onto Boston’s 2028 second-round pick, tweets Gambadoro, which means the three future second-rounders they’re sending Brooklyn are as follows:

  • Either the Pistons’, Bucks,’ or Magic’s 2026 second-round pick (whichever is least favorable).
  • The Grizzlies’ 2028 second-round pick.
  • The Grizzlies’ 2029 second-round pick.

12:18pm: The Nets are finalized a trade to send forward Royce O’Neale to the Suns for matching salaries and three second-round picks, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Phoenix is also acquiring forward David Roddy from the Grizzlies in exchange for a pick swap, Charania adds. (Twitter link).

The Suns are sending out Keita Bates-Diop, Yuta Watanabe, Jordan Goodwin and Chimezie Metu, John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets. They are all on minimum salary deals.

Watanabe and Metu will head to the Grizzlies, while Brooklyn will acquire Bates-Diop and Goodwin, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

O’Neale is in the final year of a four-year, $36MM contract and could enter unrestricted free agency this summer with full Bird rights. He’s making $9.5MM this season.

He’ll be extension eligible with the Suns for a maximum of two-years and $20.5MM, Yossi Gozlan of Hoops Hype tweets.

Roddy is making $2.72MM this season and already had $4.83MM option for next season picked up by Memphis. Phoenix can use the $4,975,371 traded player exception it generated in the Dario Saric trade with Oklahoma City last season to absorb Roddy’s salary. That exception expires on Friday.

The Suns were considered the top suitor for the Hornets’ Miles Bridges. However, Bridges reportedly told Charlotte’s front office he wouldn’t approve any trade. Phoenix pivoted to O’Neale, who will immediately jump into its rotation.

O’Neale gives Phoenix a playoff-tested, defensive-minded veteran. He has been coming off the bench most of this season but could slot into Phoenix’s star-laden lineup if the Suns want to use Grayson Allen in a sixth-man role.

O’Neale is averaging 7.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 24.5 minutes per game this season. He’s a career 38.1% 3-point shooter and should get plenty of open looks playing with Phoenix’s stars.

Phoenix will see its luxury tax bill rise by $13.5MM, Gozlan tweets. Overall, the Suns will have a payroll and luxury tax penalty adding up to more than $254.5MM this season, Gozlan notes in another tweet.

By swapping out four players for a pair, Phoenix will also have to add another player to reach the league minimum or 14. That will also increase their tax bill.

Watanabe and Bates-Diop are signed through next year. Metu has an expiring contract and Goodwin’s contract includes a team option for next season.

Suns Notes: Beal, Durant, Okogie, Gordon, Rotation

The Suns have won three straight entering their contest against Portland on Monday night. Bradley Beal has played the last two games after recovering from an ankle injury and his presence has been a “game-changer,” according to Devin Booker, Jack Thompson of The Associated Press relays.

Beal had seven assists against Charlotte in his return and 25 points in a five-point victory over Orlando.

“It’s a game-changer, being at full strength,” Booker said. “The offense was moving, the ball was hopping around and we were getting the best available shot.”

We have more on the Suns:

  • Kevin Durant had a team-high 31 points in 39 minutes against the Magic. He’ll sit out the second game of the back-to-back with the Suns listing right hamstring soreness as the reason. Eric Gordon (right calf soreness) is questionable, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports tweets.
  • Josh Okogie has only scored one point in three games since returning from an ankle injury but coach Frank Vogel is glad to have the defensive specialist at his disposal, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic tweets. “He’s an important part of what we do with his ability to guard on the perimeter,” Vogel said. “We’ll measure it game to game in terms of what his nights look like. Some nights are going to be bigger than others based on the matchup.”
  • Beyond sixth man Gordon, the second unit remains in flux, Rankin notes. Even Okogie’s spot is not guaranteed, due to subpar perimeter shooting. Nassir Little or Jordan Goodwin could emerge as alternatives.

Suns Notes: Beal, Booker, Bates-Diop, Goodwin

The Suns didn’t consider exceeding Bradley Beal‘s minutes restriction when Wednesday’s game at Chicago went into overtime, writes Jamal Collier of ESPN. Beal was making his season debut after missing the team’s first seven games with a back injury, so there was no chance he was going to play more than 24 minutes, even with the game in doubt.

“I can be hard-headed and go play 30 minutes when I know I’m not supposed to,” Beal said. “But how will I feel after that? Probably not the greatest. So that’s why I lean on our staff and our doctors to be the voice for me. Because I’ll be hard-headed and go out there and play.”

Beal posted 13 points, four rebounds and four assists in his first regular season contest since being acquired from Washington in an offseason trade. Even on a subpar shooting night that saw him go 3-of-12 from the field, he showed the benefits he can provide for Phoenix’s offense.

“Just somebody else the defense is scared of,” Kevin Durant said. “Somebody who can score at all three levels. Brad going downhill is a problem. So, as much as we can get him going downhill and also just setting him up in iso so he can beat his man will be great for us. Tonight, he just got his feet wet. He’s on a restriction minute-wise, but as he comes off of that he’s going to be more and more confident. We’ve just got to give him the ball more.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • Devin Booker worked out before Wednesday’s game, but there’s no indication of when he might play again, tweets Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. A report on Wednesday suggested that Booker may be able return from his right calf strain as soon as Friday, but coach Frank Vogel said he’s “making progress, but no firm timetable.”
  • Keita Bates-Diop‘s overtime heroics showed why Vogel has been trusting him as a starter for the past three games, Rankin adds in a full story. The 27-year-old forward, who was added in free agency this summer, sparked the Suns’ late comeback by drilling a three-pointer with 1:06 left in overtime to cut the Bulls’ lead to one point. He also forced DeMar DeRozan to take a difficult shot on Chicago’s final possession.
  • Jordan Goodwin wore a mask in Wednesday’s game after suffering a jaw contusion Sunday in Detroit, Rankin tweets.

Pacific Notes: Booker, Beal, Goodwin, Mann, Powell, Lakers, Warriors

There’s no specific timetable for the return of either Devin Booker (ankle) or Bradley Beal (back), Suns head coach Frank Vogel said on Tuesday, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter links). Both players have been doing some on-court work, but it has mostly been light shooting, so they haven’t fully ramped up for game action yet.

While Beal has yet to make his Suns debut, Jordan Goodwin – the other player the team acquired in that blockbuster summer deal – has been playing regular minutes in his first four games in Phoenix.

Known known more as a defender, Goodwin has provided some scoring and play-making off the bench with Booker and Beal out, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic. He has made just 34.3% of his shots from the floor, but has posted solid averages of 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 21.0 minutes per night.

“Just take advantage of the opportunity. Once we get all of our guys back, those shots, the ones I’m taking right now are gonna be even more open,” Goodwin told Scott over the weekend.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Clippers wings Terance Mann and Norman Powell were mentioned frequently in James Harden trade rumors in recent months, so they were relieved not to be on the move in the deal L.A. eventually made for the star guard, per Mark Medina of Sportskeeda. “It shows the value that they see in us,” Powell said. “You always want that as a player in a league like this: to find a team, organization, and front office that believes in your ability, believes in what you bring to the table, and believes you can help them win at a high level.”
  • After promising to make tweaks to his rotation following Sunday’s loss to Sacramento, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham leaned on bigger lineups in Monday’s victory over Orlando, writes Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Both Christian Wood (27) and Jaxson Hayes (10) set new season highs in minutes played, as the team frequently deployed a second big man alongside Anthony Davis. “Whenever (Wood is) in there with (Davis), they’re just two huge presences on the defensive glass,” Ham said. “Christian gets some of the toughest defensive rebounds I’ve ever seen anyone get. So, he and (Davis) being combined for, I think it was 25 defensive rebounds, we needed every one of them.”
  • Although it’s a small sample size, the Warriors‘ second unit is thriving and the team’s depth has been a strength in the early going this season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic and Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Stephen Curry believes the strong play of the second unit – led by Chris Paul – is having a ripple effect on the starters. “That’s different for us, when that unit is so impactful,” Curry said, per Slater. “We’re over on the bench enjoying what we’re watching. When you’re watching good basketball, you feel good about how we’re all playing. It flows.”

Trade Breakdown: Bradley Beal To The Suns

This is the second entry in our series breaking down the significant trades of the 2023 offseason. As opposed to giving out grades, this series explores why the teams were motivated to make the moves. Let’s dive into a three-team blockbuster between the Suns, Wizards and Pacers…

On June 24:

  • The Suns acquired Bradley Beal, Jordan Goodwin, and Isaiah Todd.
  • The Wizards acquired Chris Paul; Landry Shamet; the draft rights to Bilal Coulibaly (No. 7 pick); the Suns’ second-round picks in 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, and 2030; first-round pick swaps in 2024, 2026, 2028, and 2030; and cash ($4.6MM; from Suns).
  • The Pacers acquired the draft rights to Jarace Walker (No. 8 pick), the Suns’ 2028 second-round pick, and the Wizards’ 2029 second-round pick.


  • We won’t be covering the Wizards/Pacers part of this trade because it’s pretty straightforward: Washington gave up a couple second-rounders (one from Phoenix) to move up one spot in the draft, while Indiana got the player it wanted plus a couple assets.
  • The Wizards will have the ability to swap their own first-round pick with the Suns’ first-rounder in 2024, 2026, and 2030. In 2028, the Wizards will have the ability to swap their own first-round pick with whichever one the Suns control (it could be the Suns’ own, the Nets’ first-rounder, or the Sixers’ first-rounder).
  • The Wizards generated two traded player exceptions in the deal ($5,379,250 and $300,000 for Beal and Goodwin, respectively).
  • Todd was later traded from Phoenix to Memphis and then waived by the Grizzlies.

The Wizards’ perspective:

Bradley Beal is the sixth-highest paid player in the league, only trailing former MVP winners Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid, LeBron James and Nikola Jokic. He will make $207.74MM over the next four seasons, including a $57MM+ player option in 2026/27.

The cost of Beal’s contract on its own would have made it difficult to recoup significantly positive value for the three-time All-Star, in part because he has appeared in just 90 of a possible 164 games over the past two seasons due to a variety of injuries. And for all his offensive skill, Beal has never been a great defender.

Complicating matters further for the Wizards was the fact that Beal is the only player in the entire NBA – and only the 10th in league history – to have a full no-trade clause. That gave Beal an enormous amount of power to choose not only his next destination, but the outgoing pieces that he would be traded for, since he could (and still can) veto any trade for whatever reason he wants.

It’s easy to say now (a lot of people were saying it at the time as well) that the Wizards should have extracted maximum value for Beal by trading him a few years ago, instead of waiting, keeping him, and giving him a pricey new contract with an inexplicable no-trade clause. But that isn’t what happened, and you can only play the cards you’re dealt.

I used that idiom in particular because new front office executives Michael Winger (president) and Will Dawkins (general manager) did not sign Beal. They just inherited his contract when they took over the basketball operations department.

Over the past five seasons, with Beal as the face of the franchise following major injuries to John Wall, the Wizards have gone 161-229, a 41.3 winning percentage. They posted a losing record each season, including going 35-47 the past two campaigns.

Obviously, not all of that is on Beal. He has been a very good player when healthy, despite his defensive shortcomings. But not good enough on his own to lift Washington into relevance.

The Wizards have been just mediocre enough to hurt their odds of landing a top draft pick while also being bad enough to always be in the lottery. Clearly, they needed a change of direction, and that had to start with moving Beal, who had been with Washington for all 11 of his NBA seasons.

I’m still a little surprised the Wizards got as much as they did from the Suns, even if it doesn’t look like an impressive haul at first glance. For example, the 2024 first-round pick swap is essentially worthless; there’s virtually no chance that Phoenix will be worse than Washington in ‘23/24.

Still, the Suns literally gave up every movable draft pick they controlled at the time, plus Paul, Shamet and cash.

Paul’s pseudo-expiring contract was later traded to Golden State for Jordan Poole, Patrick Baldwin, Ryan Rollins, a heavily protected 2030 first-round pick, a 2027 second-rounder and cash. We’ll dig deeper into that trade in a future article, but obviously it’s directly tied to this one, since Paul was the primary salary-matching piece for Beal.

In total: Poole, Baldwin, Rollins, Shamet, a top-20 protected first-rounder, four first-round swaps, seven second-round picks (one was sent to Indiana) and cash for Beal.

How Poole performs will ultimately go a long way to determining how valuable the return is, at least in the short term. He’s six years younger than Beal (24 vs. 30), will make $123MM+ over the next four years (instead of $207MM+) and doesn’t have a no-trade clause.

The 2030 pick swap has a chance to be very valuable, but only if the Wizards are better than Phoenix. It’s so far in the future that speculating about the possibility feels borderline pointless, though it’s worth noting that Kevin Durant will be 42 at that point.

Shamet is a decent player on a pseudo-expiring mid-sized contract — he’ll earn a guaranteed $10.25MM this season, but the final two years of his rookie scale extension are non-guaranteed. The 26-year-old has shot 38.8% from three-point range over his five-year career, which is valuable. When he’s on, he can make threes in bunches.

However, he doesn’t offer a whole lot else. It’s hard to say if he’ll be in Washington’s plans going forward, but his contract could be useful for trade purposes if he’s not.

Simply put, the Wizards needed to get younger, focus on player development, and rid themselves of Beal’s contract, which is arguably one of the worst deals in the NBA due to the no-trade clause — particularly for a team in no-man’s land. Washington accomplished all of those things, even if rebuilding is much easier in theory than it is practice.

The Suns’ perspective:

Clearly, new owner Mat Ishbia doesn’t care about spending money — the Suns added to their payroll (and luxury tax payment) by making this deal, both now and going forward. He just wants to win.

Beal doesn’t need to be the face of the Suns. He doesn’t need to be the team’s best – or even second-best – player. The Suns just need him to be an immediate upgrade over 38-year-old Paul, who was a key reason Phoenix reached the Finals in 2021 and had the league’s best record in ‘22.

The Suns were reportedly thinking about waiving Paul before they traded him in the package for Beal. While the future Hall of Famer was still effective last season, he has clearly lost a step on both ends, and remains a perennial injury concern. Turning a player you were contemplating cutting — plus other assets that may or may not be valuable — into an All-Star caliber player closer to his prime was a gamble worth taking for Phoenix.

It may seem like I’m not particularly high on Beal based on how I described things from Washington’s perspective. I certainly don’t think he’s the sixth-best player in the league, but that’s not really how contracts work.

Beal has had an interesting career trajectory. Early on he was primarily known as a jump shooter who would occasionally dabble in secondary play-making and driving. He wasn’t a great finisher in the paint and took far too many long twos, which hurt his efficiency.

For example, while Beal shot an impressive 39.7% from deep over his first four seasons, he only converted 44.0% of his twos and didn’t get to the line much, only posting a 52.1% true shooting percentage (for context, league average over that span was about 53.8%).

As with many talented scorers, Beal improved upon his weaknesses and became a much more dangerous and well-rounded offensive player from 2016 on, averaging 25.5 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals with a 58.1 TS%. He posted above league average scoring efficiency in six of those seven seasons.

Interestingly, his three-point percentage has actually dropped pretty significantly over the past five seasons, which included his two 30-plus points per game campaigns from 2019-21. He has only converted 34.7% from long range over that span, and he has attempted progressively fewer threes as well.

Part of that is actually by design, and it’s also what makes Beal such a dangerous offensive player. He’s still treated like a sharpshooter who is chased off the line while coming off screens, but now he leverages that threat to get into the paint, make plays, draw fouls, and take short range jumpers, which he is very efficient at converting.

There isn’t really a great way to guard a player like Beal one-on-one. He’s a smooth ball-handler who uses hesitation dribbles to gain an advantage, and he’s adept at playing off the ball. He’s also a solid play-maker and passer, though he can be turnover prone at times.

The fact that Beal has been a No. 1 option for several years and is now a second or third option while still playing at basically the same level is kind of ridiculous. If Durant, Devin Booker and Beal are healthy, the Suns’ offense is going to be outrageously good, and it should be even better in the playoffs because of how versatile their stars are.

Another benefit for the Suns is if Booker or Durant are injured, they can just increase Beal’s usage and run more plays for him. He isn’t quite at the same level of either of those two, but he’s still a top-tier offensive player.

Goodwin shouldn’t be overlooked as part of this trade either. He was quite effective as a reserve last season for the Wizards. While he isn’t a great shooter, he’s an outstanding rebounder for his size (he’s 6’3” and averaged 6.7 rebounds per 36 minutes), is a solid play-maker who takes care of the ball, and is a terrific defender. He’s also on a bargain contract, another huge plus.

It’s very difficult to get quality production from minimum-salary free agents, and the Suns had arguably the best offseason in the NBA as far as that goes. I thought Eric Gordon, Drew Eubanks, Keita Bates-Diop and Yuta Watanabe all could have gotten at least the bi-annual exception or part of the mid-level exception. Phoenix also re-signed Josh Okogie at near the minimum — he got a slight raise using his non-Bird rights.

Some writers/analysts have questions about the Suns’ depth, but I actually think they have one of the deeper rosters in the league. They have plenty of solid players capable of complementing their star trio, and if a role player is having an off night, they can just insert another player in his spot.

The Suns completely overhauled their roster, plus they have a new coach, so you could argue chemistry will be an issue, particularly early on. But I don’t think there’s any doubt that they have a more talented and well-rounded team entering 2023/24 compared to the squad that ended ‘22/23.

While Ross, Biyombo and Warren are all seasoned veterans, they remain free agents with the season starting today. Bazley signed a non-guaranteed deal with Brooklyn this summer but didn’t make the team. Wainright is now on a two-way deal with Portland after Phoenix waived him.

The biggest question mark for me with Phoenix isn’t depth, it’s health. Beal, Durant and Booker have all missed a significant chunk of time in recent seasons, and the Suns need all of them to be healthy in the playoffs (both Paul and Ayton were injured in the second round against Denver last season). Nurkic – a less critical piece of the puzzle — has also missed a ton of action over the past four seasons, but we’ll get more into that in a future article.

The fact that Beal (lower back) may not be available for Tuesday’s season opener against Golden State has to be a little discouraging, even if the team is likely just being cautious.

If things go really south in the next few years for whatever reason, worst-case scenario, the Suns could always trade Durant and/or Booker and retool the roster. If that were to occur, Beal would probably be happy to waive his no-trade clause again and be moved as well.

Still, there are lots of reasons for optimism for Phoenix. New head coach Frank Vogel has a well-deserved reputation as being a strong defensive coach, and there’s plenty of talent on that end for the Suns. If Beal can just be average or a little below, which is doable, they should be more than fine as far as that goes.

The Suns are on the short list of contenders this season. If they win, it would be their first championship in franchise history. Reshaping their roster on the fly was impressive, and a worthwhile risk – we’ll see if it pays off.

Pacific Notes: Lue, Nurkic, Goodwin, Lakers

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said this week that he is nearing a decision on L.A.’s starting five, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Lue also shed some light regarding how many players on his fairly deep roster he intends to give rotation minutes.

“[We’ll play] 10 at the most to start, but probably get down to nine as quick as we can, but 10 to start at first,” Lue said. “Don’t hold me to that.”

The statuses of star swingmen Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, plus starting center Ivica Zubac, seem secure. How Lue fills out the other two spots around them remains to be seen.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Newly added Suns starting center Jusuf Nurkic will bring savvy passing and solid defense to the floor this year, opines Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Bourguet adds that the team’s ownership and management were aligned in thinking that the veteran big man could be a better fit than the player he will replace, former No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. Bourgeut writes in a separate piece that Nurkic should thrive when it comes to protecting the rim, but history suggests he could struggle to cover opponents further away from the basket.
  • Nurkic thoroughly outplayed Ayton during the Suns’ 122-111 victory over the Trail Blazers Thursday, Bourgeut writes in an additional column. New Phoenix combo guard Jordan Goodwin enjoyed an efficient scoring night off the bench against Portland, but also made a big impression on the other side of the ball, per Bourgeut.
  • The Lakers are showing signs of having improved their offense in the 2023 preseason, according to Khobi Price of The Orange County Register. Price writes that Los Angeles has scored the equivalent of 141.6 points per game across the five quarters in which it has used its anticipated regular season rotation. The team is employing a broader array of sets, and is taking advantage of its improved shooting profile heading into 2023/24, thanks to the additions of sharpshooting free agents Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince. “Having the type of team that we have – everyone can dribble, pass and shoot – just that unselfishness, moving the ball, that all it comes down to,” head coach Darvin Ham said. “As long as that camaraderie, continuity and communication on the offensive side of the ball continues to grow and build, there’s no doubt in my mind the sky’s the limit.”