Josh Okogie

Suns Notes: Okogie, Dunn, Durant, Madkins

With a new two-year contract in hand, Josh Okogie hopes to help the Suns become a legitimate contender in the West, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Okogie, who has been a valuable reserve in Phoenix for the past two years, was rewarded with a $16MM deal, although only the first season at $8.25MM is guaranteed.

“My mentality is just to go out there and just try to try to give this team the energy that they need on both sides of the floor,” Okogie said. “We have a lot of talent on this team, but I want to be the battery of this team, if that makes sense. The motor of this team, to get people going, get people excited to play, get people moving. … Just, when JO steps on this court, everybody’s intensity level just rises.”

Okogie is with the team in Las Vegas, but he’s concentrating on his photography skills rather than basketball. After trying out his new hobby during Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, Okogie is learning how to shoot the action of Summer League.

“I’m still not good,” Okogie said. “I’ll say 90-95% of my pictures are B.S., but I feel like I’ve gotten better — slightly — each day I’ve taken pictures. I’ve kind of figured out how the camera works, how to do the settings, how to do the white balance and all that. So it’s been pretty cool.”

There’s more on the Suns:

  • First-round pick Ryan Dunn didn’t play on Saturday as Phoenix closed out its Summer League schedule with a loss to Sacramento, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Playing for the fourth time in five days, the Suns chose to rest their top rookie, who displayed elite defensive instincts but struggled with his shot. In four games, Dunn averaged 5.8 PPG on 34.4% shooting, along with 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals. “Our guys loved him,” owner Mat Ishbia said in an NBA TV interview. “His work ethic. His defensive ability. His athleticism. He’s the kind of guy that fits in well with our team. We’re looking for some young guys that have energy and some positivity while playing great defense. He’s long, athletic and in the Summer League he’s performed just as we expected. It’s been fun having him so far and we’re excited to see what he can do during the season, too.”
  • After going through his first practice with Team USA on Friday, Kevin Durant sat out Saturday’s close call against South Sudan. Monday’s game with Germany will be Durant’s last opportunity to take the floor before the start of the Olympics.
  • Assistant general manager Gerald Madkins won’t return to the Suns next season, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Also leaving are personnel evaluation manager David Sevush and scouts Charles Payne and Darrel Johnson.

Offseason Observations: Apron Impact, Rockets, Spurs, Okogie

The NBA's offseason is far from over. As we saw last summer, when Damian Lillard was traded to Milwaukee in late September and Jrue Holiday was flipped from Portland to Boston on October 1, the trade market stays open into the fall.

We also could still see impactful moves on the free agent market occurring much later in the offseason, as was the case a year ago when Derrick Jones and P.J. Washington - two key members of the Mavericks' team that made the NBA Finals - signed their respective contracts during the second half of August (Washington signed with the Hornets before being traded to Dallas later in the season).

Still, the pace of the offseason action has certainly slowed down since the start of July, giving us an opportunity to look back and reflect on all that's gone down in the last few weeks.

From one of the biggest storylines of the summer (the impact of the new tax apron rules) to some under-the-radar developments (like the structure of Josh Okogie's new deal with the Suns), we're taking a closer look today at some of the more curious offseason subplots.

Let's dive in...

Has the impact of the new apron restrictions been overstated?

The concept of the tax apron has existed in the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement for years, and a second apron was implemented in 2023, but the 2024 offseason is the first time all the new apron-related restrictions introduced in the current CBA have been in place. Those new restrictions affect the trade market most significantly, with teams operating over the first tax apron not permitted to take back more salary than they send out and teams over the second apron prohibited from aggregating player salaries.

While it's true that these rules have made it challenging for teams with high payrolls to make moves as easily as they used to, I think they've also become a convenient scapegoat for teams to justify certain roster decisions.

Unlock Subscriber-Exclusive Articles Like This One With a Trade Rumors Front Office Subscription

  • Access weekly subscriber-only articles by Luke Adams
  • Join exclusive weekly live chats with Arthur Hill
  • Remove ads and support our writers.

Suns Re-Sign Josh Okogie To Two-Year Contract

JULY 13: The Suns have officially re-signed Okogie to his two-year contract, according to the transaction log at

JULY 11: Free agent wing Josh Okogie has agreed to a two-year, $16MM contract to stay with the Suns, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (via Twitter) that the second season of the 6’4″ guard/forward’s deal will be non-guaranteed.

According to Charania and Gerald Bourguet of PHX Sports (Twitter links), Okogie had drawn some interest from several other clubs before ultimately deciding to return to Phoenix. Bourguet notes that the Suns used Okogie’s Early Bird rights to bring him back into the fold.

Cap expert Yossi Gozlan tweets that Okogie’s new detail will increase the Suns’ luxury tax penalty by an eye-popping $47MM.

The 25-year-old arrived in Phoenix in the 2022 offseason as a free agent after spending his first four pro seasons with the Timberwolves. Minnesota initially selected him with the No. 20 pick out of Georgia Tech in the 2018 draft.

Okogie has emerged as a valuable role player across two playoff seasons in the competitive Western Conference. In his 60 healthy games last season, Okogie averaged a modest 4.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 0.8 steals in just 16.0 minutes per night, with a shooting line of .417/.309/.745. He is more valued for his multifaceted defense than his scoring, however, a skill set that may be a bit harder to measure.

Scotto’s Latest: Jones, Kennard, Martin, Okogie, Knicks, Shamet, Klintman

The Clippers are showing interest in free agent guard Tyus Jones in sign-and-trade scenarios, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reports in his latest around-the-league notebook.

While this is just speculation on Scotto’s part, the Clippers could look to use some combination of the expiring contracts of P.J. Tucker and Russell Westbrook or draft compensation and Bones Hyland in sign-and-trade scenarios for the Wizards guard.

Jones, our No. 15-ranked free agent, averaged 12.0 points and 7.3 assists per game last season while shooting 48.9% from the field and 41.4% from beyond the arc.

We have more from Scotto:

  • The leaguewide expectation is that Luke Kennard will return to the Grizzlies after the organization declined his team option before free agency, Scotto writes. Kennard averaged 11.0 PPG on 45.0% shooting from deep last season.
  • As we noted earlier Friday, it’s likely the Sixers look to use newly signed KJ Martin‘s contract as a trade chip when he becomes eligible to be moved on Jan. 15. The Sixers could trade for a player making $14MM if they packaged Martin alongside three minimum-salary players in a trade.
  • The Suns gave Josh Okogie a similar deal to what Martin got and could also look to utilize his salary as a trade chip, Scotto reports. However, unlike Martin, Okogie’s deal can’t be aggregated with other players on Phoenix’s roster due to the team’s position relative to the second tax apron.
  • The Knicks are trying to add both size and shooting to their roster this offseason, Scotto writes. Davis Bertans has previously been mentioned as an option for the Knicks, and they’re also expressing interest in free agent guard Landry Shamet. As reported, New York has shown interest in Walker Kessler but Utah’s asking price remains high. Meanwhile, Precious Achiuwa remains open to a return to New York.
  • Outside of the Knicks, Scotto reports that Shamet has drawn “exploratory interest” from the Bucks, Heat and Timberwolves. A return to the Wizards isn’t out of the question either.
  • The Pistons are attempting to finalize a contract with their No. 37 overall pick Bobi Klintman. Klintman is expected to end up on the 15-man roster on a multiyear contract, according to Scotto. The Pistons were intrigued by his size and shooting ability and are hoping to have him on a standard deal.

Suns Notes: Durant, Okogie, Lowry, Morris, Kessler, Plumlee

Despite both Suns owner Mat Ishbia and general manager James Jones shooting down the notion that the team is entertaining the idea of trading Kevin Durant, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith advised viewers on draft day to “pay no attention” to what the Suns were saying publicly, suggesting that the franchise wanted to move the star forward.

Speaking to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, Durant didn’t name Smith specifically, but appeared to reference that comment in dismissing the trade rumors that keep popping up around him.

“You could just press the ‘KD wants to leave’ button anytime you want some attention,” Durant said. “Yes, it’s a button. What else is gonna get people going around this time? Besides, ‘Oh, the journeyman is leaving again.’ That story is always gonna hit.

“… For somebody to say, ‘Phoenix wants to get out of the KD (business),’ I’m sitting here like, where is this coming from?” he continued. “It bothers me that people lie like that and that the audience eats up the headline. I get sad when people buy into lies and just make up s–t. It’s bigger than ball at that point for me. I can’t control that. I feel for people. It’s a bad practice to have when you just believe anything, for one. Just believe what you see on TV. And then it’s another bad habit when you’re just lying.”

Durant will turn 36 this September and could be entering the final stage of his Hall of Fame career, but he told Goodwill that he’s not thinking about retirement yet and suggested he’d be comfortable transitioning into a lesser role during his twilight years as a player.

“I just love to play the game. If it’s a good situation, if I’m still enjoying the game of basketball, my goal is to play this (game) till the wheels fall off, for whatever role that is, so we’ll see,” Durant said.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Team USA head coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Tuesday that Durant, who missed his fourth consecutive with a calf strain, won’t play in Wednesday’s exhibition vs. Team Canada (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).
  • The Suns continue to work on re-signing free agent wing Josh Okogie and remain engaged in talks with veteran guard Kyle Lowry, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter links). If Lowry ends up signing elsewhere – Bourguet suggests a return to the Sixers is in play – then Phoenix would be “more than comfortable” with Monte Morris in the backup point guard role, since he was one of the team’s top three offseason targets, says Bourguet.
  • Responding to an inquiry about whether the Suns could trade for Walker Kessler, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 rejects the idea, tweeting that the Jazz have already declined offers from two separate teams that featured two first-round picks apiece for the young center.
  • In a story for, Bourguet takes a closer look at what veteran big man Mason Plumlee will bring to the Suns, outlining why he’s a clear upgrade over Drew Eubanks at the five.

Western Notes: Carter, Suns, Nunez, Thunder, Jazz

Kings first-round pick Devin Carter will miss both the California Classic and Las Vegas Summer Leagues due to a left shoulder injury, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (subscription required).

General manager Monte McNair acknowledged after drafting Carter last week that the former Providence guard was dealing with a shoulder ailment and said the Kings’ doctors would be taking a closer look at it. While the injury will keep Carter out of action this month, McNair expressed confidence that it’s “not a long-term issue.”

The No. 13 overall pick told The Sacramento Bee that he suffered the injury in a pre-draft workout. Asked if he’s feeling pain or discomfort, Carter replied, “I’m feeling fine. I just want to get the team doctor’s opinion and go from there.”

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Within a story grading the Suns‘ re-signing of Damion Lee, Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports says the team remains interested in bringing back Josh Okogie on a new deal worth more than the minimum. Phoenix currently has just one open spot on its 15-man roster, but Bourguet hears from a source that waiving a player like David Roddy or Nassir Little might be a possibility if Okogie is re-signed and another top free agent target (possibly Kyle Lowry) is available. I’d be pretty shocked if the Suns cut Little, who has three guaranteed years left on his contract, but Roddy isn’t owed any guaranteed money beyond this season.
  • Spurs second-round pick Juan Nunez appears unlikely to sign an NBA contract immediately. A report from Spanish outlet Encestando (hat tip to Sportando) suggests Nunez is on track to join Barcelona on a deal that will give him the option to leave for the NBA next summer. The Spanish point guard was the No. 36 selection in last week’s draft.
  • In a pair of stories for The Oklahoman, Joel Lorenzi explores Isaiah Hartenstein‘s fit in Oklahoma City and examines what the Thunder‘s roster will look like after trading for Alex Caruso and adding Hartenstein in free agency. Lorenzi, who is projecting Caruso to start and Hartenstein to come off the bench, suggests the veteran center’s play-making and screening will help make the offense more versatile, which the Thunder could’ve used in this year’s playoffs.
  • The Lauri Markkanen trade rumors are a reflection of the Jazz‘s awkward current position, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune (subscription required). As Larsen details, if they hang onto Markkanen, the Jazz risk winning too many games next season to have a legitimate shot at landing a future star in the 2025 draft; but there are no guarantees they’ll be able to draft that future star even if they do trade him, and going that route would further delay their timeline for contending.

Free Agent Notes: Cancar, Suns, Lowry, Sixers, Martin, Hield

When the Nuggets declined their team option on Vlatko Cancar for the 2024/25 season, multiple reports indicated that the two sides would likely work out a new minimum-salary deal that would both increase the forward’s salary (from the $2.35MM the option would have paid to $2.43MM) and reduce Denver’s cap hit (from $2.35MM to $2.09MM).

That deal hasn’t happened yet, but Cancar – who is representing Slovenia at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Greece after missing the 2023/24 season with a torn ACL – expressed a desire to return to Denver, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.

“I’m still waiting on their decision, We’ll see,” Cancar said. “… I want to be back. My goal is to be back. Hopefully there’s room.”

As Harris Stavrou of SPORTS24 tweets, Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth was at the Olympic qualifiers on Thursday watching Cancar and the Slovenians secure a spot in the semifinals by defeating New Zealand. Nuggets scout Marty Pocius was also in attendance with Booth, tweets Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports.

Here are a few more notes on free agency:

  • Even after signing Monte Morris, the Suns are still believed to have interest in veteran point guard Kyle Lowry, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. However, Gambadoro says Lowry may be a long shot for Phoenix since the team can only offer the veteran’s minimum to outside free agents. The Suns are also still working on a new deal for their own free agent Josh Okogie, Gambadoro adds.
  • The Sixers definitely have interest in free agent forward Caleb Martin, according to Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link), but he may be out of range of what they can realistically offer him. Philadelphia is expected to continue to monitor Martin’s market, says Neubeck.
  • The Pistons and Lakers were among Buddy Hield‘s other free agent suitors before he decided to join the Warriors, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. According to Charania, the veteran sharpshooter chose Golden State “because of the opportunity to win.”

Suns’ Josh Okogie To Decline Player Option

Suns guard Josh Okogie will turn down his $2.95MM player option for next season and test free agency, sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Okogie, 25, came to Phoenix as a free agent in 2022 and re-signed with the team last summer on a two-year deal that included the option. The Suns used him mainly in a backup role, as he averaged 4.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 60 games this season while playing 16 minutes per night.

A recent report indicated that Phoenix was hoping Okogie would exercise the option to help with roster stability. Only seven members of this year’s 15-man roster are currently under contract for 2024/25.

The Suns still want to re-sign the veteran wing, according to Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports, who suggests (via Twitter) the team has interest in a deal a little above the veteran’s minimum. Phoenix holds Okogie’s Early Bird rights.

Okogie was selected by Minnesota with the 20th pick in the 2018 draft. He spent four years with the Wolves before accepting an offer in Phoenix.

Okogie joins Suns teammates Eric Gordon and Drew Eubanks in declining their options for next season. The team is still awaiting a decision from Damion Lee, who must determine whether to pick up his $2.8MM option by Saturday.

Free Agency Rumors: LeBron, Clippers, Harris, Suns, Warriors, Klay

LeBron James‘s decision on his $51.4MM player option is due this Saturday, and while the Lakers star has yet to formally make a call one way or the other on that option, at least one recent report indicated he’s leaning toward opting out. That doesn’t mean he’ll leave Los Angeles though, since the Lakers will still be in position to offer him more than any other suitor as a free agent — and it sounds like they’ll do just that.

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers are “committed” to retaining James and are prepared to offer the maximum three-year contract that he’s eligible for. Teams can typically re-sign their own Bird free agents for up to five years, but in LeBron’s case, the over-38 rule would trigger if he signs for four or more years, meaning a three-year agreement is his max.

A maximum-salary three-year contract for James projects to be worth nearly $162MM if he declines his option. In that scenario, he would also be in position to negotiate a no-trade clause, which is available to players who are negotiating free agent contracts if they’ve been in the NBA for eight years and with the team for four years.

Here are a few more free agency rumors and notes from around the NBA:

  • The Clippers have “some level of interest” in free agent forward Tobias Harris, a source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris, who played for the Clippers for about a year from 2018-19, would likely only be an option for Los Angeles if Paul George leaves, since the team otherwise wouldn’t be in position to make him a competitive offer (and wouldn’t have a pressing on-court need for a forward like Harris). Pompey suggests the possibility of a dual sign-and-trade involving George and Harris, but the Sixers have the cap room to sign George outright and the Clippers would be hard-capped at the first tax apron if they acquire a player via sign-and-trade.
  • While the Suns‘ top offseason priority is re-signing forward Royce O’Neale, they’re also hoping that swingman Josh Okogie picks up his $2.96MM player option and would like to re-sign forward Bol Bol, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7.
  • Speaking to reporters on Monday, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. reiterated that the team wants to bring back free agent sharpshooter Klay Thompson (Twitter video link via NBC Sports Bay Area). However, as Tim Kawakami writes for The Athletic, Dunleavy is “definitely not shaping this whole offseason” around re-signing Thompson.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic shared his list of the best point guards on this year’s free agent market, along with his top shooting guards.

Suns Notes: Budenholzer, O’Neale, Eubanks, Gordon, Okogie

New Suns head coach Mike Budenholzer vows to be demanding with the team’s three stars, writes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports. Among the topics Budenholzer addressed Friday at his introductory press conference is how he plans to get the most out of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal in their second season together.

“I think they know that I’m gonna have high expectations of them,” Budenholzer said. “I’m gonna coach ’em, I’m gonna hold ’em accountable. But that’s what I’m gonna do with everybody. And so it’s not any different. That’s kind of been my roadmap for coaching, whether it’s the best players or the entire roster.”

The Suns were criticized this season for not having a traditional point guard to create easier scoring opportunities for their Big Three. Budenholzer told reporters that’s an area that needs to be looked at this summer as part of the larger picture of creating a more versatile team.

“We need to be able to play different ways, bigger, smaller,” he said. “But I think the point guard position has a place, and we’re gonna talk about it and figure it out. But I just know we’re gonna need to be able to play lots of different ways, including without a point guard.”

There’s more from Phoenix:

  • The competitive nature that Budenholzer showed during his interview helped him land the job as the Suns moved quickly to find a replacement after dismissing Frank Vogel, Bourguet adds in the same piece. “I’m a competitive guy, and we talk about this too: Throughout that process, Bud must have said ‘compete’ 95 times in two minutes,” general manager James Jones said at the press conference. “Compete at everything, compete in practice, compete with each other, against each other. Compete against your opponent, but more importantly, compete with yourself.”
  • Because the Suns are subject to second apron provisions, they might benefit from re-signing free agent forward Royce O’Neale to more than his market value, Keith Smith of Spotrac suggests in his offseason financial look at the team. Phoenix is prohibited from taking back more than it sends out in a trade. Smith states that if O’Neale’s actual value is around $10MM per year, the Suns can increase their trade options by paying around $15MM or by giving him the exact amount of the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which currently projects to be $12.9MM for 2024/25.
  • Drew Eubanks, Eric Gordon and Josh Okogie are all good bets to decline their player options for next season, according to Smith, who recommends trying to re-sign Eubanks and Gordon to veterans’ minimum contracts this summer with a new player option for the following season. Phoenix holds Early Bird rights on Okogie, so Smith sees a new contract in the $5-8MM range as another way to create tradable salary.