T.J. Warren

Suns Trade T.J. Warren To Pacers

JULY 6: The trade is official, according to an announcement from the Pacers. It became a three-team trade, with Indiana sending the rights to No. 32 pick KZ Okpala to Miami in exchange for three second-rounders.

JUNE 20: The Pacers and Suns have reached a trade agreement that will send T.J. Warren to Indiana, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski (Twitter links), the Pacers will also acquire the No. 32 overall pick from Phoenix and will take on Warren using cap room, sending cash to the Suns to complete the deal.

The trade looks like a straight salary dump for the Suns, who will move Warren with three years and $35.25MM left on his contract. Phoenix wanted to unload Warren – who will earn $10.81MM in 2019/20 — in order to open up more cap space, per Wojnarowski.

The Suns had a logjam at the small forward position and didn’t project to have much – if any – cap room this offseason, so the trade addresses both issues, though it will cost them a pretty good draft pick and a pretty good player with little return.

Injuries limited Warren to just 43 games in 2018/19, but he was a very effective scorer when he did play, averaging 18.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.2 SPG with a .486/.428/.815 shooting line.

Assuming Phoenix keeps the cap hold for restricted free agent Kelly Oubre on its books, the team now projects to have about $21MM in cap room once the trade is finalized in July, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That space will give the club more flexibility to go after a starting-caliber point guard on the open market, but still won’t be enough for a maximum-salary offer.

As for the Pacers, many of their key rotation players are headed for free agency this summer, so they’ll have plenty of cap room to take on Warren. Acquiring him will also reduce some of the uncertainty surrounding those free agents — the team could have a little added leverage in negotiations with the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic or Thaddeus Young with Warren now under control.

According to Marks, the Pacers will still have nearly $31MM in cap room available once the acquisition of Warren is finalized, though that projection doesn’t account for Bogdanovic’s cap hold.

[RELATED: Pacers eyeing Ricky Rubio]

Indiana now controls three picks in tonight’s draft, adding the No. 32 selection to Nos. 18 and 50. The Suns are left with just the No. 6 overall pick.

Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com first reported earlier today that the Pacers were among the teams with interest in Warren.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavericks, Pacers Interested In T.J. Warren?

2:33pm: A source confirms to Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the Mavs have interest in Warren and adds the Pacers to the list of interested teams. However, Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter link) has his own source downplaying Dallas’ interest in the Suns wing.

12:58pm: The Mavericks have reached out to the Suns about a trade involving forward T.J. Warren, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.TV. Rival teams believe Phoenix is willing to deal both Warren and Josh Jackson, Begley adds.

Warren, 25, has developed into a reliable scorer for the Suns, averaging 18.0 points per game last season and shooting a career-best .428 from 3-point range. However, he missed 33 games due to issues with his right ankle. He has an affordable contract that stretches over the next three years at $10.81MM, $11.75MM and $12.69MM.

Dallas could use some more scoring punch to team with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis and is able to fit Warren into cap space if necessary.

Earlier this week, Suns officials told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that they aren’t trying to trade Warren, Jackson or the No. 6 pick in tonight’s draft.

Latest From Charania: Davis, Beal, Irving, Conley, Suns

The Knicks discussed a trade package for Anthony Davis that included Frank Ntilikina, Dennis Smith, Thursday’s No. 3 overall pick and other draft compensation, but they never fully offered forward Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans weren’t particularly high on either Knox or Robinson anyway but the Knicks were reluctant to jeopardize their future flexibility because they weren’t convinced Davis would re-sign with them.

Contrary to other reports, the Celtics were open to discussing Jayson Tatum and the future first-rounder owed by the Grizzlies in a trade package for Davis but didn’t want to part with both of those assets, Charania continues. Boston’s unwillingness to give up multiple major assets tipped the scale in the Lakers’ favor. The Nets also made a bid, Charania adds, but the Pelicans weren’t enamored with their available assets, especially since the Nets couldn’t include restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell.

Here are more highlights from Charania:

  • The Rockets were willing to get involved in three-team scenarios in Davis trade talks with Clint Capela being dangled.
  • The Pelicans are monitoring the Wizards’ interest in trading All-Star guard Bradley Beal.
  • The Celtics and impending free agent Kyrie Irving will meet soon, possibly before the draft, to discuss his future with the organization.
  • The Grizzlies have ramped up trade talks involving point guard Mike Conley. The Jazz are the leading contenders for Conley’s services.
  • The Suns have discussed moving the No. 6 pick, as well as forwards T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson, in separate trade packages.

Suns Notes: Front Office, Price, Warren, Jackson

A recent report from ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz portrayed the situation in Phoenix as one long plagued by dysfunctional leadership, from owner Robert Sarver on down, and questioned the Suns‘ current front office structure, which features James Jones and Trevor Bukstein operating as interim co-GMs. For his part though, Jones believes he, Bukstein, and the rest of the club’s current management group has done well dealing with a challenging situation after former GM Ryan McDonough was unexpectedly fired in October.

“I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job,” Jones said, per Gina Mizell of The Athletic.

Within her look at the Suns’ front office situation, Mizell notes that, despite not fully replenishing their scouting department after some dismissals last fall, the Suns have been active when it comes to scouting college prospects, sending personnel to multiple ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, and Murray State games over the past couple of months.

“The perception is that we’re not out there,” Jones said. “We are out there.”

While they haven’t replaced all the basketball evaluators that were fired along with McDonough, the Suns did quietly hire longtime NBA guard Ronnie Price as a scout, Mizell notes, confirming a previous report from John Gambadoro of ArizonaSports.com. The franchise has also “taken steps to add offseason consulting help” for evaluating international draft-eligible players, though there are no top-tier European prospects like Luka Doncic available this year, Mizell writes.

Here’s more from out of Phoenix:

  • Suns forward T.J. Warren, who has been sidelined since January 22 with an ankle injury, remains out for tonight’s game against Utah. However, head coach Igor Kokoskov said on Tuesday that the club has yet to have any discussions about shutting down Warren for the season, tweets Mizell.
  • Although it’s clear that 2018 lottery pick Mikal Bridges will be a building block for the Suns going forward, it remains to be seen whether 2017 lottery pick Josh Jackson is still a part of that core group, according to Bob Young of The Athletic. As Young outlines, Jackson’s long-term place in Phoenix will be even more up in the air if Kelly Oubre re-ups with the team this summer.
  • Heading into Wednesday night, the Suns have won five of their last seven games, a stretch that coincides with Devin Booker being as healthy and productive as he has been all season, writes Cody Cunningham of Suns.com. While the hot streak may cost Phoenix the top spot in the 2018/19 Reverse Standings, Booker’s run is a positive sign as he prepares to enter the first season of his five-year, maximum-salary extension this summer.
  • In a separate article for Suns.com, Cunningham explores how the Suns’ young players are looking to develop leadership skills.

Suns Notes: Morant, Oubre, Warren, Bender

Suns owner Robert Sarver and many of the team’s front office executives attended the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter links).

That’s noteworthy because they were taking a closer look at Murray State sophomore guard Ja Morant. Interim GM James Jones, assistant GM Trevor Buckstein, director of player personnel Bubba Burrage and director of basketball analytics Jake Loos were also in attendance.

Phoenix currently has the second-worst record in the league behind only the Knicks. Morant is ranked third on ESPN’s Top 100 prospect list and first among point guards, a position of major need for the Suns. He scored 36 points against Belmont in the OVC title game to carry the Racers into the NCAA Tournament.

We have more on the Suns:

  • Forward Kelly Oubre Jr. reached his starter criteria and is eligible for a $4.9MM qualifying offer, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. He met the criteria by averaging 2,000 minutes during the course of the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons. His cap hold of $9.6MM in the offseason remains the same, Marks adds. Oubre is averaging 16.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 28.8 MPG over 36 games since he was acquired from Washington.
  • It might be time for the Suns to shut down T.J. Warren, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. Warren missed his 19th consecutive game on Sunday due to right ankle soreness. The injury can be more accurately characterized as a bone bruise, Rankin notes. Coach Igor Kokoskov indicated no decision had been made on Warren’s season status. “I don’t have that answer,” he said. “My approach is whoever is available to play, I’m going to try to use and incorporate in the game plan and the rotation and try to see if he can help us win games.”
  • Power forward Dragan Bender has seen his minutes uptick in Warren’s absence, Rankin points out in the same piece. Bender has averaged 16.0 MPG in five March games, though he has posted a modest stat line of 3.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG. Bender, the fourth pick of the 2016 draft, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after the club declined his fourth-year option prior to the start of the season.

Trade Rumors: Gasol, Conley, Hornets, Wolves, Suns

The Grizzlies hold two of the NBA’s biggest trade chips as today’s trade deadline approaches, and the two teams linked most frequently to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, respectively, remain in the hunt for those players, according to reports.

Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted this morning that the Hornets continue to engage the Grizzlies on a potential deal for Gasol, which has been rumored throughout the week, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter) that the two teams are still trying to bridge the gap in those talks.

Meanwhile, on the Conley front, the Jazz have been most frequently cited as a potential landing spot for the veteran point guard. Despite whispers that Conley prefers not to end up in Utah, the Jazz haven’t abandoned their efforts to acquire him, according to Stein, who tweets that Memphis has considered waiting until the offseason to revisit Conley trade talks.

Even if Gasol and/or Conley stay put, it could still be an active deadline in Memphis. Stein notes (via Twitter) that JaMychal Green is attracting trade interest. Garrett Temple and Justin Holiday have also been mentioned as potential trade candidates.

Here are a few more trade rumors from across the league:

  • While their focus is on Gasol for now, the Hornets were in the mix for Harrison Barnes before he was sent to Sacramento, according to Stein (Twitter link).
  • The Timberwolves haven’t made any serious progress on any deals, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who observes (via Twitter) that the Jeff Teague, Gorgui Dieng, and Taj Gibson contracts won’t be easy to move due to large cap hits and – in the case of Teague and Dieng – multiyear commitments. Anthony Tolliver, on a smaller expiring contract, has generated interest and could be moved today, Wolfson adds.
  • League sources tell Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic that the Suns haven’t talked to the Lakers about a Lonzo Ball deal and that Josh Jackson and T.J. Warren aren’t expected to go anywhere today.
  • Although there may be an outside perception that Anthony Davis‘ trade request has destabilized the Pelicans, none of his teammates have shown even a hint of animosity toward him, as Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com details. Head coach Alvin Gentry called Davis “a great kid,” while teammate Jrue Holiday said, he “loves” having AD around. “He’s like my big brother. He takes care of me,” Jahlil Okafor said of Davis. “… Selfishly, I would love to be by him every day like I have been this year. But at the end of the day, I just want him to be happy.”

Pacific Notes: Bell, Booker, LeBron, Warren

Warriors coach Steve Kerr and reserve big man Jordan Bell engaged in a brief argument during the team’s game against the Lakers on Monday, with both figures visibly upset and Kerr eventually walking away.

The dispute occurred during a timeout with 5:14 left in the fourth, with Bell playing the final seven minutes of the team’s blowout victory.

“It was a total misinterpretation of something I said,” Kerr said, as relayed by Monte Poole of NBC Sports, “and we cleared it up.”

Bell has seen his minutes decrease from 14.2 to 10.9 per game this season, with the 24-year-old currently in his second campaign with Golden State. The return of DeMarcus Cousins is only going to complicate his role further, as most of the back-up center minutes are set for Kevon Looney.

“We’re all gonna go through times throughout the NBA when we want to speak our minds and vent, and we might be frustrated over some things,” teammate Kevin Durant said when discussing Bell. “Coach has been so open in letting guys get that out but also challenging guys as well. It’s a healthy dialogue, and it’s just a healthy relationship between us and Coach. He lets us know what he sees out there and if you have something to say to him back, he’s not going to be afraid to go back at you.

“I think Jordan understands that, at this point, we just want to continue to keep getting better. Coach will always – especially the younger guys in the league – definitely be on them a little bit more because he expects a lot out of them. He sees the potential in him. On Jordan’s side, we just want him to keep playing. That stuff happens, so we’ll move on.”

The Warriors have the option to offer Bell a $1.8MM qualifying offer prior to free agency this summer.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Suns guard Devin Booker was fined $25K for escalating an on-court altercation by pushing Wolves center Gorgui Dieng on Wednesday, the NBA announced. Both Booker and Dieng were ejected following the scuffle.
  • The talent and leadership of LeBron James may not be enough for the Lakers to make the playoffs this season, Bill Oram of The Athletic cautions. James signed a four-year, $154MM contract to join the Lakers in free agency last summer, immediately changing the direction of the franchise to compete this season. He’s missed the past 14 games due to a groin injury, however, watching his team slip to the ninth-best record in the West (25-23) from afar. “No one here is just counting on LeBron carrying all the weight and taking us there,” coach Luke Walton said. “We know the only way to get there is to work. And for everyone to step up and make plays.”
  • Suns forward T.J. Warren is expected to miss two to three weeks after sustaining a bone bruise in his left ankle, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Warren’s timetable means he’ll likely return around the All-Star break in mid-February, with second-year player Josh Jackson set to get additional minutes in his place. Warren has averaged 18 points and four rebounds per game this season, shooting 49% from the floor and a career-high 43% from behind-the-arc.

Suns Notes: Arena, Bender, Trade Candidates, Kokoskov

The Phoenix City Council approved a $230MM deal tonight for improvements to Talking Stick Resort Arena that will ensure the Suns remain in the downtown facility through 2037, writes Jessica Boehm of The Arizona Republic. Under the agreement, the city will cover $150MM in renovations, while the team will be responsible for $80MM, plus any overruns.

Council also agreed to put $2MM per year into a renewal and replacement fund over the next 12 1/2 years to cover future renovation needs. The Suns will contribute $1MM each year over that same time frame. The franchise will continue to be in charge of operations and maintenance for the arena and will pay rent to the city based on annual proceeds.

The Suns will also build a practice facility with an estimated cost of $25-$50MM. The team pledges to remain at Talking Stick Resort Arena for the next 18 years with an option to extend the lease through 2042. The Suns could be fined up to $200MM if they break that lease.

There’s more Suns news to pass along:

  • With Deandre Ayton and Richaun Holmes both injured, Dragan Bender may be looking at his last chance to prove he can be a contributor in Phoenix, notes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Bender posted double-doubles in back-to-back starts and is showing glimpses of why Phoenix made him the fourth overall pick in 2016. He’s still averaging just 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per night in 16 games. “You have to (be) really, really hard mentally on yourself,” Bender said, “and be able to tell yourself each and every day to push through it. It’s a rough business. You can sit for 45 games, and then two guys went down with injuries — which is unfortunate — but it’s time to get in the game and show what you can do.”
  • Troy Daniels, Josh Jackson, Elie Okobo and T.J. Warren are the most likely Suns to be traded before the deadline, Mizell adds in a separate story. Daniels has only appeared in 22 games, playing mostly when others are injured; the acquisition of Kelly Oubre has lessened the need for Jackson; Okobo may be shipped out in the search for a point guard; and Warren might fetch a nice return in the middle of his career-best season. She adds that Bender, Holmes and Jamal Crawford may be enticing because they have expiring contracts.
  • Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines the performance of Igor Kokoskov in his first season as an NBA head coach.

Suns Notes: Arena, Griffin, Ownership, Warren

Responding to news that a Phoenix City Council vote on funding for arena renovations was set to be postponed in order to accommodate public hearings on the proposal, Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley issued a statement today, which reads as follows:

“We have learned that a request has been made to continue the agenda item on the arena renovation until a council meeting on January 23. We very much look forward to publicly discussing the many ways in which Talking Stick Resort Arena benefits Downtown Phoenix and our community at large, and answering any question the Council and their constituents may have about the arena and the proposed renovation.”

Rowley’s statement also included an indirect response to rumors that owner Robert Sarver has threatened to move the franchise to Seattle or Las Vegas if the Suns can’t reach an agreement with the city of Phoenix on funding for the arena renovations.

“Our priority remains being in Downtown Phoenix long term, and we’re excited about the opportunity that lies ahead,” Rowley said.

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Bob Young of The Athletic makes the case for why the Suns should make former Cavaliers GM David Griffin their next head of basketball operations after firing Ryan McDonough earlier this fall. Young also reports within that story that some of Sarver’s minority partners  are “understandably disgruntled about the direction of the team.” However, the structure of Phoenix’s ownership group means there’s little they can do.
  • Despite having failed to crack the 24-win mark since the 2014/15 season, the Suns are still building from the ground up and don’t appear to be on the verge of reaching the next stage of their rebuilding process, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic details. “We don’t have a foundation to maintain,” head coach Igor Kokoskov said. “We have nothing to polish. We have to build.”
  • Elsewhere in Mizell’s story, she notes that there have been multiple instances this season where players forgot what to run or didn’t execute a play as intended during out-of-timeout sets. Ryan Anderson said he has asked Kokoskov to reiterate a play in case his younger teammates “are afraid that they’re gonna appear to not be locked in” if they make a similar request.
  • Suns forward T.J. Warren was fined $15K for directing inappropriate language toward a referee following his ejection on Monday, the league announced today in a press release. It was Warren’s first game back from an ankle injury.

Suns Notes: Warren, Jackson, Ayton, Booker

The Suns are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and have dropped 11 of their last 12, as their offense struggles immensely without top scorers Devin Booker and T.J. Warren in the lineup. Phoenix has cracked the 100-point mark just once in its last six games and has posted nine-point first quarters twice during that stretch.

However, while Booker’s return still isn’t imminent, the team will get some added firepower this week, with Warren poised to return to the lineup on Monday, as Bob Young of The Athletic details.

“We’re missing him and Book, our two leading scorers,” Jamal Crawford said. “When you have those guys, it kind of settles everybody else down. (Warren) is somebody who helps give the team that swagger, for sure. Offense has been pretty hard to come by, but I think we’ll figure it out.”

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Since entering the NBA in 2017, former fourth overall pick Josh Jackson has played for three different head coaches and two general managers. Speaking to Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer, Jackson said that he thinks the instability in Phoenix has had an effect on his play. “It would definitely be a lot better if we were more stable,” Jackson said recently. “I don’t think any other player in my class has gone through as much change within their team as I have. Since the moment I came into the league, it’s just been all about changes and adjustments, new coach after my second game of the season, like, c’mon now, really? That doesn’t happen.”
  • Addressing a heated postgame exchange with Devin Booker that took place after last Thursday’s loss to Portland, rookie center Deandre Ayton downplayed the incident, saying that he and Booker are “just two guys that want to win,” writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • Earlier today, we relayed a couple other Suns-related news items, passing along word of the Suns’ contract talks with Eric Moreland and writing that at least eight teams have inquired on Trevor Ariza.