NBA

Are there any free agents the Suns should target?

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End of July. The real canine days of summer. The beauty of the NBA is that it’s a league that typically has an 11-month news cycle. We have the NBA Draft, Free Agency, NBA Summer League, Preseason, Regular Season, Trade Deadline, Playoff Race, Playoffs, and Finals. Not much happens for a short period between late July and early August.

That doesn’t stop the Phoenix Suns from being in the spotlight. They’ve been linked to Kevin Durant and every day we look forward to this draw to see whether or not we’re chosen to be the destination for the 12-All Star. While we patiently await that announcement, there are still viable options available in the free agent market that the Phoenix Suns could theoretically use to fill out their roster.

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It’s all based on Durant’s decision, because if he ends up in Phoenix and the depth of the team is drained, you can expect to hear some of these following names signed to deals that will see the Suns field the list of 15.

We don’t know what would have to go to Brooklyn in order to get Durant here. We all have an idea, but you don’t know until you know. Let’s look at these free agent names through the lens of we don’t get Durant. It’s probably the most viable option anyway.

The Phoenix Suns are currently rushing 14 of their 15 total players. Here’s how the list looks as of this writing:

The obvious need, especially given James Jones’ “three by five” philosophy, is the backup small forward backup. But the flexibility of newly acquired Josh Okogie and Damion Lee could compensate for this shortcoming in this position.

What is necessary? Another keeper? A wing ? Who is available? Put on your scuba gear, because we’re diving in.

The level “Go get them”

There aren’t many players left that we should consider ‘fetch’. Since Phoenix is ​​subject to the luxury tax, a $1.5 million deal isn’t worth that much after taxes. The 2022-23 NBA season will feature a luxury tax of $150.3 million, and current Suns salaries currently total $167.2 million, which is the 6th highest in the NBA. The team expects to have a luxury tax bill of $39.9 million.

Since the Suns are currently over the $16.9 million cap, based on the salary they would pay the incoming free agent, they would pay $3.25 for every dollar over the cap. So if they brought in someone for a $1.75 million contract, they would have to pay $5.69 million for the cap.

Therefore, the player you bring should justify this cap reached. I’m sure it’s more complicated than that – you need a PhD to understand all the intricacies of the NBA cap and I don’t have that degree – but here are a few players who might fit the bill if needed.

Montrezl Harrell

The Suns seem to be good at power forward. But are they? Harrell possesses physicality, size, and energy to all four, which are attributes the Suns could still use.

Harrell, 28, averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 23.1 minutes off the bench last season for the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

The challenge facing anyone trying to sign Harrell? He faces drug trafficking charges in the state of Kentucky after being arrested with three pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana. So there is this…

Dennis Schroder

Once upon a time, Dennis Schröder was reportedly offered a four-year, $84 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. He turned it down before the start of the 2021-22 season, opting to bet on himself and get a bigger deal elsewhere.

This contract never came.

He signed with the Boston Celtics for 1 year and $5.9 million. In 49 games with Boston, Schröder scored 14.4 points and added 4.2 assists. He played 49 games with the Celtics, starting in 25. The team was 31-25 when they traded him to the Houston Rockets for Daniel Theis.

Boston would finish the regular season 16-6 and head to the NBA Finals. Schröder would play in 15 games for the Rockets, up from 4, and become an unrestricted free agent.

It’s still not signed.

He will be 29 at the start of the NBA season and has 9 years of NBA experience. The former 17th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft has history with Chris Paul; the two played together in Oklahoma City in 2019-20, which saw the best production of his career.

Schroder would be a perfect fit for the Suns if he came in, and in Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson fashion, knew his role as jabroni.

Ish Wainright

Because, come on, we love Ish!

The “I wouldn’t mind” level

There are certain names that could fit into Phoenix based on their skills and what they could bring to the bench. We’re not looking for the All-Stars expected in free agency; rather we are looking for guys who can replace in case of injury.

Here are a few players I wouldn’t mind seeing the Suns add to the roster.

Facundo Campazzo

He annoys you. He annoys me. He could annoy the opposition for both of us. And we would benefit a lot from it.

Campazzo was one of the annoyances of the 2021 NBA playoffs for the Suns, and even though Phoenix infamously swept the Denver Nuggets, Facundo Campazzo stirred emotions that would be mirrored by Jose Alvardo of the New Orleans Pelicans a season later.

The 5’10” Campazzo, who averaged 5.6 points and 3.5 assists in 130 games for Denver over two seasons, might be small. But he has a championship-level heart, winning the championship in EuroLeague twice (2015 and 2018), the Spanish League Championship three times (2015, 2018, 2019) and the Argentine League Championship four times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014).

The Suns wouldn’t need him often, but when Monty Williams called him, he tried his best.

carmelo anthony

I’m just as shocked as you that I’m considering this, but if you need someone to come off the bench and provide an offensive spark – something we shouldn’t expect from Josh Okogie – why not bring in a mercenary who knows how to do just that?

Melo has been doing this for a few seasons, moving from team to team as he seeks his first professional championship. The 10-time All Star has played for six teams, most recently logging minutes in Los Angeles. He played 26 minutes a night with the Lakers, scoring 13.3 points in 69 games (3 starts).

The old man can still score.

He will be 38 next season and, if the contract is good, why not? Oh, because of all this “chemistry” stuff? Yeah, I hear you there. Melo is a big personality who demands attention and the ball. But if his banana boat buddy Chris Paul can set the appropriate expectations of his role, having someone who could contribute offensively never hurts.

The “Please Don’t” Level

There are still guys who carry recognizable names with them — a la Carmelo Anthony — but don’t belong on the Phoenix Suns roster.

Dwight Howard

Phoenix doesn’t need more depth at five, let alone in the form of Dwight Howard. Similar to Carmelo Anthony, he played with the Lakers last season, hoping LeBron James’ greatness would equal another ring (he won one with the Lakers in 2020). Howard was averaging 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds at age 36.

From a locker room perspective, however, Howard can be troublesome. Last season he got into it with Anthony Davis on the bench, a worrying occurrence as the Lakers had personnel issues and underperformed all season.

LaMarcus Aldridge, Hassan Whiteside, Blake Griffin and/or André Iguodala

There are no viable arguments to bring one of these players. If it was 2015, yes, go get them. But if you’re looking for value for money, you won’t find it with any of these players.

Elfrid Payton, Greg Monroe, Markieff Morris, Josh Jackson and/or Eric Bledsoe

We’ve seen these players in purple and orange before. No need to see them again.


James Jones has plenty to focus on. The Durant contest continues to dictate all future action. If this deal falls through, however, I’m sure there are free agents he’s closing to watch and assess whether or not they could contribute to this team.

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