So where are we now?
First, let me get this off my chest: I am more upset about the Warrick signing than I am about Amare leaving. It was time for Amare to leave. I just wanted a little something for the trouble. And Warrick isn't a bad deal. The contract is solid for his skillset and a year ago, I thought he'd be an okay injury-fill-in for Amare while the man recovered from the eye thing.
It's the timing that bothers me. Warrick, or a guy like him, will be available in late July or August. In the meantime, why not have some patience and exhaust all possible avenues for sign-and-trade with Amare's cap space? It is still entirely possible that the NY thing falls through. There are still four other teams with max cap space, biting their nails over LBJ/Wade/Bosh decisions and crapping their pants over all three going to one or two teams. Then what? It's entirely possible that Miami is left holding the bag (of cash), or New Jersey after the music stops, and suddenly Amare's getting offered $130 mil and the Suns are being showered with draft picks for the trouble. Sure, that might not have happened, but why not wait a WEEK to find out?!?! A week! I mean, damn, we still have three months till training camp! Ugh.
But anyway, I digress. We have a solid Plan E on the roster in Warrick. And in three months, I'll be excited about he possibilities of a PF war for minutes among Warrick, Clark, Lawal and Collins.
Let's take a look at where we stand as of today, and what options we have under the CBA.
Here's the roster, with salaries included:
Jason Richardson 14.44
Steve Nash 10.31
Leandro Barbosa 7.10
Channing Frye 5.20 (new contract)
Hakim Warrick 4.00 (new contract)
Grant Hill 3.24
Jared Dudley 2.15
Goran Dragic 1.97
Earl Clark 1.90
Robin Lopez 1.87
Dwayne Jones .99
Taylor Griffin .76
Gani Lawal .00 (no cap hold until signed)
Dwayne Collins .00 (no cap hold until signed)
Total salaries: $53.93 million
New salary cap (estimated till next week): $56.1 million
That leaves $2 million to spend. Woo. Hoo.
A few things stand out to me. Hakim Warrick is now the 5th highest paid player on the team, at 4 mil. J-Rich is by far our highest paid player, at $14.4 mil. Most guys on the team are underpaid.
And the Suns have assets. Eight guys who are proven rotation players, making $7 million-per-year or less (six of those making $4 mil or less). Particularly, LB, Frye and Warrick are prime trade assets.
LB is the most tradeable this summer. A good plan would be to assess the roster, and fill in gaps with LB's $7 million. Either straight trade or sign-and-trade with a restricted/unrestricted FA for up to 9 mil (LB + 2 mil remaining under cap).
And then there's Jason Richardson. If there was ever a contract begging for a Pau Gasol moment, it's this one. He is the Suns' golden egg. Huge contract, expiring right before the impending lockout. Next February, several teams are going to want to dump big salaries in anticipation of a harder, lower cap. The only question remaining is who? The Hornets, with Chris Paul? The Nuggets, with Carmelo Anthony? The Sixers, with Andre Iguodala? The list will grow over time. And all this while keeping the Suns at/under the cap, which removes Sarver's meddling from major consideration.
(I am intentionally not mentioning Nash here as a trade asset. Some of you want that, but I don't. Nash sells tickets, and Nash/Hill will keep us competitive for 1-2 more years during this transition. Until death do us part, as far as I'm concerned.)
It's time to look forward, folks. The transition has begun in ernest, while Nash and Hill as our cruise directors, entrusted to make life easier along the way and teach these kids how to win before shuffling off into retirement.
All Sarver has to do now is hire a solid GM that can creatively use these assets to mold a new Suns dynasty.
Chris Paul? Carmelo Anthony? Andre Iguodala? The list will grow.