Today, the Phoenix Suns will introduce their newest point guard, Isaiah Thomas, and newest backup power forward, Anthony Tolliver.

Official release from Suns:

The Phoenix Suns will hold a press conference TODAY, July 21, at 12:00 p.m. to introduce the newest members of the Suns, Isaiah Thomas and Anthony Tolliver. The press conference will be held in the Al McCoy Media Center on the event level of US Airways Center.

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Thomas was acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the Kings for Alex Oriahki, whose loss ultimately may have cost the Suns the Summer League championship. The Suns lost every big man during the short week in Vegas, and could have really used Oriahki's size against Minnesota and Dallas.

But those games didn't count. The ones that count start in November, and Isaiah Thomas will be coming off the bench as the super-sub Sixth Man candidate from day one.

Anthony Tolliver will be at the press conference today as well. The Suns just announced his signing, officially, this morning via a press release.

Sean Sullivan and I will both be there, so drop your questions in the comments and we'll try to get them answered.

In case you missed it

Contrary to what you might hear in other outlets, I have been told by a well-placed league source that there is "no truth to the rumor" about the Suns working a trade with the Lakers and that today's news conference is not to announce that trade. This was re-iterated to me several times over the weekend.

It’s not exactly an award that will be on T.J. Warren’s mantle, but it means something to the Phoenix Suns. Warren, the Suns’ first-round draft pick, was named to the Las Vegas...

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Scott Howard, Sreekar, and Bryan Gibberman return to deliver the wood anniversary edition of Bright Side After Dark. There's some discussion of Phoenix Suns basketball.

I can't believe we've done 5 of these either.  For the first time since our initial podcast we actually recorded this one after dark but we didn't want to post until morning in the US so we could make sure our European listeners had nothing to listen to on their way to work.

On this very special episode of BSAD, we talk about the Eric Bledsoe contract situation, discuss Greg Monroe twitter rumors, ponder Anthony Tolliver's old looking face, and wave a tearful goodbye to Ish Smith.  We also add a little hint of Shavlik Randolph while telling a series of bad jokes on subjects ranging from the Flintstones to apes on horseback shooting machine guns while jumping through fire.

Enjoy these satisfied listener testimonials:

@ScottHoward42 Thank you so much love it all, especially the drawing of the dragon & me welcoming you and poor #32 :) pic.twitter.com/oh7TYxjXyw

— kajkejti (@kajkejti) July 16, 2014

@sreekyshooter @ScottHoward42 your podcast is bizarrely entertaining. I'm a little dumber for having listened to it but I'm ok with that.

— veesar (@veesar) July 14, 2014

@ScottHoward42 @sreekyshooter @GibbermanAZ I'm skipping the Suns Summer League game to listen to the #BSAD podcast. I hate you guys.

— Eric Fong (@The_Fongmeister) July 14, 2014

Listen here:

Find Additional Basketball Podcasts with Bright Side After Dark on BlogTalkRadio

  Eric Bledsoe‘s future remains in limbo entering the fourth week of the NBA free agency period. Top-tier free agents have made their decisions. So have younger, second-tier talents. And...

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The WNBA All-Star Game is an advertisement for league. Did they get their message across?

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. With that there is no amount of words that can be written, read, or spoken to describe the atmosphere that was the 2014 WNBA All-Star Game this weekend. The Eastern Conference prevailed in overtime after numerous runs, great plays, and individual performances that were awe inspiring.

The Phoenix Mercury hosted the event with three players in uniform, but were not able to celebrate a victory in-front of their loyal fans and WNBA audience that had over 14,600 in attendance.

It was an event.

Shoni Schimmel of the Atlanta Dream, a rookie, led the Eastern Conference down the stretch with some jaw dropping plays that had Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris, and Ish Smith out of their seats every time down the court. Play-after-play the rookie made it known that she was built for this stage. She has the perfect style for an All-Star event finishing with 29 points and eight assists taking home Most Valuable Player honors. Not a starter for her team this season, Shimmel started as an All-Star, and was the All-Star in this event scoring or assisting on 20 of the teams final 31 points.

This has been the Season of Schimmel with her jersey being No. 1, starting in the All-Star Game, and winning the MVP all during a fairly quiet season in Atlanta averaging 7.1 points per game.

Tina Charles (19 points), Tamika Catchings (14 points 13 rebounds), and Angel McCoughtry (13 points 7 rebounds) also chipped for the East in victory.

For most of the game the West was in control of the game behind Skylar Diggins (27 points 7 assists), Brittney Griner (17 points 3 blocks), and Candice Dupree (12 points 8 rebounds). When the East made their run and took the lead the ball went in Maya Moore's (24 points 8 assists 5 rebounds) more than capable hands as she made the tough plays late to sent the game to overtime.

The stars were stars.

The game was live on ESPN2 at an optimal time for viewers around the world to give the league center stage. Sports are taking a breather right now as NBA Summer League and free-agency have more or less ended, football is still in hibernation, and baseball is baseball, a marathon that matters to few in July. You can argue the time slot at 3:30pm EST was not as ideal as possible, but the game was tipped and finished before 8pm and the night starting for most. Kids were able to watch. Advertisers got their message out.

Did the league get their message out?

Before the game WNBA President Laurel J. Richie was all smiles before the game discussing the events of the week and the success of the outreach the league has had with the community. The week was a success when measured in smiles and happiness that the league was able to produce over the course of the All-Star event that spanned from Thursday to Saturday afternoon.

President Richie was excited talking about expansion into the cities of Cleveland and an opportunity with a partnership with the Golden State Warriors.

Right now the 12 team league is operating with five teams in the "black" in terms of revenue and monetary success. Three teams mentioned were the Minnesota Lynx, Indiana Fever, and the Connecticut Sun are currently the teams she was able to verbally verify at the pre-game press conference. That is surprising considering the fact that the Lynx are tied to the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sun are connected to NCAA juggernaut Connecticut Huskies, and the Fever are in Basketball City with the Indiana Pacers. Last year there were six teams at the end, or 50% of the league.

It is alarming that those three teams are there for the mentioned affiliations, but also because of the fact that Minnesota has won a few championships recently and has the stars. Indiana won a championship and has a few stars. Those teams should be the most fruitful right now.

This year they are tracking five teams, or 41.6% of the league, with a few teams "on the bubble" as President Richie alluded to in her press conference.

There is no doubt that for those in attendance this was an event that would have turned even the most despondent viewer of the WNBA into a casual fan. At least when Shimmel or Moore or another star was on TV or coming to town. That is the message that the league wants to get out to the rest of the world that has not bought into the WNBA as a form of entertainment. There are stars.

There are plenty of stars.

The current favorite for league MVP played 16 minutes and then waived a towel in the most exciting game in years. A rookie won All-Star Game MVP. Griner dunked one home to get the fans in attendance on their feet. One of the top 5 players in the world, arguably, Elena Delle Donne didn't even play in the game. There is a lot to like about this league and the All-Star Game was a shinning example of that.

Turning the event into more of an event is a next step for the league. The NBA dominates an entire weekend with skill events, rookie challenges, former stars playing caricature basketball, and more. The WNBA has to find their "dunk contest" to get the fans invested. That is what gets people in-front of their televisions for the NBA All-Star Weekend before the game itself.

What would that event be? Who knows...

Overall the feeling coming out of U.S. Airways Center on All-Star Saturday Night for the WNBA was that the league is excited, exciting, and looking to grow. The underlying theme was teams are not finding financial success, the league is not getting itself in more optimal time slots for viewership, and there is a lot of room to grow.

This is all about the marketing and investment the league is selling to the masses. Did they get their message across to the world? Maybe, they did in Phoenix as nearly 15 thousand people saw one hell of a game.

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