On Sunday night, erstwhile Suns forward Channing Frye returns to the valley with the Orlando Magic as they come into town to face the Suns.

When Channing Frye jumped the shark from the Phoenix Suns to the Orlando Magic in July, he said he wanted to go to a team focused on the future and the development of young players into a playoff caliber team. It was a sub-dig at the Suns for putting him on the back burner after he opted out while they courted LeBron James and considered trading for Kevin Love in a get-rich-quick scheme before turning back to their own veterans' free agency.

As free agency approached, there was no obvious market for a raise over Frye's $7.5 million contract last season, but that proved folly as the Magic topped it before the gates even opened. The Magic gave the 31-year old Frye $32 million guaranteed over four years, a raise from his last contract signed in 2010 (5 years for $34 million, which had an opt-out in the summer of 2014).

The Suns lost out on LeBron, but not before Frye had already left for Orlando. They turned quickly to a great bargain in Isaiah Thomas and then signed Anthony Tolliver to replicate a bit of Frye's skills. But it was Thomas who took over the majority of Frye's minutes while the rest of the roster shifted to make room.

Little did Suns fans realize at the time how neatly Thomas would replace Frye as the most polarizing player on the roster. Thomas had a free ride all summer as Suns fans hated on Eric Bledsoe's holdout, but once the games began and the Suns didn't shoot out of the gate quickly, the fire turned to Thomas who continues to express desire to start and finish games.

Frye, meanwhile, moved into the very situation he desired this summer - as the veteran locker room presence among a team of kids who just don't know how to win games yet.

Within two weeks of the season starting, though, Frye was already tired of losing.

Magic lose to Raptors

Frye finished with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point land, to go with six rebounds in 43 minutes. While some might take a down-to-the-final-minute road loss against the best team in the conference as a sign of growth for the young and still-rebuilding Magic, the ninth-year vet didn't seem especially interested in praising baby steps after the game.

"Tip your hat to them, but you know, again, everyone's like, 'Oh, we're close to winning,'" Frye said after the game, as captured in an NSFW Vine by Deadspin's Tim Burke. "But that's still f****** losing."

--Recap on yahoo! Sports, 11/12/2014

But Frye hasn't been an on-court savior quite yet for the Magic. He's been less effective offensively than a year ago with the Suns (career-low 9.7 points per 36 minutes vs. 14.2 last year), though his three-point shooting has been stellar (42%).

Frye still shoots threes whenever he can, taking a career-high 64% of all his shots from behind the arc. With the Suns, Frye averaged 52% of his shots from behind the arc. He's a full-time stretch four with Nikola Vucevic manning the paint and cousin Tobias Harris pulling down more rebounds from the SF spot than Frye at the PF spot, mostly because Frye is not getting any offensive boards thanks to his position behind the arc.

In Friday night's loss to the Pacers, Frye expressed more concern over the Magic's fortitude in the face of adversity.

Magic lose to Pacers

Frye had three 3-pointers in the first half, but did not score in the second half. He said the young Magic squad has hit a dangerous point in the season where they must respond so that the momentum doesn't continue work against them.

"It was a dangerous time, I don't know, how many losses ago,'' Frye said. "We want to get better. That sense of urgency should start to get in people's guts now and we've just got to pick it up. We did some good things, but we can't have lulls and we're not good enough to completely (mess) up the third quarter like that, especially against a good team with veterans.''

--recap on NBA.com on 11/29/2014

It's going to be a long season for Frye in Orlando. The Magic are 6-12 and already lost rookie Aaron Gordon for the season. Even without Gordon, the other top 6 guys in the rotation around Frye are 24 or younger.

The Magic have a bright future, but might just see their team play out their rookie contracts before becoming playoff contenders. Both of their best players - Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris - are already in their fourth seasons (same as the Morris twins) and will be restricted free agents next summer. Neither was signed to a long-term deal last fall.

Hopefully, Channing Frye can enjoy the progress year over year without the pressure of making the playoffs.

It wasn’t pretty by any measure, as the Denver Nuggets picked apart the Suns, in route to a 25-point victory. The Nuggets jumped on the Suns from the start, and held a large lead all the way...

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The Denver Nuggets had a very easy win against the Phoenix Suns tonight by the score of 122-97. The Nuggets outrebounded the Suns 58-33 including 16 offensive rebounds. Aaron Afflalo had 22 points and Ty Lawson finished with 12 points and 11 assists.

This was not a fun game to watch. The Nuggets dominated the boards and the Suns did not seem interested in any part of defending or rebounding. The worst part of this game was the Nuggets did not even play that well. They tried to rebound the ball and were giving the normal level of effort. At certain points I honestly believed that the Suns were barely trying. Nobody stood out positively for either team and it was just a rout. Everyone on the Nuggets played decent enough and everyone on the Suns did not play well.

Here's a small recap of each quarter. It was not a complicated game.

First quarter

The Suns missed their first three shots, which were all open looks. Denver just seemed to be able to get wherever they wanted to go. Hornacek was so desperate for a spark he brought on T.J. Warren in the late first quarter and went to Gerald Green rather quickly. It didn't do much. The Suns were getting handled on the boards and that would not change.

Second quarter

Denver started the quarter by making all of their open looks, including a couple from deep. The Nuggets had 9 offensive rebounds in the first half and a bunch of second-chance points. The game arrived at a certain point in this quarter where whoever had the ball decided it was their responsibility to end the drought. Gerald Green tried and so did Eric Bledsoe. Both were unsuccessful and the Suns ended the half down 66-47.

Third quarter

The Nuggets continued to stay at that overall "good enough" level and the Suns never came out in this half to make a run. At one point Denver led by 26 and they would extend it into the thirties even. It was more of the same listless basketball and nothing new. Oh, look, there's Archie!

Fourth quarter

The young guys got to play! Tyler Ennis, Archie Goodwin, Anthony Tolliver, Alex Len, and T.J. Warren played for most of the period. Draw whatever conclusions you want from their playing time. They actually had some energy to their play, which was nice. It was a very good look for the coaches as well to see what needs work if they didn't know already. What else do you expect when a team is down 30?

The Suns finish out this month with the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

No injury update on Isaiah Thomas as of two hours before tipoff. Keep an eye on our twitter where I will be live tweeting the game for an update. The comments as always will have that covered as well. Let's basketball.

When: 7PM AZ time (9 PM EST)
Where: Denver
Watch/Listen: Fox Sports AZ, Arizona Sports 98.7 FM

Last time....

If you don't remember Gerald Green happening and Markieff Morris' insane stat line, here's the recap from Wednesday when the Suns played Denver at home. A home-and-home with the Nuggets will finish tonight in Denver. The Suns will look to close out November with only 3 losses with a game against Orlando following this one on the 30th.

The Nuggets

Denver stayed with the Suns in those first three quarters because three of their starters had great days. Timofey Mozgov (8-13), Wilson Chandler (7-12), and Aaron Afflalo (6-11) all had efficient nights. Mozgov added 13 rebounds to his line along with 3 steals and 2 blocks. As for the big negative, it was Eric Bledsoe holding Ty Lawson to only 4-16 shooting on the night. Look for Denver to try to get Lawson some easy buckets early, as they can't be favored in games when Lawson shoots like he did on Wednesday.

The Suns

There is no word on whether or not Isaiah Thomas will play tonight. Look for an update in the gamethread. On Wednesday the Suns had 27 assists, including 10 from Bledsoe and 7 from Keef. While Green's explosion won the game, those assist numbers always help. Look for head coach Jeff Hornacek to encourage more of that ball movement against the 27th ranked defense in the league.

Key Players

Lawson for Denver and Green for Phoenix. Lawson still had 12 assists and 7 rebounds Wednesday despite the bad shooting night. He's a very good point guard who will be able to hang with the Suns despite their talent at the position. Denver was in the game until Green just flat out ended it, so I expect Denver's head coach Brian Shaw to pay a lot more attention to him when he checks in.


Not much else to cover after we just saw these two teams play each other two days ago. This is a tough game to predict because you don't know if you're going to get the Nuggets who won five straight or the Nuggets who gave up 130 or more points twice already this season. Denver is always a tough place to play and I think with a really tough schedule coming up at 7-8 the Nuggets will come out with a real sense of urgency tonight. The Suns will have to have one of their better games of the season to get a win.

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