NBA Basketball is back! Well, sort of. The 2013 Las Vegas Summer League is underway and will continue through July 22nd. The Suns played their first game yesterday (check out the recap here) and will play again on Monday and Tuesday. After that, the seeds will be set and tournament play will begin on Wednesday and run through the following Monday. Check out the complete Summer League Schedule here. We'll have plenty of Suns Summer League coverage throughout this week here on Bright Side of the Sun.

Meanwhile, NBA free agency will also be continuing. Although almost all of the big-name free agents have signed with teams already, there are several lower tier guys still being pursued by various teams - players such as Nate Robinson, Tyler Hansbrough, and Leandro Barbosa. The fates of a few RFAs such as Brandon Jennings and Nikola Peckovic are also yet to be decided.

Discuss any and all NBA news, rumors, and thoughts (Summer League, Free Agency, etc.) on this thread throughout the week. Let's go Suns!


Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I'm not talking merely about the Lakers, who recently lost Dwight Howard to Houston and were last seen signing the likes of Chris Kaman, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, and of course, Wes Johnson. I'm also talking about Wes himself, who was a #4 overall draft pick just THREE years ago and can now fetch only a one year minimum deal for $1 million.

Lakers agreed to terms with SG Wesley Johnson...1-yr deal for vet's min of $1 mill. Was 4th pick in 2010 draft, played last season for PHX.

— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 14, 2013

In all fairness, this is actually a good deal for the Lakers, as long as their expectations of Johnson are tempered to the relative range of the salary he will be making (tempered expectations - a reasonable thing to ask of Lakers fans, no?). Having signed Nick Young, they can expect Johnson to play a few minutes at the backup 2 and 3 spots per game, along with several DNPs (especially as long as Mike D'Antoni's their coach).

The Lakers are severely restricted in terms of financial flexibility so the deals they're making are great for them in a fiscal sense, although I'm really unsure of the final product of all of their separate deals. Chris Kaman, Nick Young, and Wes Johnson came at extremely reasonable prices, but they all have serious flaws that will continue to be exposed (and scrutinized to a greater extent in LA than with their past teams), especially in D'Antoni's system. Regardless, $1 million is a great price for Wes Johnson.

So let's go ahead and let Lakers fans enjoy this moment. Let's let them drool over Wesley's age (25), the high draft pick (4) with which he was chosen, as well as his prototypical NBA body and picturesque shooting form. Let's let them discuss his immense "talent" over the next few months so they ponder how it's even possible for a guy like him to be an unsuccessful NBA player. Most of all, let's let them enjoy the brightness of his amazing smile. Really, the guy literally has a million dollar smile - he'll be making exactly $1 million in LA.

In any case, I wish Wes the best of luck (for himself, not his new team). Even though he was a mere stopgap option for a 25 win team that was only acquired in order to receive a future draft pick, he was by all accounts a great teammate and never once complained when he was buried at the end of the bench for the first half of last season. He even relished his increased playing time during the second half of the year and really showed...something.

Suns fans can at least remember him for providing the best highlight of the team's 2012-13 season:

Phoenix Suns free agent Wesley Johnson has agreed to a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers where he’ll receive the veteran’s minimum worth around $1 million, according to the Los...

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Like a warning before any Jackass movie, let’s begin with a notice regarding all Las Vegas Summer League games. The performances witnessed in the NBA summer leagues do not accurately represent...

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First Quarter

The Suns wore their Halloween costume warmups. All black with white stripes down the side on the shorts and orange numbers and white letters on the shirts... oh, and sleeves.

Substitutions started early for the Suns, with Alex Oriakhi and Chris Babb coming in for starters Markieff Morris and Archie Goodwin, but not before Markieff and Archie combined for a dish (Goodwin) and dunk (Morris) on the break. Well executed set. Meyers Leonard and P.J. Tucker got tangled up about four minutes in and Leonard was t'd up, even though Tucker was the one who spiked the basketball into the stands. Nice to see Tucker's mean streak hasn't dissipated.

Joel Freeland, Leonard, Markieff Morris and Oriakhi were mixing it up inside a little bit... Oriahki lacks Leonard's height, but he's a bit of a dumptruck. Even with the wide body, Freeland appeared to be able to get his shot off over Oriahki. That may be a concern. Arinze Onuaku also threw his weight around inside, which he has plenty of. If Oriakhi is a dumptruck then Onuaku is a bulldozer. Both of these guys should be able to use their bodies to get the position they want... which they'll need to since they play below the rim.

The Blazers, led by C.J. McCollum's six points, won the first quarter (and the point by virtue of the Summer League scoring system) ``19-16.

Second Quarter

Goodwin and McCollum started the second quarter matched up against each other. Goodwin went past C.J. on one end and got to the line, then McCollum ended up draining a floater on the other end after using some creative dribbling to save the possession when Goodwin nearly stripped him.

Probably the second most impressive play of the game to this point was an emphatic put-back dunk by Dwayne Collins, who was a late addition to the Suns' Summer League squad. Collins was the 60th pick in the 2010 draft by the Suns and is wearing... #60. You all remember Dwayne Collins, right?

As the quarter progressed, McCollum started to work over his rookie counterpart Goodwin. Of course that should probably be expected since C.J. is an older and more polished player. Marshall took back the defensive duties and didn't fare better. While both of them looked overmatched defensively, it would appear that Goodwin has more of the necessary tools to become a better defender in time.

Marshall does have his plus attributes, though, which he displayed with a surgical pass to Markieff for a lob dunk. He was also able to absorb contact on a drive and finish the play... but failed to convert the three point play by missing the free throw.

The teams split the point for the second quarter (16-16) and Portland led 35-32 at the half, largely due to McCollum's 15 point first half.

Third Quarter

The third quarter began with Thomas Robinson erasing P.J.'s existence with a savage block on a Tucker drive to the rim. Robinson, who grabbed seven rebounds in the first half, was an imposing force throughout the game.

After receiving a technical foul on the defensive end, Markieff was able to vindicate himself with a put-back slam (complete with hand taps on both sides of the backboard) on the other end. Both of the Morri asserted themselves and were attacking the basket in tandem.

Suns substitutions started early again as the team went deep into the bench, with 12 players seeing action. It will be interesting to see if this strategy continues or whether the bench will be shortened in some games to give certain players extended burn. It can be hard to get in the game's flow with spot minutes.

Stopping McCollum must have been a point of emphasis at the intermission, because the Suns started to run doubles at him on the perimeter. The Suns looked much more crisp on both ends of the floor as they turned a three point halftime deficit into a 50-43 lead with 3:14 left in the period.

The extended bench philosophy continued as Jake Cohen checked in, giving every Suns' player an appearance in the game. The philosophy seemed to be working, though, as the Suns scored nearly as many points in the third quarter (28) as they had in the first two (32).

The Suns won the point and led 60-52 heading into the fourth.

Fourth Quarter

Dionte Christmas drained an early three and the route appeared to be underway as Phoenix extended to a 65-52 lead. And by appeared I mean it was.

Markieff Morris hit back to back jumpers and the lead ballooned to 17. Morris's jumper from 20' looked smooth. The Suns pesky defense left McCollum flustered and Portland struggled to find another source for offense. It's a good sign a team is playing stout defense when the other team's center (Leonard) is shooting off balance air balls from three point range. And by air ball I mean he missed the rim by about five feet.

Without about 5:00 left in the quarter the game was out of hand and both teams started playing carelessly more freely. Diante Garrett (and his hideous neon orange kicks) caught a pass and slashed down the baseline for a easy lay in. McCollum found Will Barton on the other end with a pass from near halfcourt for a lob dunk.

The Suns got the point for the quarter and the three for the game, giving them a total of 5.5. Good start towards their aspirations of claiming the Summer League crown.

Final Score: 82-69.

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