When I was delegated the duty given the privilege of representing BSotS in this theme day I instantly ran with the idea of implementing sweeping changes.  Although David Stern has been such an endearing fellow over the course of his career and has carved himself a special niche in all of our hearts I believe there are still a couple things he might have missed. I know, I know... how could I say something that could be construed as even slightly critical of such a magnanimous and infallible leader.  After all, just think of all the blessings he has bestowed upon the Phoenix Suns.  Many of you probably view him as your favorite uncle, or possibly even as a father figure.  I know I'm firmly affixed in the latter category.

But...

I still feel that several issues in the NBA exist and the current landscape could use some tilling.  After all, we're all about creating fertile soil to cultivate things here on the Bright Side.

I could turn this into a tedious, protracted volume of the litany of issues that currently exist, but instead I've decided to confine it to the first three concepts I would introduce before breakfast.  Being the new commissioner I would expect steak, eggs, bacon, hash browns, a bagel with cream cheese, fresh fruit and hand squeezed orange juice (done by table side).  Consider these my morning cup of coffee issues.

What to fix:

1. Instant Replay

2. The Lottery

3. The All-Star Game

Instant Replay:

All out of bounds plays should be reviewable.  Lots of them are easy calls, but when they are questionable the league should feel compelled to try to get them right.  Lots of times the referees will have a discussion on the court anyway. The review probably wouldn't take any longer than that with today's technology.

Any play that results in a dead ball could be reviewed before the inbounds... as long as it doesn't disturb the pace of the game.

An additional "referee" should be watching from a remote location so he can focus solely on trying to get these calls right and relaying them down to the refs on the court.  Five seconds?  Clock it on the remote tv.  I'm sure more applications could be brainstormed as well.

In the NBA Finals the refs missed an out of bounds call with about 3:00 left in a close game because it wasn't within their window.  How is that not an important call to get right?  Let's get it right NBA.

The Lottery:

Out of 1000 combinations

1. 180

2. 160

3. 140

4. 120

5. 100

6. 80

7. 60

8. 40

9. 20

10. 20

11. 20

12. 20

13. 20

14. 20

The number one pick would be guaranteed a pick no lower than 5 going down the line (instead of being currently assured of going no lower than four).  Hopefully this would stymie the rampant tanking currently on display.

And... before that...

Out of 1000 combinations

11. 200

12. 200

13. 200

14. 200

#8 seed. 100

#8 seed. 100

I would actually set this up so that the #8 seed in both conferences have a 10% chance to draw into the lottery (and a 5% chance for the #1 pick after that). These would go in any order, i.e. 11 could drop to 16 and vice versa.  I think this would create more competition for the final playoff spots.

The All-Star Game:

Fans will vote for 10 players irrespective of conference and position.  The coach with the better team record will have the first pick as they go down the line and select these players.  The coach that picked second will then have the first pick when selecting the reserves (once again irrespective of conference and position).

This should give the fans what they want and the coaches the ability to make sure the most deserving players are included in the game.

After Breakfast:

Who knows?  What would you do?  Tell me where I am fatuous or downright insane.  Offer your own suggestions or modifications to my musings.

The commissioner has left the podium.

The first big splash of the Ryan McDonough era came when the Suns traded Jared Dudley for Eric Bledsoe. The cost of acquiring Bledsoe was taking veteran Caron Butler off the Clippers' books. Butler has had a terrific career, but with his high salary and age-induced decline, he was no longer making a positive impact for the Clippers. However, one team's trash is another team's treasure. Where Butler was simply getting in the way for the Clippers, he will be a valuable asset for the Suns, regardless of the way they choose to use him.

Trade Bait?

I've seen a lot of comments on this blog about getting Butler out of Phoenix as soon as possible. After all, he's a veteran on a rebuilding team and all he's going to do is provide a few extra wins. The Suns traded away Luis Scola following similar logic. Why shouldn't Butler be next?

Butler does have value as a trade asset. Expiring contracts are always attractive to teams needing financial relief, and Butler is a sizable one with $8 million being owed to him this year in the final year of his contract (which also makes him the highest-paid player on the Suns roster). With Goran Dragic/Eric Bledsoe, Mook Morris, P.J. Tucker, Shannon Brown, Gerald Green and Archie Goodwin, the Suns have more than enough depth on the wing to move Butler without having to worry about it leaving a hole in the roster.

Trading Butler is something GM Ryan McDonough should and probably already has considered. If the Suns can get another asset back for him, make the move. However, Butler has plenty of value if the Suns hold onto him, and that might be the more likely option.

... Or Sticking Around?

In every press release and press conference, Caron Butler has been mentioned as a big part of the team. Why would the Suns give him so much attention if the plan was simply to dump him as soon as possible? I haven't seen Malcolm Lee even mentioned by the Suns, and the latest acquisitions haven't received as much attention either.

Caron "Tough Juice" Butler has yet to step on the court in a Suns jersey, but even so he's already being looked at as a team leader. Butler has been around the league a long time. He's not afraid to be vocal. He was an All-Star in his day and as such might have more credibility with the young players than someone like P.J. Tucker. He's been there and done that in the NBA.

He also has a very obvious and important role on this team. For those faint of heart, you may not want to look to closely at the following table. For those with strong stomachs, take a look at the 3-point percentage column.

Rk Player Age G GS MP FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P% ? FT FTA FT% ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1 Jared Dudley 27 79 50 27.5 4.0 8.5 .468 1.3 3.4 .391 1.6 2.1 .796 1.0 2.1 3.1 2.6 0.9 0.1 1.3 1.6 10.9
2 Sebastian Telfair 27 46 2 17.3 2.0 5.4 .381 0.9 2.5 .381 1.0 1.2 .772 0.3 1.2 1.5 2.5 0.6 0.2 1.2 1.8 6.0
3 Markieff Morris 23 82 32 22.4 3.2 8.0 .407 0.5 1.6 .336 1.1 1.5 .732 1.6 3.2 4.8 1.3 0.9 0.8 1.3 2.5 8.2
4 Wesley Johnson 25 50 21 19.1 3.2 7.9 .407 1.0 3.1 .323 0.5 0.7 .771 0.4 2.0 2.5 0.7 0.4 0.4 1.0 1.1 8.0
5 Goran Dragic 26 77 77 33.5 5.2 11.8 .443 1.1 3.6 .319 3.2 4.2 .748 0.8 2.3 3.1 7.4 1.6 0.3 2.8 2.8 14.7
6 Kendall Marshall 21 48 3 14.6 1.2 3.1 .371 0.5 1.5 .315 0.2 0.3 .571 0.1 0.8 0.9 3.0 0.5 0.1 1.2 1.0 3.0
7 P.J. Tucker 27 79 45 24.2 2.7 5.6 .473 0.3 0.9 .314 0.8 1.1 .744 1.7 2.8 4.4 1.4 0.8 0.2 0.8 1.8 6.4
8 Michael Beasley 24 75 20 20.7 4.1 10.2 .405 0.6 1.9 .313 1.3 1.7 .746 0.7 3.1 3.8 1.5 0.4 0.5 1.9 1.4 10.1
9 Marcus Morris 23 23 6 16.1 2.2 5.5 .405 0.5 1.7 .308 0.7 1.8 .405 0.7 1.8 2.5 0.7 0.8 0.2 1.0 1.7 5.7
10 Shannon Brown 27 59 22 23.8 4.1 9.7 .420 0.7 2.4 .277 1.7 2.1 .784 0.7 1.8 2.5 1.8 1.0 0.3 1.3 1.6 10.5
11 Diante Garrett 24 19 0 7.8 0.8 2.6 .327 0.2 0.8 .200 0.3 0.5 .500 0.3 0.5 0.8 1.6 0.5 0.0 0.8 0.3 2.1
12 Luke Zeller 25 16 0 3.6 0.6 1.6 .346 0.1 0.3 .200 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.6 0.6 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 1.2
13 Luis Scola 32 82 67 26.6 5.3 11.2 .472 0.0 0.2 .188 2.2 2.8 .787 1.9 4.7 6.6 2.2 0.8 0.4 1.5 3.1 12.8
14 Marcin Gortat 28 61 61 30.8 4.8 9.3 .521 0.0 0.0 .000 1.5 2.3 .652 2.1 6.4 8.5 1.2 0.7 1.6 1.6 2.1 11.1
15 Jermaine O'Neal 34 55 4 18.7 3.3 6.7 .482 0.0 0.0 1.7 2.1 .835 1.5 3.8 5.3 0.8 0.3 1.4 1.3 2.3 8.3
16 Hamed Haddadi 27 17 0 13.8 1.6 3.6 .459 0.0 0.0 0.8 1.5 .520 1.9 3.2 5.1 0.5 0.3 1.2 1.6 2.6 4.1
Provided by Basketball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/8/2013.

The Suns were 28th in the NBA in 3-point shooting, trailing only Orlando and Minnesota in their ineptness. As you can see, the Suns only had two players on the team that were above the league average from deep of 35.9 percent. Those two would be Jared Dudley and Sebastian Telfair. Those two will also be playing for other teams this year.

Let this sink in for a moment: Markieff Morris is the Suns' best returning 3-point shooter at 33.6 percent. Excuse me for a moment while I go cry in the corner.

Channing Frye will be back this season barring a setback with his heart, and will probably be the best shooter on the team by default. However, Frye shot a sub-par 34.6 percent in 2011-12 after taking it easy in the offseason while expecting the lock-out to drag on longer than it did. How will his shot fare after an entire year off the court?

Gerald Green is a career 35.1 percent 3-point shooter, but he only shot 31.4 percent last year and I don't even know if he's going to be in the rotation.

Expecting rookie Archie Goodwin to continue his hot shooting from Summer League all season long is just setting yourself up for disappointment, and while Eric Bledsoe shot a respectable 39.7 percent last year, it was on a limited number of attempts, most of which were of the wide open spot-up variety.

No, this is where the Suns need Caron Butler.

Throughout his career, Butler was more of a mid-range shooter and slasher. The 3-ball really wasn't a significant part of his game. However, that changed when he arrived in Los Angeles two years ago. With Blake Griffin in the paint, Chris Paul handling the ball and Butler getting up there in age, he completely re-designed his game and became a spot up shooter. He made 92 threes (26 more than his previous career high) at a 35.8 percent clip, and made 128 of them while shooting a very solid 38.8 percent last season.

The Suns are planning on rolling with a Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe backcourt. Both of those players are at their best when they are getting in the paint and causing havoc. To have the space to play their games, they are going to need shooters on the court with them, and outside of Frye Butler is the best shooter the Suns have on the roster at the moment.

Butler isn't going to have a huge impact on the Suns final record, but his presence may allow the Suns' young guards to grow and to play their games.

Finally, Butler is valuable to the Suns as an expiring contract as well. The Suns are right at the cap this season, and to have any chance at making big moves or signing free agents in the next two years, they'll need some cap space. If the Suns hold onto Butler all year long, that's $8 million that comes off the books in addition to the other expiring contracts.

I've made my case. What do you Bright Siders think the Suns should do with James Caron Butler this year? (Yes, Caron is actually his middle name according to Basketball-Reference)

Poll
What should the Sun do with Caron Butler?

  855 votes | Results

Apparently Beasley was arrested for possession, but after looking up the definition for possession I don't see what all the hullabaloo is about. After all, who is more of a paragon of control over oneself and one's mind than Beasley.

Also, goodbye Michael... and by goodbye I mean good riddance.

Here is the link: Phoenix Suns Podcast Episode 33

Do you prefer a longer or shorter run-time on these podcasts? Let us know in the comments so we can deliver what you, the fan, want to hear. Thanks as always for listening and supporting!

After getting arrested again this week for possession of marijuana, Phoenix Suns forward Michael Beasley has shown us that he's the same guy he has always been. And that guy is not worthy of a Phoenix Suns uniform.

Phoenix Suns managing partner Robert Sarver has another bitter pill to swallow. Twelve months after allowing the Suns to amnesty one of his biggest 2010 free agent signings, he has apparently decided to waive their biggest 2012 free agent signing. In total, he will likely be paying those two players $13.18 million this upcoming season to watch basketball from the sidelines.

Josh Childress was amnestied last summer to free up enough cap room to sign Eric Gordon to an offer sheet as well as bring in mercurial reclamation project Michael Beasley and starting point guard Goran Dragic. The grand plan of the summer of 2012 was a quick rebuild around those three players.

In the process, managing partner Robert Sarver agreed to continue to pay Josh Childress $21 million over three years to go away. The Suns are still paying Childress, who played a dozen games for New Jersey last season but is currently a free agent, $7.18 million this season and $7.37 million next season. None of that counts against the cap, but it's still money being paid.

Now, we should very quickly be adding another big contract to the "dead money" rolls. When Beasley is released, the Suns will still owe him $9 million in guaranteed money. A lot less than $21 million, but still a lot a chedda.

It hasn't been a good few years in the free agency market for the Phoenix Suns. I'll repeat what I wrote above. The Suns will likely be paying Childress and Beasley $13.18 million this year to watch basketball from the sidelines.

With Beasley's contract, the Suns still have options on how to pay it out.

The money

With the new CBA, if Beasley is released before the start of the next NBA season his money WILL be paid out over a longer period of time than originally prescribed. The "stretch" provision applies to all released player contracts signed under the new CBA.

Each team has the following options, per Larry Coon's FAQ.

For these contracts or extensions the remaining guaranteed salary for a waived player is "stretched" and paid in equal amounts over a greater time span, as follows:

  • If the player is waived from July 1 to August 31, then his remaining salary is paid over twice the number of years remaining on his contract, plus one.

  • If the player is waived from September 1 to June 30, then the current season is paid per the normal payment schedule, and any remaining years are stretched over twice the number of years remaining plus one as described above. For example, if the player is waived on December 1 with two seasons remaining on his contract at $10.2 million and $10.5 million, respectively, then the current season (at $10.2 million) is paid normally, and the final season (at $10.5 million) is stretched over three years (one season times two, plus one) and paid in even amounts of $3.5 million per year.

In Beasley's case, if he is released today (August 7) then he will be paid $1.8 million per year for the next 5 years. Whereas, if he is released on or after September 1, then his current year is paid as prescribed with the remaining years stretched.

With 16 players under guaranteed contracts already, the Suns could easily (and smartly) absorb $6 million of that money this season, leaving only $3 million to spread out over the subsequent cap years.

That's the money.

The cap hit

But what about the cap? Well, the Suns have options there too. No matter when Beasley is released, the Suns have the option of either applying his $9 million with or without stretching it.

The Suns can apply the $9 million as $6 million this year and $3 million next year to clear Beasley off the books entirely in two years no matter how they are actually paying him the money. This would be a smart move if the Suns want to have the most cap flexibility in coming seasons. Though, once you approach the cap you can exceed it with exceptions anyway (room exception, Bird rights, etc).

Or, the Suns could decide the cap hits will match the payment schedule.

Either way, the Suns win.

*note: there's a rule that released players cannot be stretched en masse. You cannot stretch more than 15% of salary in any one year due to releases. In this case, Childress does NOT count because he was amnestied, not stretched.

Depth Chart

With Luis Scola and soon-to-be Michael Beasley off the team, the Suns are now thinner and more predictable at the power forward and small forward positions.

If Channing Frye returns to the lineup, the Suns will have the Morris twins and Frye in the PF rotation, with Frye also providing backup to Marcin Gortat, Alex Len and Miles Plumlee at C.

Marcus Morris will share time with Caron Butler and P.J. Tucker at SF as well.

Still, it's a logjam of players of roughly the same skillset who will want to up their trade/keep stock. Someone will be squeezed out, or traded, before the season starts. That's my guess.

The Phoenix Suns have always valued high character, and particularly back in the Jerry Colangelo era rarely tolerated poor off-court conduct. With the organization trying to re-establish that kind of...

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