Just a few odds and ends on a Wednesday morning while we wait for the Phoenix Suns' next moves of the offseason. As Omaha put it so well yesterday, there's a few pending actions (signing Dragic and Beasley) and a few more moves the Suns must make to fill out their roster at the wing positions.
There were no new Suns-related rumors regarding shooting-guard additions yesterday (unless you count MR ORNG and his 4-5 year Shannon Brown contract prediction), so that still leaves Brown and Courtney Lee as the most likely additions to the Suns wing.
One development from yesterday: looks like the Suns will allow Grant Hill to sign a straight two-year deal with the Clippers, rather than participate in a sign-and-trade to get Hill more money than the bi-annual exception (2 yrs, 3.9 mil). Makes sense of course, if the Clippers refused to give up even a draft pick (they had a $2.7 mil trade exception Hill could have fit into). But that also says the Suns had no interest in Ryan Gomes for a one-year expiring deal ($4 million), who was later amnestied by the Clippers.
And it also tells me that the Suns are NOT targeting Randy Foye for their shooting guard position. He is a free agent from the Clips and could have been signed-and-traded in exchange for Grant Hill if the Suns and Foye had expressed mutual interest and agreeable contract terms. But according to an article in the LA Times, the Suns have no interest in sign-and-trade for Hill at all.
Since the signing of Eric Gordon, the price for shooting guards has gone way, way down and the Suns need to take advantage of this. Nick Young signed a fairly-large deal, but only for 1 year. Jason Terry took a short, midlevel deal. O.J. Mayo, Jaryd Bayless and Ray Allen all took less than midlevel for 2-year deals. The only outlier I can think of is 31-year old Jamal Crawford, who somehow got 4 years for $24 million.
According to my personal logic as well as prevailing national logic, both Shannon Brown and Courtney Lee are better options at shooting guard than Randy Foye. So does this mean the Suns still feel they have a strong shot at one or both of them?
The Bucks beat writer tweeted yesterday that Shannon Brown has told the Bucks he is close to signing with another (unnamed) team. And we all know that the Suns have continued interest in Brown.
I'd be happy with Brown on a midlevel one-year deal with a non-guaranteed second year. In fact, I'd pull a Grant Hill (took $6.5 million to take a 1-year deal last December) and give him more money than the market will bear to entice him to sign.
Sames goes for Courtney Lee. Considering the deals their brethren are getting at this point, it would behoove one or both of them to accept such an offer. I just hope the Suns aren't offering more than that.
Luis Scola Suprised, Happy to play with Goran again
Scola, practicing with his national team right now, participated in a conference call with local media types yesterday (including yours truly). He is a well-spoken guy who I'm sure will go over well in the locker room and will end up being a go-to guy for the local press after games.
He is unassuming: "I bring what I have always done on the basketball court. What you have seen in my career is what is it right now."
He is honest and engaging: "When i found out it was Phoenix i was a little surprised. There was a lot of talk of other teams putting in a bid (Cleveland and Dallas). I never heard anything from Phoenix so when they called me I was a little surprised."
And while he said is was "unfair" to ask him what he thought of the Suns team for next year, since it had only been two days, he was clear on one thing:
"I was really happy to find out I was going to play with Goran (Dragic) again. I feel really confident playing with him. I was sad when he left Houston because I was with them at the time, but I was really happy when I found out I was going to play with him again."
Goran Dragic takes #1
Dragic tweeted last night that he is taking #1 as his new jersey number. The same #1 that Amare wore until leaving in 2010. It makes sense, as the point man on the team is generally called the 1.
Previously, Dragic had worn #2 with the Suns and #3 with Houston. And Jared Dudley wears #3, so he couldn't take that number. Ronnie Price wore #2 for the Suns last year, but most certainly won't be back next season. Looks like Goran wants a fresh start with the Suns, moving up the ladder to the #1 position.
Special note: Our own Seth Pollack ran into Goran in Vegas yesterday (Goran's brother is playing for Houston in the summer league there, he of the sharp elbow). They shared a warm hug and a promise to hook up while both were in town a few more days. It's possible BSotS and SB Nation AZ will get an exclusive interview with Goran sometime this week!
The Suns have given the 6-foot-9, 229-pound bruiser another shot at making his dream of playing in the NBA into a reality.
"He's very athletic and can really run," Suns assistant coach and summer league head coach Dan Majerle said. "He's got a lot of skills can step out and shoot the shot. He plays hard he's got to learn how to play a little bit, understand the plays a little bit we threw so much at him. He's young and he's a talent."
That's the notes of the morning, Suns fans! Until something new breaks...
I expected the game to be a little more competitive than Sunday's laugher. It was, but only marginally, and this time lopsided in the favor of the bad guys.
After a sloppy first half in which Markieff Morris carried the team, Cleveland used a 33-17 third quarter to separate from the Suns. More impressive play from Morris allowed Phoenix to keep it respectable, even closing the gap with a mini run in the fourth quarter, but the Cavaliers made timely buckets and coasted to a 89-74 victory.
Kendall Marshall's debut directing the show for the Suns had mixed results, to put it in the kindest terms possible. His first game was marked by questionable decision making and errant passes. He seemed flustered and out of sync most of the night, throwing several disoriented balls where his teammates weren't. He'll get plenty of opportunities to improve upon this game (and it won't be hard). Despite a lackluster performance, Marshall still showed a few positive glimpses (more after the jump) and it was great to see him on the court as a Sun.
Player of the game: Markieff Morris scored 24 points to go along with 17 rebounds and 6 blocks. He was very active in this game. He did struggle from the field, going 7-21 overall and 2-14 after a 5-7 start. If you want to nitpick, he also had 6 fouls, but he was the most impressive player on the floor for either team tonight.
Comment of the night:
Scola who? Looks like we might have run n gun after all! #wheresthekieff
Kendall Marshall in response to how it felt to be out on the court at the point guard position tonight:
"It takes some adjustment. I know there's plenty I still need to learn and I'm looking forward to that. It's just a matter of getting better and learning from your mistakes every day."
Dan Majerle in response to Markieff Morris's game tonight:
"He played hard. I asked him to be a leader this year in the summer league and he's done that. He's taken this very seriously and it's shown in his game."
Check after the jump for full audio from interviews of Marshall and Majerle.
***UPDATE - EXCLUSIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE ADDED***
Additional game notes and analysis after the interregnum.
The Suns as a team didn't look nearly as fluid as they did on Sunday against New York. Some of that was probably due to the level of competition (the Knicks summer team sucks out loud). Some of it may have had to do with the floor
Markieff Morris - A lot of my game notes were about Morris. He was everywhere tonight. His work on the glass (17 boards) was especially impressive. One of his 6 blocks was a chase down variety where he didn't quit on a Cleveland fast break. He also had a variety of spin moves that displayed his dexterity. Overall, he seems to be moving very well.
Morris did struggle from the field tonight. After a 5-7 start that was highlighted by a couple of trick shots from the perimeter, Morris labored to a 7-21 finish. If a couple of those hadn't fallen early it could have been an atrocious shooting performance. I didn't think he was receiving the ball in positions that fostered success on the offensive end. Morris still picked up six fouls, but I thought that more of them were on plays where he was attacking the ball than lazy pushes (like I felt after the first game). Solid overall effort.
Kendall Marshall - What I thought might be early jitters lingered for the duration of what turned out to be an inauspicious beginning for the newest Suns' summer league inauguration. Marshall was scoreless with 5 assists and 5 turnovers (I think they were lenient here because I counted more) in the game. He only attempted one field goal in just under 29 minutes and it was an airball (and it wasn't even close for an airball).
I don't know if discomposed or visibly shaken would be the best way to describe his performance, but he didn't seem like he could get in the flow of the game. His timing was disjointed; his internal clock ticking erratically. A positive takeaway was that Marshall always seemed to be looking down the court. Once he gets adjusted, I can see him being very effective at leading and pushing a fast break. He also had a nice penetration and kick in the fourth quarter that led to a wide open three by Marcus Landry.
DeShawn Sims was the second best player on the court for the Suns' summer league team tonight. He followed a 16 point performance against the Knicks with 12 points and 4 rebounds. Two of those baskets were on nice putbacks when he was lurking around the bucket.
Lob Babby joined the broadcast team for a few minutes in the second quarter and contributed some of his usual pearls of wisdom in his inimitably dulcet tone. Among the highlights: Babby mentioned moving forward is going to be a project. He talked about Scola's veteran leadership as an asset. Marshall - Great passer, high character, needs to improve his shooting. He talked about using the cap space for lopsided trades and amnesty waivers (like they just did) and also that (about the process of reshaping the team) they can't do it all in one off-season.
Check out exclusive audio from Dan Majerle and Kendall Marshall after tonight's game (Thanks Seth!)
Kendall Marshall Debut At Suns Summer League (July 17, 2012) (via BrightSideSBN)