Here's the whole enchilada of Suns podcasts with Kris and Jim during the 2012-13 season, through June 30, 2013.

Some of the topics discussed include the Suns woefully pathetic defense, rotations, personnel, scheme, coaching, organizational changes, (lack of) talent, over/under on a player going for 30, the TNT refund game and a look ahead into the coming week.

Like I mentioned, it's a pilot, so please have mercy on us me. It can only get better (or not). Special thanks to Kris for joining me in this undertaking.

I was also thinking about doing some artwork (even better than my current creation) for the standard tag image for the podcast posts and a name, so any suggestions would be more than welcome.


Podcast #1 12/4/12

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Bright Side of the Sun has been predicting a Beasley release sometime after September 1 since the day after the news broke that Beasley was pulled over again for speeding, and then suspected of possession of illegal drugs.

As with any troubled person you might know, when they get in trouble yet again you're disappointed but not surprised. Beasley did not progress over the past year in laid-back Phoenix with a management team committed to his success. In fact, he regressed into his worst NBA season yet. Maybe the pressure to grow up made him retreat even further into this own brain than ever. Whatever it was, Beasley got worse.

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.

By releasing Beasley after September 1, the Suns can eat all $6 million of this season's pay this year without stretching it over 5 years and wishing in 2014 they had just a few more dollars for that role player they need as they rise from the ashes. Or 2017 or even 2018 for that matter. Why make the Beasley pain last 5 more years!??

Now, we're all waiting for the day.

Finally, new Suns GM Ryan McDonough let slip the Suns best-laid plans last week in response to a question about the relationship between the Butler salary dump and Michael Beasley.

"Trading Caron Butler has nothing to do with the Beasley situation," McDonough said to Paul Coro of late last week. "We thought this was a good deal for basketball reasons. I'd imagine over the next week or so we would have resolution (regarding Beasley)."

Sometime in the next week. Meaning, sometime in the first week of September.

Previously, the Suns had been completely tight-lipped about their next action with Beasley. Some people take that as biding their time until the best opportunity arose (ie. after September 1) and not wanting to show their cards too early, while others let their minds wander into dark corners and assume the worst: that Beasley would never be released.

Frankly, I've been of the mind this entire time that Beasley would be released sometime conveniently after September 1, and that the Suns just didn't bother broadcasting it to the nation. I took their silence as simply a preference to DO the right thing over TALKING about doing the right thing. The latter is disingenuous, and potentially damaging to both the team and the player if unexpected twists and turns come about by September 1.

Anyway, now it's just a matter of convenience. Training camp starts in 4 weeks, the season starts in 8 weeks, and the league-year's first paycheck doesn't come for 10 weeks.

Sometime in there, the Suns will most likely release Beasley.

The question is when

  • September 1 is a Sunday
  • September 2 is Labor Day
  • September 3 is the podcast recording day. Maybe the Suns don't want to give Jim the satisfaction of releasing Beasley before he records the podcast?
  • September 4+ is... well, boring and anticlimactic
  • October 1 is just before training camp, but enough time to see if anyone wants to take Beasley for anything of value. It's still better to trade Beasley than eat the contract. The Suns traded Butler for the same reason
  • October 29 is just before players start earning their 2013-14 money, and teams' last chance to change their rosters before their season starts

Let's have a BSotS SUPERCOOL RELEASE DATE contest!

It's your turn to guess the date!

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When the Phoenix Suns acquired Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler earlier this summer, much was made of GM Ryan McDonough's "man-crush" on Caron Butler. With the Suns' recent decision to send Butler to Milwaukee for Vyacheslav Kravtsov and Ish Smith, McDonough actually revealed that his true infatuation is not with any one player, but with the idea of flexibility.

True, the Suns did unload a veteran leader on an expiring contract for two largely no-name players (one whose name is a nightmare to pronounce, while the other's is hilariously easy). However, this trade was not about either of these two players, but about a third, mostly invisible and underrated entity: flexibility. The Suns are now under the salary cap and have the luxury of financial flexibility, something that will be sure to help them in future trade negotiations this season. The Phoenix Suns will now be entering the Vyacheslav Kravtsov and Ish Smith era with a solid foundation of assets, flexibility, and tankability.

Revisiting the Dudley-Bledsoe Trade


Back in July, the Phoenix Suns traded Jared Dudley and a second round pick for Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler. It's easy to forget that the reason the Suns were even able to throw their hat into negotiations for Bledsoe was because they were equipped with the cap room to facilitate a three-team deal. In order for the Clippers to upgrade their wing talent by acquiring Dudley and JJ Redick from the Bucks, they had to unload Caron Butler's $8 million contract to a team. At the time, the Suns were approximately $6 million under the salary cap, which allowed them to take Butler's contract, which was the price (along with Dudley) for landing Eric Bledsoe.

This trade put the right at the 2013-14 salary cap, giving them relatively little flexibility heading into the season. This is exactly why the team turned right back around to trade Butler to another team under the cap.

Goodbye, Caron


When the Suns announced their trade sending Butler to Milwaukee for Smith and Kravtsov, many fans were left wondering why the team traded a projected starter for two players that may not even make the final roster. After all, wasn't Caron supposed to play the team's new "big brother" role, imparting his wisdom to this young, inexperienced team?

Make no mistake, this move was definitely about shedding salary. However, it would be unwise to think this was a "Banker Bob" decision stemming from the team's need to cut costs and be "cheap" (I really despise that argument). In fact, shedding salary helps the Phoenix Suns heading forward. As mentioned above, Caron Butler was not a secondary "prize" to be had from the Dudley-Bledsoe deal. On the contrary, he was the means through which the team was able to acquire the high-potential, much-desired commodity that is Eric Bledsoe.

This is not to say that Caron Butler has no value. He definitely could have been a mentor for the younger players and a steadying force on the court as well as in the locker room. But in the end, the flexibility of being a few million dollars under the salary cap is worth more to this Suns team than an aging veteran with little to provide in terms of on-court value or future returns.

By letting the LA Clippers unload Caron Butler and his $8 million price tag on the Suns, the team was agreeing to sacrifice short-term flexibility for the right to acquire Bledsoe. By turning right back around and dealing him to Milwaukee for just $2.5 million of salary in return, they've regained flexibility. Just like the Dudley to LA and Scola to Indiana trades, this deal was beneficial to all parties involved: the Suns get to maintain flexibility heading into the season, Butler gets to go home to Wisconsin, and the Bucks get some ammo to aid their efforts to be a terribly middling team with an 8th-seed ceiling in the Eastern Conference.

Goodbye, Caron. I'm sure you would have been a calming presence in what will surely be a rocky year for the Suns. At least you will forever be immortalized as a member of Scott Howard's exclusive "Never ORNG" club.

This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe. -Ryan McDonough

Thanks to this trade, the Suns have positioned themselves to again be opportunistic buyers in future trades this season. McDonough emphasized this stance when announcing this trade, stating "This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe." Never mind the part where he goes on to discuss the "two young players" the team also acquired through this trade. That's all good-PR hogwash. I would be very surprised to see both guys still on the roster after training camp.

Let's now take a look at where this trade leaves the Suns' cap situation...

Phoenix Suns Capology

The Suns' 2013-14 salary total is now $53.437 million, leaving them $5.241 million under the salary cap.

As can be seen in the spreadsheet above, the Phoenix Suns now have 17 guaranteed contracts after the Butler trade and the official signing of Alex Len (whose contract details were excellently covered here by Dave). The roster payroll now sits at a total guaranteed 2013-14 salary amount of $53,437,163, leaving the Suns $5.241 million under the salary cap for this season. The Suns now have more cap room than any other team in the NBA except the Philadelphia 76ers. It looks like the Suns and the Sixers will be battling all season long for flexibility and tankability (as things stand, Philly would be ahead of the Suns in reverse-power rankings).

By negating the acquisition of Butler in the Bledsoe-Dudley trade, the Suns have reversed the cap hit and are now almost exactly where they were in July, before "mini-Lebron" came to town. This means that Phoenix has effectively traded Jared Dudley and a second round pick for Eric Bledsoe, Vyacheslav Kravtsov, and Ish Smith, all while retaining their cap position.

What's Next?

1) Before the start of the season, the Suns will need to get rid of at least two of their 17 players in order to reach the roster maximum of 15. Prime candidates for the Suns to be "waiving" goodbye to next seem to be both players the Suns just traded for (Kravtsov and Smith), Malcolm Lee, and Michael Beasley. I expect at least two of these guys to be off the team by the end of training camp. Which brings me to my next point...

2) "What's next for Michael Beasley?" seems like it could have been a weekly headline ever since B-Easy arrived in Phoenix last summer. Fortunately for Suns fans (and unfortunately for Beasley), all signs point to Beasley being off the team soon. If the team waives Beasley on or after September 1st, his 2014-15 guaranteed salary of $3 million would be stretched over three seasons. The cap ramifications of "stretching" Beasley can be found in the second sheet of the spreadsheet above ("Salaries with Beasley "stretched"").

Although we never quite know what's next for the Phoenix Suns with ever-active Ryan McDonough at the helm (seriously, was anybody expecting this Butler trade? Or the Bledsoe deal? Or even the first round pick for Scola?), these are the moves I expect to be made next. The Suns could also make a minor trade or two to cut the roster fat (Kendall Marshall's hold on his roster spot seems to always be in flux) or perhaps immediately trade for their next "exciting player" (doubtful).

Regardless of what's next, the Phoenix Suns are in great position heading forward. I very much expect the Suns to be in the thick of several trade discussion throughout this upcoming season and especially near the February trade deadline. Equipped with several desirable contracts and draft picks, along with the luxury of cap space (which will allow them to take back a hefty contract), the Suns will reap the benefits of shrewd cap management and effective use of their ample flexibility.

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