So many trades, so many moving parts, so much change. Do you like change? If you don't feel free to turn off the NBA's version of "real life NBA2K13" as there are very few rosters that will look the same as last year with all the activity this off-season.
Before looking at the Phoenix Suns off-season we offer our take on the Dwightmare and then we assess the off-season to date for the team. Again, before the off-season has technically begun.
Seventh Edition: Five Questions on the Free-Agency
Dave King: Should be a good move for Dwight to rekindle some of what he had in Orlando. Now he's survived a year of being talked down to by Kobe and realized he'd rather be "the man" again. Except that time he was "the man" he complained about not having enough help and got his coach fired. He's got that again in Houston. So, what could go wrong?
Jacob Padilla: This is where I expected him to end up, so no surprise. Depending on how they can round out their roster (Casspi is your first post-Dwight addition?), they'll be hosting a first round playoff series at the least. One of the most efficient volume scorers in the league combined with the most dominant defensive presence? They're going to be good.
Jim Coughenour: Good for them. Proof that a team can rebuild without bottoming out. Daryl Morey is a rockstar.
Kris Habbas: They got their guy. That is something that every team wants to say at the end of the off-season, some do, and most don't; but the Rockets did. They will have to develop chemistry, which puts them behind the Thunder, Clippers, Warriors, and Spurs to start the season.
Richard Parker: Glad it's over. I thought for a while that Houston was the best place for him so I think he made the right decision.
Sean Sullivan: What a lovely mess. As for the fit I think Howard will do better in Houston overall. The Rockets might make some noise next season, but OKC is still a better team.
2. Should the team be more active this summer?
JP: Yes, a little bit. I'd really like to see Luis Scola moved first and foremost. Perhaps see what our options are for moving Morris, Morris, Marshall, and/or Brown. Other than that, I don't see a need to do much else.
JC: Yes. No reason to stop the positive momentum of the last couple months.
KH: Is that code for, "Should the team trade Michael Beasley?" Then yes. Other than that, there is not much more this team can do to improve the long-term trajectory of the franchises success.
RP: They should be more active in terms of pursuing trades (to send out veterans out for young talent or picks - especially Scola) but not necessarily in free agency.
SS: I don't think so, unless by active you mean trading Gortat and Scola for draft picks.
DK: Yes. Absolutely, in trades as I've said all along. Gortat and Scola should be traded for youth, and that youth needs to be the hard-working kind that new coach Hornacek can mold.
3. On the whole are you satisfied with the moves? Would you change anything?
JC: Yes. Would have handled the draft slightly different, but even that was still a win.
KH: Absolutely. They got younger, more athletic, and the team is in a position to evaluate the group to see what they have going forward. The one thing they did not address is perimeter shooting, but at this stage that is just nitpicking.
RP: I'm definitely satisfied, especially with the Dudley for Bledsoe deal. It's easy for me to say that I would have changed the players we picked in the draft but I trust McDonough (for now) so I'll just wait to see how they pan out.
SS: Very much so. Gaining Bledsoe and an $8 mil expiring contract in Butler for Dudley was great. Gives the Suns talent, youth, and options going forward
DK: We are all refreshing our twitter feeds (or this site) by the hour, so it seems like the Suns are working at a snail's pace. Yet, it's only July 8. The moratorium doesn't end for two days and Scola can't be dealt for another week (by CBA rule, a year from the amnesty waiver claim). The Suns will do something by end of month.
JP: Yes, I'm satisfied. Ryan McDonough has been aggressive and appears to be following an asset acquisition plan. Hopefully after next year we'll really start to see that plan playing out.
4. The team is basically at the cap; do you expect them to surpass it to acquire more talent?
KH: Shedding salary is a need, but not as urgently as for other teams. They are not strangled by a lot of bad contracts. In terms of productivity the Beasley contract is very bad, but it does not hurt their flexibility going forward.
RP: Not at all. Makes no sense for us to try and pay more to acquire talent in a season destined for many, many losses. I expect them to maybe sign a minimum contract and pursue trades.
SS: No, not at all. They aren't contending so no reason to at this point.
DK: As mentioned above, via trade. If the Suns can somehow dump Beasley on someone, all the better. It's imperative, in my opinion, to trade Beasley this summer.
JP: No. There's no need to. The roster is full already and the Suns are right at the cap. A multi-player trade that shakes up the roster is the only reason I can think of for making more moves and spending more money.
JC: I would like to see them make a move to shed some salary to maintain flexibility for deals at the deadline and heading into next year's draft.
5. Speaking of being at the cap, how do you grade the off-season so far?
RP: You know how much I value grades. That being said, I give the Bledsoe trade an A- and a TBD (after a few years) for the draft so I guess the final grade is an A-.
SS: "B+". We would all like to see Gortat moved for a 2014 1st, but if the opportunity isn't there yet then don't force it. The move we did make and although I personally wanted McLemore or Noel (if no red flag), our draft picks make a lot of sense overall and I trust their judgment.
DK: So far, I'd say a B+. The Suns have brought in youth - Bledsoe, Len, and Goodwin - while getting even more cap flexibility in coming years. Bledsoe would represent the first Suns player deserving of a rookie deal extension in seven years (Diaw/Barbosa in 2006).
JP: I'll continue the theme by handing out a B+.
KH: It was what the team needed. Encompassing the front office changes (Ryan McDonough and his staff), the coaching (Jeff Hornacek and his staff), and the moves made to the roster this has been a long coming in terms of change. It is still incomplete, but overall the team has made a lot of good moves and no great moves, a solid "B" seems appropriate.
6. BONUS: If you could play GM and make one sweeping move this off-season for the Suns what would it be?
SS: More like what I would have done. I would have strongly considered trading with Orlando to draft Oladipo...Depending on the cost. Otherwise, would have really tried for a Gortat/McCollum swap.
DK: Would find a taker for Scola and Beasley while bringing in more youth and/or cap flexibility. Scola needs to go to a winner, while Beasley just needs another fresh start to reach his potential.
JP: Bring back the Purple!
JC: Get to work on that whole Al McCoy in the ring of honor deal. That was a great fanpost and a great idea.
KH: More Harry and Harrison Gorilla!!! In all seriousness, the team just needs to stay the course. There is a difference between being idly inactive and being patient. The team is in a position to sit on their hands and be patient going forward... Golf claps around the office everyone.
RP: I would shop Scola very, very hard until I find a taker willing to give up their late pick (maybe even a second rounder) and/or young talent and/or an expiring contract. I wouldn't necessarily force a Gortat trade but I would entertain offers if any team is willing to surrender a first rounder or a young piece.
The Phoenix Suns will bring five guys from last year's Suns roster to Las Vegas this weekend for Summer League play, along with two of their three draftees: PG/SG Archie Goodwin (29th overall) and PF Alex Oriakhi (57th overall).
C Alex Len (5th overall) will not participate while he recovers from a stress fracture in his ankle.
New Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek and his new coaching staff will get their first chance to work with the five least-tenured Phoenix Suns players: Markieff and Marcus Morris (23 years old, third SL), Kendall Marshall (21, second SL), Diante Garrett (24, second SL) and P.J. Tucker (27, third SL). Only PF Markieff Morris has been with the Suns more than 12 months.
NBA players can join the Summer League squad up to three times. As of last month, Tucker's expected SL contribution is simply to join the practice sessions and possibly play in 1 or 2 games. Tucker is allowed to play in Summer League because this is just his third NBA offseason (1 with Toronto when he was drafted, then last summer with the Suns squad).
The young(ish) Suns get their first taste of Jeff Hornacek's planned schemes for the coming year, giving them a chance to get a leg up on training camp and the 2013-14 season over the veterans. Hornacek has indicated a desire to play a fast-paced style, and the Suns set that tone with having one of the toughest tests (a 3-minute sprint) in pre-draft workouts around the league. The acquisitions of Goodwin (draft) and Eric Bledsoe (pending trade) further cement the Suns desire to move in a faster direction.
An interesting subplot is the usage of Kendall Marshall, Archie Goodwin and Diante Garrett. The Suns want to see all three at PG, but these 40-minute games won't allow for that luxury. This may give Suns fans a chance to see how (or if) Hornacek plans to use the Suns two best players and projected starters - PG Goran Dragic and PG Eric Bledsoe - in a two-point-guard lineup next season.
(No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA/Home Country Yrs Plyd)
BSotS' own Jim Coughenour will be in Vegas to watch games and interview players over the first weekend. He will watch the Suns opening game against Portland (with Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Meyers Leonard) as well as a number of other games.
The most important thing to remember from Summer League is that happens in Summer League stays in Summer League. It's in Vegas after all. Marcus Banks scored 44 points once. Marco Belinelli was a star. And those are two of the "here's the next ______________!"
For the Suns a summer ago, the week gave us a lot of clues.
Rookie PG Kendall Marshall was a disappointment - only looking like an NBA player in one of three games. He led the SL in assists per game, but couldn't keep opposing players in front of him on defense and couldn't buy a shot.
Markieff Morris was regularly the best player on the floor for either team, but fouled a lot and had a low conversion percentage.
Both of those developments foretold what would happen over the next season. Marshall was still an enigma and Markieff still had trouble making shots.
Both P.J. Tucker and Diante Garrett played themselves onto the Suns regular season roster based on their Summer League play, and Tucker ended up starting a lot of games. No SL = no Tucker.