It has been a busy offseason for the Phoenix Suns so far. Players have come, players have gone, players have come and gone... It's been a wee bit crazy, to say the least. With all the signings, keeping up with the status of the Suns' salary cap space has not been easy.
That's why we're here. We've got your backs, Bright Siders.
When the offseason began, the Suns had seven players under contract for a total of roughly $32 million. The salary cap for the 2012-13 season is $58.044 million, which means Phoenix had about $26 million to spend on new players (not factoring in cap holds on free agents whose contracts expired on June 30).
Make the jump to see how that money was spent and how much is left.
The Suns began the offseason with 7 players under contract: Jared Dudley
, Sebastian Telfair
, Josh Childress
, Hakim Warrick
, Channing Frye
, Markieff Morris
and Marcin Gortat
. 13 is the roster minimum, so the Suns had some work to do.
The Suns addressed their hole at point guard (in the wake of Steve Nash's exodus to LA) both in the draft and in free agency. Kendall Marshall was taken with the 13th pick in the NBA Draft, while Goran Dragic committed to the Suns as a free agent.
There was a delay in the signing of Marshall's contract which caused him to miss the Suns' first Summer League game in Vegas, but he has signed it (actually, he's the only player to officially sign with the Suns so far). According to SBN Arizona's Kris Habbas, Marshall should make approximately $1.6 million in his first year.
Goran Dragic agreed to a 4-year deal worth between $30 and $34 million depending on bonuses. The exact terms have not been released, but we're going to assume it starts at $7 million in the first year and goes up from there at 4.5% increases year over year.
The Suns renounced their rights to Aaron Brooks, which takes his $5 million cap hold off the books.
What we have at this moment: $1.6 million (Marshall) + $1.6 million (Telfair) + $854 thousand (Price cap hold) = $4 million
What we will have: $7 million (Dragic) + $1.6 million (Marshall) + $1.6 million (Telfair) = ~$10.2 million.
Jared Dudley and Josh Childress were the only two wing players under contract for next season, so this is obviously the position in most need of help.
The Suns signed RFA Eric Gordon to a max 4-year, $58 million offer sheet, but the Hornets matched. However, he has yet to take a physical with New Orleans, meaning the deal is not officially done. Until that happens, Gordon's contract counts on the Suns' books, meaning we have $13.7 million less to spend. However, it should be resolved in the next day or two.
The Suns also agreed to terms with forward Michael Beasley. Beasley's contract is reportedly for $18 million over three years. Again, the exact terms have not been released but like with Dragic we will assume it starts at $5.75 million and goes up from there.
To make room for some other moves, the Suns waived Josh Childress and used their amnesty clause on him. That means his $6.5 million for this season will not count against the Suns' cap, nor will the rest of his contract in future years (although Suns owner Robert Sarver will still pay Childress every penny of $21 million remaining, less any money he makes from another NBA team in that time).
What we have at this moment: $13.7 million (Gordon) + 4.3 million (Dudley) + $4.2 million (Shannon Brown cap hold) + $854 thousand (Redd cap hold) = $23.1 million
What we will have: $5.8 million (Beasley) + $4.3 million (Dudley) = ~$10.1 million
Four of the Suns' five frontcourt players from the 2011-12 season are under contract for next year as Marcin Gortat, Channing Frye, Markieff Morris and Hakim Warrick are all set to return.
Backup C Robin Lopez is the only one not under contract. The Suns extended the $4 million qualifying offer to him which made him a restricted free agent and gave the Suns control over his future. However, extending the qualifying offer results in a $7.2 million cap hold against the Suns' cap until they either renounce his rights or he signs a contract.
The Suns' most recent move was claiming the amnestied Luis Scola off of waivers. The Suns' winning bid was $13.5 million over three years (only 440K guaranteed in year 3), with $4.1 million of that being forked over in 2012-13.
What we have at this moment: $7.3 million (Gortat) + $7.2 million (Lopez cap hold) + $6.4 million (Frye) + $4.1 (Scola) + $4 million (Warrick) + $2 million (Morris) = $31 million
What we will have: $7.3 million (Gortat) + $6.4 million (Frye) + $4.1 (Scola) + $4 million (Warrick) + 2 million (Morris) = $23.8 million.
Tying it all Together
Right now, if you include all the cap holds, the Suns are right at the cap. Yet they were able to make an amnesty claim on Scola, which is only available to teams under the cap. It is possible the Suns have renounced someone's cap hold without making a press release, but that's unknown at this time. Maybe cap holds don't count on amnesty bids.
Phoenix cannot do anything until Gordon passes his physical in New Orleans. This is one of the reasons Beasley and Dragic have not signed yet. To sign these new players, the Suns will have to get rid of the cap holds on Lopez ($7.2) and Brown ($4.2), not to mention Price and Redd ($0.9 million each) which are taking up about $13 million in cap space.
One way for these cap holds to be erased is if the Suns simply renounce the player's rights. Another is if the player signs a new contract, either with the Suns or another team.
Without the cap holds and with Beasley and Dragic signed, the Suns will have $44 million in salary for a 10-man roster of Dragic, Dudley, Beasley, Scola, Gortat, Marshall, Telfair, Morris, Frye and Warrick. That means the Suns have about $13 million to fill out the roster with.
Filling out the Roster
The Suns have to sign three more players, and the most glaring need is on the wing. Phoenix currently has only Beasley and Dudley at the SG and SF spots, so they need at least two more players there.
O.J. Mayo is off the table after signing with Dallas, and it appears as if Courtney Lee may be next on the list. The Suns aren't the only team that is interested in Lee though, and it may take a bit more money or a longer-term contract than the Suns would ideally like to give him. Yet the market is drying up, so Lee's price will have to drop. There is a chance the Suns do see him as a starter and rotation player moving forward and are willing to pay him, but I don't know how likely that is.
Another option is re-signing Brown and/or Redd to short-term deals. Shannon Brown probably isn't looking for a one-year deal again, but the Suns can afford to give him a little extra cash in order to maintain flexibility next season. Redd will probably agree to a one-year deal and would be a good fit as a veteran presence if he can continue to round back into shape and find his game.
Other free agents include Brandon Rush, Alonzo Gee and Terrence Williams. There really isn't much left on the shooting guard market. One of the players on the Summer League team (David Lighty?) could be signed as a cheap 13th man as well.
There is also still a chance the Suns aren't done with Robin Lopez.
Childress amnesty likely done to give Suns wiggle room to sign a player w/o rushing to deal with RLopez, who has $7M cap hold.
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) July 15, 2012
If Hollinger is right, it means the Suns haven't made up their mind yet on Lopez's future. The frontcourt already has 5 players, so there doesn't seem to be room for him. However, the Suns could re-sign him if they are considering trying to move one of the other bigs. Or perhaps they can try to sign-and-trade him to another team. Or they could simply let him go. At this point. it is hard to tell what the Suns are thinking regarding Lopez, who apparently hasn't received much attention from other teams.
What about Next Year?
The Suns currently have two players whose contracts expire after the 2012-13 season: Warrick (team option which should be declined) and Telfair. Those two combined will save the Suns roughly $5.6 million in cap space. The remaining eight players will cost about $40 million. Add in two first-round draft picks ($3 million total) and it's $43 million.
If the Suns finish off this year's roster with one-year deals, they could have around $15 million available to spend again next year if the cap stays level at $58.044 million. If the Suns sign a shooting guard to a multi-year deal, it will be a different story.