While the Phoenix Suns don't have quite as much spending power as they need at the moment, GM Ryan McDonough still plans to go after the top available players.
"We are going to be aggressive going after all the top guys," Suns GM Ryan McDonough said in a wide-ranging interview with ArizonaSports.com on Friday morning' Doug and Wolf show.
Further quotes in this article from McDonough all came from that same radio interview.
Jerel McNeal's deal is non-guaranteed for next year, if he's released by mid-July. Leuer's becomes guaranteed on June 29.
However, that doesn't mean those three guys are gone. You don't have to renounce them until you need the space. So saying "$12 million to spend" means you CAN make that space available if a good free agent says "yes".
But even then, $12 million isn't a lot to spend when a guy like Wesley Matthews reportedly wants $15 million a year.
But of course, as McDonough said it, the Suns always have "the ability to create more cap space if we want it."
Well, they'll have to create another $8 million in space to sign Love or Aldridge. But July 1 isn't necessarily about having the cap space right then. If Aldridge or Love begin to lean toward the Suns, then it's certain they will give Phoenix a couple of days to make the room.
Would the Suns consider straight dumping of salary this summer in an addition-by-subtraction move to rid the team of their troubled players?
"The theory makes sense," McDonough said. "But at the same time talent wins."
He recognizes that some of his players had a rough year on and off the court, and that they will need to make changes, but he's not ready to move on.
"When you make short sighted decisions like that," he explained. "To give away players for behavior that we believe is correctable, those are the ones you tend to regret over time."
So there won't be any salary dumps, per se, but what if they just need to make room to improve the team overall and bring in Love or Aldridge or anyone wanting more than $12 million? That's when salary dumps might come in to play. Not just to do it, but to do it for a purpose of improving the team.
You don't want to continually have full roster turnover though.
"Usually the teams that win are the teams that have been together for a while," McDonough said.
The Golden State Warriors built their team over a six-year span, starting with Steph Curry and built a great-amount on the 2012 draft that brought in Harrison Barnes, Festus Ezeli and some guy named Draymond Green.
Since the end of the season, the Suns have said that they need shooting. Ideally, that comes from the wing players and a stretch-four. While Jon Leuer is a stretch four, kinda, he's not going to push the Suns to the playoffs. Neither is 18-year old Devin Booker.
So the Suns will enter free agency looking for shooting.
"It's something we will continue to look at in free agency."
McDonough also mentioned adding a few more veterans to the mix to "balance out the ages" on the roster and add more leadership.
All of this requires SOME roster turnover. Since the Suns now have 11 guys on the roster, plus Brandon Knight once he signs, there isn't much room for a free agent shooter to fit in.
There's basically an opening right now for an All-Star caliber big man to start at PF, moving Keef back to the bench. Or a rotational big man who can play both center and forward to back up Len and Morris and provide deep shooting while he's out there.
But if the Suns want to add shooting on the wing, they will have to do it at the expense of a middling depth chart over there right now. Assuming Bledsoe/Knight share the back court, the shooter has to be a small forward. With T.J. Warren having so much promise, that's likely P.J. Tucker or Marcus Morris or both that have to move aside for a wing shooter to get major minutes.
Devin Booker talks about the excitement of being drafted and how he fits on the Suns roster.
First, let's start off with some Ryan McDonough quotes from last night.
His opening statement,
"I'll start off by just saying how excited we are to have Devin Booker coming to Phoenix and joining our organization. He was a guy that really stood out throughout the season at Kentucky... He shot the ball tremendously well all year from
three and the free throw line. That was obviously a weakness of ours last year, especially late in the season after the trade deadline. We struggled to space the floor and shoot the ball from three and we think at the shooting guard position, he has prototypical size, athleticism and a terrific stroke. He tested as one of the best athletes at the Chicago combine. I think because of his role at Kentucky and the overwhelming talent they had on the team, you didn't get to see all of what he could do."
On Booker's character,
"One of the things that stood out for us was, as you know we had about 80 to 90 players in for workouts in the pre-draft process and there were probably a handful of guys, maybe even less than that, maybe just a couple of guys who when they got to phoenix the night before their workout asked our interns and the people shuttling to and from the airport, 'hey, can I get in the gym? I want to get some shots up. I want to get a workout in.'"
Full audio here - Ryan McDonough Interview (2015 Draft)
McDonough today on Devin Booker,
"...If you put him on the court today or tomorrow, as an 18 year old guy, teams would respect him, respect his shot. We kinda hope they leave him open for jump shots, we'd certainly take that, but even the threat of him or a player like him opens up the court, as he mentioned for Eric (Bledsoe) and Brandon (Knight) and those guys to drive. So that will be his immediate role, immediate value, but one of the things that really impressed us in the workout process was there was a whole lot more to his game than making spot up shots. His athleticism stood out, his potential, his versatility off the dribble, and defensively he was certainly a lot better than I think we thought going into the process."
His opening statement,
"I don't know much about Phoenix and I'm looking to learn. I'm blessed to have this opportunity to play here. I can't wait to be involved with the team. I'm going to bring a winning attitude and a competitive spirit as I did at Kentucky. I just can't wait to make a brotherhood with these other teammates, which are a lot older than me, but Eric (Bledsoe) tweeted me last night talking about that he's got a backpack ready for me, so I guess I got to get ready for my rookie duties."
His immediate thoughts after being selected by the Suns,
"... it's tough to put into words because I've wanted this dream my whole life. I've worked so hard. Ever since 'Ive been five years old, I've been playing basketball. To be in this position that I am now, it really shows how hard work really does pay off."
On joining other former Kentucky Wildcats,
"I feel like it's going to make the transition easier for me. Just a tweet (Eric Bledsoe tweeted him about his rookie duties), it just shows you that they're here for me and that they'll help my transition. I know Archie (Goodwin) a little bit, he's kind of closer in age with me. I know Brandon (Knight); they've all been back to Kentucky, so I'm sure it's going to make that transition a little bit smoother."
On the other parts of his game besides shooting,
"In this league, you have to come in with a defensive mindset now. A lot of players have showed that becoming an elite, two-way player is really important and it keeps you on the floor. you can't just be a one-sided player. You can't stay on the
court that way. I think I can surprise a lot of people, I think a lot of people are realizing that I'm more athletic than they were saying I was. I can create better for others and for myself, but at the end of the day I want to do what the team needs me to do to win."
On his competitive nature,
"Everything I do is competitive you know, video games, ping-pong, just everything, and that's just the competitive nature I have and it translates well to the court for me."
Full audio here - Devin Booker Press Conference