No bad contracts in Phoenix

Posted by on December 17th, 5:22 pm

Jason Richardson

Jason Richardson

Although the J-Rich deal was most important to import a dynamic scoring threat at the shooting guard spot, Suns general manager Steve Kerr has also discussed it as a good deal because now the Suns aren’t paying big money to any bit pieces.

Kerr said he’s more comfortable paying J-Rich $12.2, $13.3 and $14.4 million than $9 million for a year longer contract to Diaw, who was only playing 24.5 minutes per contest and was limited while on the floor because of the space Shaq and Amare take up.

Now essentially the Suns have no bad long-term contracts (see chart below) since Leandro Barbosa’s $6-7 million per year deal is fair value for a sixth man as valuable as the Blur.

Sure, you can say Shaq doesn’t deserve the $20 million he’ll be getting this year and next year, but at least the Big Diesel is playing a starring role on this team. Plus, Shaq’s $20 million Expiring Contract could become very valuable if the Suns choose to rebuild next season and otherwise provides the Suns loads of cap space when it expires before the summer of 2010.

In other words, the short-term nature of Shaq’s deal (even if he’s not worth that much) makes it palatable for the Suns’ long-term plans.

Besides Shaq, I’d say everybody on the Suns is making about what they deserve or less, with Amare at $15 million, Nash $12.25 mil, J-Rich $12.2, Barbosa $6.1 and the rest of the team including Grant Hill and Matt Barnes making under $2 million.

How many NBA teams boast that many players earning what they should be making?

J-Rich and LB will be making a combined $21 million in 2010-11, and if Amare opts out the Suns would have just $23.5 million in committed money entering that offseason with Goran Dragic’s guaranteed deal and Robin Lopez, Jared Dudley and Alando Tucker if the team picks up their options.

Amare Stoudemire

Amare Stoudemire

That means the Suns would be roughly $34.5 million under the cap if Amare opts out, and still about $17 mil under even if Amare chooses to stay, which would be enough to make at least some kind of a splash for a sidekick for Amare and J-Rich.

It is ridiculous to be thinking about a summer a year and a half away (not that it’s stopping Knicks fans from doing so) because we’ll have a much better picture this offseason when we know if the Suns offer and Amare signs a long-term extension.

If he does, 2010 in Phoenix will be about reloading and fashioning a team around Amare, J-Rich and a free agent, with Nash possibly sticking around at a bit of a pay cut that could be doubtful with the money teams will have to throw around.

Or it could be about completely blowing this thing up and starting over with a 2010 free agent and/or Amare trade haul.

With Diaw off the books, at least the Suns know they’ll have some attractive options to reload around when the Nash Era ends.

Key: Player Option / Team Option / Qualifying Offer /80% Scale Offer Tea

Shaquille O’Neal
Amare Stoudemire
Jason Richardson
Leandrinho Barbosa
Grant Hill
Goran Dragic
Robin Lopez
Jared Dudley
Matt Barnes
Alando Tucker
Louis Amundson

Compiled by HoopsHype



Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire · Future · Jason Richardson · Leandro Barbosa · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Shaquille O'Neal

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bradley // Dec 18, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    Do you think the Suns hold on to Matt Barnes after this season, I hope so. The guy is such a competitor. I wish they would lock him in for a few years at the SF spot. 3 years, $14M

  • 2 Michael Schwartz // Dec 19, 2008 at 12:09 am

    I would be thrilled by that as well, but I think that deal would be undervalue for a guy averaging 12 and six. It will be very interesting to see what the Suns do at small forward next offseason with Barnes and Hill up. On one hand you want Barnes because I think he fits very nicely with this group, but on the other hand anything you pay him eats into what you can do in 2010.

  • 3 Bradley // Dec 19, 2008 at 1:47 am

    I think they have to pay him and keep him, last night was proved that point even further. Not only his game, but he is a good locker room guy. I could def see Matt starting next year w/ Dudley as the backup. I get the feeling that he would be partial to staying in Phx if they made him a reasonable offer.

    Do you have any estimate of how much free cap space we would have if Amare stayed on at a max level and they signed MB for say $5M year?

  • 4 Michael Schwartz // Dec 19, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Well, they won’t have any cap space this summer regardless and a deal like that would likely just push Phoenix further into luxury cap hell. From the figures I’ve seen, I think that would put them about $12 mil under, but they’d still have half a team to fill out so I don’t know if they could throw it all at one guy. They probably won’t be able to do that anyway, so maybe it would be smart to re-sign Barnes and then pick up a couple other solid but not superstar free agents in 2010.

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