Gentlemen, start your engines!

Posted by on July 8th, 1:11 am

Up until now, teams could only talk.

With the league-wide moratorium on free agent signings and trades being lifted today, now teams can take action.

Unfortunately for Phoenix fans, this past week has been awfully quiet on Suns news, aside from a report on Kerr talking with Grant Hill here and contact with free agent big men there.

Two weeks ago on draft day, we all thought this was the day that Amare Stoudemire would officially become an ex-Sun. We have since barely heard a peep about that deal, but as I wrote after Don Nelson proclaimed his love for Steph Curry, neither side had anything to gain by doing anything else but playing a strong hand of poker.

Nothing could happen until today, so why tip your hand?

In the coming days and possibly weeks we will find out if Don Nelson was bluffing about his refusal to include Curry in any Amare deal. Hopefully, we will also find out that Kerr won’t deal Amare for 60 cents on the dollar, but I’ve been fearing that proposition since February.

Today will also be the first day that Grant Hill can become a Sun again, or possibly an ex-Sun. An NBA source told the Republic that New York is offering him a one-year deal at $5 mil or a three-year deal at $10 mil, both of which figure to be higher than what Phoenix is offering.

Boston could offer the biennial exception of two years at $3.9 mil that Hill accepted two years ago from the Suns, and Denver has also shown interest.

Knowing that Boston offers a chance to win and likely similar money, and New York offers the same starting role and more money, I would not be surprised at all if Hill doesn’t return to Phoenix.

Paul Coro also reported that Matt Barnes isn’t drawing much interest from the Suns, which is not a surprise with Jared Dudley and Earl Clark at that position and the possibility of adding a Hill or Shawn Marion in free agency.

Although Barnes told Ced Ceballos in a postgame player interview after the final game of the season that he had already started thinking about playing for a contender in Phoenix next season, that interest has not been reciprocated all summer long. I can’t blame the Suns since he will likely want a raise from the league minimum, which isn’t doable for a cash-strapped Phoenix team that has capable replacements.

As much as Barnes doesn’t want to be known as a streaky player, that’s just what he is, and unless things go wrong for both parties this offseason, he won’t be back.

In other major league news, we also learned that the cap will be set at $57.7 million this season, about $1 mil less than last season. That means a midlevel exception for a guy like Matrix would start at a shade over $5.85 million.

The luxury tax threshold dropped to $69.92 million from $71.2 mil last year, when the Suns owed $4,918,136 in taxes, the lowest of the seven taxed teams.

Here’s the bad news for Suns fans. Phoenix will be a bit above the luxury tax at right around $71.75 mil once they waive Pavlovic and pick up Nash’s option, according to Hoopshype figures. For those math geniuses out there, that means they’re already about $2 mil over the luxury cap not counting rookie contracts for Clark ($1.7 mil slot) and Griffin.

Signing Marion for the full MLE would actually be about an $11.7 million commitment, and I’ve got some beachfront property in Scottsdale to sell you if you think Sarver will jump at that.

No wonder this team is looking at signing a big guy, hopefully Channing Frye, for the minimum.

The only good news in all that is a Chandler-Wallace deal would save a few bucks in the interim because Tyson makes $2.2 mil less than Big Ben. Of course if Wallace retires, maybe that frees up some money to use with the MLE even if it means no Chandler.

ESPN also reported the potentially damning news that the cap could drop between $50.4 mil to $53.6 mil next season.

Yes, you just heard every team hoarding cap space and every free agent hoping to cash in on that cap space shuddering. That would mean the Knicks could only sign one marquee player and that the well would dry up a whole lot quicker than everybody expected.

The Suns have $41 mil in commitments next year if Amare were to pick up his option or they started him out at that salary in a long-term deal, and that’s not counting things like rookie contracts or any multi-year signings this offseason. That means they could barely be a player.

However, if the Suns don’t make any long-term commitments and get some flexibility in an Amare deal, they might be able to make a bit of a dent, especially with other teams being in a comparatively worse position than what they originally thought.

Still, I would say such a Doomsday scenario should be enough for Sarver to put all his chips in the table, not worry about the fabled Summer of 2010 and go out and get a Marion and Chandler while he can.

Then again, I’m not the one footing that darn luxury bill.

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: Free Agency · Grant Hill · Matt Barnes · Phoenix Suns Rumors · Robert Sarver · Trades

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 COREY // Jul 7, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    DAMN WE IN A FUCKING WHOLE MAN SERIOUSLY

  • 2 N8lol // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:34 am

    As much as I am a little worried about it for the suns, it is fantastic for the rest of the league. The Lakers and Celtics are going to take HUGE hits this year from luxury tax because they are trying to sign so many high profile players. That also means that next year they will have to get rid of some of them. So while the Suns may be having some issues, they are manageable and we dont have to worry abou the long haul.

  • 3 Ever // Jul 8, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Get Chandler and Fry, keep Amare and sign Nash for a couple of more years… let’s ride this and forget about 2010 (what’s another missed pick to Sarver anyways), the core will be good to go :

    Chandler-Lopez
    Amare-Frye
    Dudley-Clark/Griffin
    Jrich-Barbosa/Tucker
    Nash-Dragic/Devin Brown

    The only player over 30 would be Nash, we can live with that !!!

  • 4 jay thatch // Jul 8, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I agree with what that guy “ever” said. what a line up (at least on paper) that looks to be. just adding chandler and frye would better the team. Another alternate at point guard would help ease some anxiety though.

  • 5 AC // Jul 8, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    In all of these blogs I keep seeing possible line-ups for next year and how great that it might be. Everyone knows what the Suns line-up was last year, right?

    Shaq
    Amare
    Hill
    JRich
    Nash

    How in the hell do you miss the playoffs with atleast 3 hall of famers and throw in a few all-stars to go with that. Not to mention that Barbosa played his best year last year and we got a nice surprise from Lou and Dudley.

    We can throw line-up possibilities out all we want, but it’s going to come down to if these players decide that they want to play or not this season.

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