Friday’s signings should make this year fun

Posted by on July 12th, 12:31 am

For weeks we debated all kinds of crazy scenarios for the Suns this offseason, but now it appears as if the least earthshaking one has come to fruition.

That is, unless the Suns still have something earthshaking up their sleeve.

But for all intents and purposes, it looks like the Suns’ offseason began and ended on Friday, when they hauled in Grant Hill and Channing Frye and appeared to be close to a long-term contract extension with Steve Nash.

First off, Hill doesn’t have to worry about losing the deposit on his daughter’s private school (which he put down before the season ended). He will likely be a Sun for the rest of his career.

For 2009-10, this is the best news the Suns could have gotten, making them a team that matters, according to Henry Abbott, and one that should make us not completely regret that OKC owns their first-round pick.

After making no real attempt to reel in the Matrix, the Suns would have been small forward-less had Hill gone to the East. At 37, he should still be a reliable player next year, especially considering all the games his legs never grinded through during his injury years.

However, the $3.24 million player option for a 38-year-old Hill next year might not be ideal for a Suns team that really needs to be more than thinking about rebuilding a year from now. That’s $3.24 million less dollars that they can clear for a potential free agency splash that can help them long into the future.

Didn’t the Suns not trade for Chandler so they’d have cap room next offseason?

Combined with the signing of Frye, I feel this makes the Suns a 2009-10 playoff team. Probably a team in the bottom half of the playoff bracket, but a playoff team nonetheless, and that’s not something you could necessarily say when you woke up Friday morning.

Speaking of Frye, besides the fact that I am a UA homer, he was the big man I was really hoping the Suns would sign all offseason.

Of all the bigs available, Frye brings the best combination of youth, affordability and fit in the system. It doesn’t hurt that Channing played his high school ball a few miles up the road from US Airways Center.

Like we saw with Matt Barnes last year, many players believe they can boost their value in a big way playing next to Steve Nash in the Suns’ up-and-down system. Frye fits Phoenix perfectly in that he’s a mobile big man with a soft shooting stroke.

True, he averaged only 4.2 and 2.2 last year and 8.2 and 4.6 for his career, but after playing in a cesspool in New York and behind a logjam in Portland, I really feel like Channing’s finally getting his first real chance to prove himself as a legit NBA player. If he doesn’t develop here at 26, he never will.

He won’t ever seemingly singlehandedly beat teams like the Lakers like the Big You Know Who, but he also won’t get in anyone’s way or talk about needing touches every time he has a good game.

Although Suns fans will certainly miss having the Big Twitterer around, Phoenix fans will instead be treated to an accomplished blogger in Frye.

Frye is “glad to be with the Phoenix Suns!” according to the blog. Peruse the archives a bit, particularly the funny category. Crazy stuff.

Channing is also the NBA player who famously made the list of the top sweaters in the league. And wouldn’t you know it, the Shaq Daddy himself came in at No. 2 with Frye bringing up the rear on his own list at No. 5.

OK, so the Suns certainly are replacing a character in the middle with another character in the middle (albeit one not so loud on the national stage) and a big sweater with another big sweater. But what does this mean big picture?

First off, the Suns will still be very fun to watch next year. You could say they were going to be fun no matter what with the style they play, but at least now they have the horses to win a few games while they’re at it.

Phoenix also figures to be done for the offseason with the potential buyout of Big Ben. Kind of disappointing the Suns didn’t want to pull the trigger on a Chandler deal, but the frontcourt would have really been crowded with Frye in the picture now. Still, it would have been nice to get something more than $18 million for Shaq (unless Sarver plans on passing on those savings to the fans of course).

We know that the Suns will likely be running out a starting five of Nash-J-Rich-Hill-Amare-Frye/Lopez. All five of those players excel in the transition game and will be pulling the same way at all times (unlike last year).

More importantly the Suns will be featuring a bench of Dragic-LB-Dudley-Clark-Lou-Lopez/Frye. I consider all 11 of those players potential rotation guys. I can’t remember ever thinking of Suns depth past eight.

Of course, not all 11 will play, but this team is deeper than any of the Suns’ glory teams. One of the biggest complaints about D’Antoni always was his inability to develop a bench. Check that off the list heading into next year.

While the elites of the NBA made big moves, the Suns’ offseason improvements made barely a whimper outside the Valley.

Grant Hill is too old, Earl Clark is too young and Channing Frye averaged 4 and 2 last year.

All that is true, but just like in 2005-06 when Amare went down, the Suns have the look of a Little Engine That Could team, a squad that plays better than the sum of its parts.

We aren’t talking about the Nash-Amare-Shaq Triumvirate but instead a deep team committed to enforcing its style and making basketball fun again.

So while you shouldn’t expect any ads involving the NBA championship trophy trying to find its way to Phoenix this year, Suns fans should be in for a hell of a fun ride nonetheless.

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.

Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube 

Tags: Bench · Channing Frye · Free Agency · Grant Hill · Phoenix Suns Analysis

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Biscuit // Jul 12, 2009 at 2:42 am

    I don't think the problem this year will be the suns, it's more of the competition. When the were the frontrunners and championship contenders they were equal with the Mavs at the top. Both teams have played similar with similar guys and it's made about 8 spots difference in the standings. Competition has been crazy lately with teams like the Blazers rising up the ranks. With that said I think any team has a chance including the suns. I predict the will shoot over 50%, be the best offensive team of all time and maybe the worst defensive. If anything though, it's good to have my old team back thats why I loved them in the first place. They beat the Lakers last year without Nash, Stoudemire, and maybe one other big name so I def have faith they can surprise this year.

  • 2 Jon // Jul 12, 2009 at 3:58 am

    Assuming Amare returns to form and the Suns stay relatively healthy, this team is going to be better than most people think. I also think that Amundson is going to be a major contributor. He is so much better than how he looks. He has an amazing instinct for the game and just seems to always be in the right place. He sees where the rebound is going before it bounces, much like a Dennis Rodman. Her also beats his man downcourt virtually everytime and in the Suns offense that means he is open for a layup or dunk.

    I am not going to make any bold predictions, but I do think we have a chance to surprise a lot of people in the same way that we did in 2004-2005. I'm perfectly content to let everybody talk about the Lakers, Blazers,Spurs, Mavs – we'll see how it tunrs out. We will once again be the most exciting and entertaining team in the NBA and at the end of the day, that will make it a fun and enjoyable ride.

    Buckle up!

  • 3 Suns fan in Portland // Jul 12, 2009 at 5:58 am

    ok, not bad. but why not bring in T Chandler?

    SARVER SUCKS!!!

  • 4 D. Hayden // Jul 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Exactly, why not bring in Chandler it will make us a championship team and deeper. It is just a smart thing to do WTF suns?

  • 5 X // Jul 12, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Put up or shut up! the suns aint doing anything BIG but they didnt need to to do that when Nash first got here either. They simply did what they do best run and gun offense, crush dunks on the NBA's head and talk smack to dirty players like duncan and Stern. o wait thats the commish…..

  • 6 Dr. W. Andy MacDonal // Jul 12, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Just blueskying – I'd pull the trigger on an LB-for -James Posey deal in a second. Salaries similar, and fills needs of both teams.

    Yeah, do that.

  • 7 RC3 // Jul 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Trade Ben Wallace For Chandler Have Frye Take Some Minutes to help the big men also wit Lopez Than LB off the bench Dragic is getting better Clark Is as well I see A talented future and maybe a ring as well if Amare Comes Back Also Nash and cant forget Admunson he’s the new dan marjele on defense do it right phoenix

  • 8 jt // Jul 13, 2009 at 5:31 am

    I think Tyson Chandlers foot is worst than us fans think i'd love to see us trade jason richardson for Marcus Camby and use Ben Wallaces deal to get a good shooting guard that can defend

  • 9 jay thatch // Jul 13, 2009 at 5:46 am

    chandler didn't get traded last year because he FAILED the physical. may be something there. none of what the suns did makes them a championship contender, but that's not what we're used to here in phoenix anyhow. its not like we are the lakers or boston, or SA and can back up the championship talk. truth is the suns have NEVER won a championship, and that is not going to change this year. so I guess it can be like the cubs fans (there's so many of them here anyway) and we can say there is always next (10-11 season) year to win a championship (or maybe next owner), but wait even the cubs have won a championship in the past!

  • 10 D. Hayden // Jul 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    I got news for anybody who don't think we are a championship contender. We have been a contender for quite sometime and to be honest after the coaching change last year I bet if Amar'e had not went down we would have gone to the western conference finals. We are a running team so we should not change our identity but we have to concentrate on defense which is why I think Chandler is a great fit. Amar'e will play better D with someone like that next to him and we can have bigger lineups and bring more versatility against the elite teams. If they bring Chandler they can beat anyteam no doubt in my mind remember we score more than every team out there so let's get some guys out there that can get a couple more stops and put us in positions to get the games. We have closers all over the place so we can definitely be a contending team

Leave a Comment