Pro/Con: The Jared Dudley extension

Were the Suns smart to lock Jared Dudley up before free agency or could that money have been better spent elsewhere? (AP Photo/Matt York)

Were the Suns smart to lock Jared Dudley up before free agency or could that money have been better spent elsewhere? (AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns signed Jared Dudley to a five-year extension worth as much as $22.5 million at the buzzer of the deadline Monday night.

Although this provides the Suns with a quality player at a reasonable price, was this the smartest way to spend their money with so many wings already locked up long term? Michael Schwartz and Mike Schmitz discuss.

Pro: Dudley deal a sound investment

When I first heard that the Suns and Jared Dudley had come to terms on this five-year extension, my immediate reaction was that this was a steal for the Suns.

I thought Dudley was going to ask for Frye or Childress money (five years in the neighborhood of $30-32 million), so to get Dudley for about $2 million cheaper per season seems like quite the steal (especially when considering it’s half as much as Mike freaking Conley will be making the next five seasons).

Dudley won’t ever light up a box score, but it’s the little things that make him so special. If there were a measure for team chemistry, he would max out that scale, and he’s always hustling or diving for a ball to pump up his teammates and the crowd.

The advanced stats bear this out as he ranked third on the Suns in two-year adjusted +/- for the past two seasons, according to Basketball Value, behind only Steve Nash and Goran Dragic, and he recorded the third-most Wins Produced on the team during the playoffs last year behind only Nash and Jason Richardson.

On the court he’s a quality wing defender and has become a lethal three-point shooter. Best of all about Dudley, he’s always improving his game and never seems satisfied with where he’s at (call him the anti-Earl Clark). You just know that he will keep getting better throughout the length of this contract (which covers his prime 26-31 seasons).

When I analyze an NBA contract, I’m largely looking for value (as in the opposite of Hedo Turkoglu’s deal). Getting the all-around package of Jared Dudley locked up for the next five seasons at just over $4 million per is without question great value.

Sure, the Suns have Turkoglu and Childress signed for the long term as well, but they are such different players than Dudley, a guy who can thrive as the Suns’ sixth man of the future while those guys start.

This deal finishes off a paradigm shift of the Suns’ plans for the future. The plan pre-Amare defection was to clear space and make a splash this summer. Now, as you can see from our salary page, the Suns have about $50 million in commitments next season when counting non-guaranteed deals and around $33 million the two seasons after that.

No, there won’t be any huge Miami Heat splash in the desert in years to come, no savior free agent who will save Planet Orange, and the Suns still have a few more good moves yet to make to be competitive in the post-Nash era.

But whichever way you slice it, locking Jared Dudley down at a reasonable rate is a step in that direction.

– Michael Schwartz

Con: Not sure where Dudley fits in Phoenix’s future

Let me preface this by saying Jared Dudley is one of the team’s hardest workers, a terrific locker room guy and brings constant entertainment to Phoenix with his TMZ and Twitter antics.

He’s also developed into a deadly three-point shooter, a relentless defender while bringing instant energy off the bench and is well-deserving of a new deal. But with all that said, I don’t understand where Dudley fits in with this team long term.

The Suns already have $72,547,550 of guaranteed money invested in Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu over the next five seasons. You have to figure Childress and Turkoglu are both future starters, so why commit $21.25 million more to a guy who’s never going to crack the starting rotation?

Dudley’s annual salary is not a bad deal at all considering his production (and Mike Conley’s ridiculous five-year, $45-million deal), and with the CBA looming you figure a deal had to get done now or never. But with the roster as it stands and the future outlook in Phoenix, it just doesn’t make sense.

I would certainly prefer never acquiring Turkoglu and going with Dudley as your starting three when Grant Hill calls it quits. But, barring a trade, Turkoglu and Childress will be in Phoenix for the next four and five seasons, respectively, meaning less playing time for Dudley.

Phoenix also still has to re-sign future cornerstones Robin Lopez and Goran Dragic, and the starting center and point guard of the post-Nash Suns are much higher on the to-do list than a hustling sixth man with a three-point stroke.

This also means there’s less money to extend Jason Richardson in the offseason. I’ve never been on the keep J-Rich bandwagon, but the Suns lose a definite 15-20 points per game without Richardson in town.

So essentially Suns management has committed to signing a handful of good-but-not-great players, with no real superstar lined up for the future. The Suns will pay out about $26.65 million per season to Channing Frye, Childress, Turkoglu and Dudley.

That’s almost half of the salary cap to four players without superstar potential. Then add in Dragic and Lopez’s eventual new deals and Phoenix is hurting for a marquee name.

I understand it if they had a John Wall or DeMarcus Cousins that they were waiting to develop, but they don’t and it doesn’t seem like a player like that is coming along soon.

Dudley staying in Phoenix is certainly a good thing, and it would have been sad to see him go. But five more years just doesn’t make sense with the current roster.

I can’t quite put my finger on the long-term goal of Suns management, but if it’s piecing together a team full of role players that will remain mediocre unless a superstar falls into their hands, they’re succeeding.

– Mike Schmitz

Tags: Jared Dudley

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  • Scott

    Suns just signed a deal mediocrity until the ’14-’15 season…this all started with Hedo and cemented it with this signing.

  • Joe

    Dude, you need role players around the superstar or you can’t win. I highly doubt Turkeyglue fits into their long term plans, the only thing that’d keep him a Sun is if no one wants to take him in a trade (very possible).

    If you have Lopez, Frye (Ugh), Dudley, Childress, and Dragic all locked up.. You’re just one superstar away from contending. Especially if they keep getting nice value deals. Although the Frye signing is looking like less of a value.

    It’d be nice if Frye picked up his play and the Suns could trade him and Turkeyglue for a 4 that can play defense. HAAA, I can dream right?

  • JC

    Nash was not a so-called “superstar” or “franchise player” until he signed with the suns at age 30.

    Also what is wrong with Dudley and/or J-Chill backing up the 2 spot?

  • JC

    Joe have you watched a game recently? Why are you hating on Frye’s defense? He has had some really nice stretches and at times has outperformed Lopez. Give the guy a break. His defense was a major reason we made it to the WCF last year and his multi-year contract in the off season was well-deserved.

  • Drew

    I don’t know what to respond to first!

    Dudley deserves that extension. It’s a steal for us! I agree that you need a good supporting cast. Worst case scenario, we have a high value trade chip to get that superstar we need.

    Frye was overpaid. End of story. I’m glad we extended him, but not for that much. He’s going to have to raise his level of play for us to either get our money’s worth or have another team feel he is worth trading for.

    Picking up Hedo (and his ridiculous contract) looks more and more like a mistake. I really hope I’m wrong about this. Childress will fulfill his contract. Once he gets a feel for our system, he’ll be a great addition.

    If the future for the Suns is Goran/JChill/Hedo/Warrick/Lopez with Dudley and Frye coming off the bench, I’d say thats a good supporting cast. Remember, Nash will still be around a few more years. We still need one trade to get a real PF (hopefully move Hedo in this process) then get a scorer who’s a leader. Eric Gordon? I think the Suns are just a move or two away from saving their future after a couple of dumb mistakes.

    Are we really only paying Dwayne Jones $50k? Yikes.

    Last thought, this “log jam” we currently have at the 3 isn’t a bad problem to have IMO. When 3 of them (Hill, Dudley and JChill) can play the 2, defend the 2, and give us more size and lateral speed, I’m okay with that!

  • Steve

    @JC – Frye was a major reason why we made it to the WCF? Defensively?

    I’m not sure I was watching the same Phoenix Suns you were watching. Never during the postseason did I think to myself, “Man, that Frye is playing some awesome defense. I don’t mind watching him brick 20 3′s in a row if he’s going to play D like that.” Once his 3-ball started dropping, he had some value. But his value has never been in his D. He’s an awful rebounder for his size (although he did perform decently in that category in the LA series).

    He’s overpaid. It was a feel-good move to lock up the hometown guy. I was never for it at all. Guys like Frye aren’t champions. They’re niche role-players that will perform well for non-contending teams that need his specific services to be entertaining and competitive in the NBA season (See: Definition of Phoenix Suns basketball).

    Either Frye or Turkoglu (or preferably both) must go in order for this team to be a championship contender. I understand why the Suns made the moves they did, because they seemed like the best available at the time, but a two-year or one-year deal for Frye would have been good enough, and Turkoglu never should have been thought of.

  • Michael Schwartz

    @Drew Jones had a $50,000 training camp guarantee and was cut before he could make any more money. So his $50K counts against the cap although he’s not on the roster anymore. If he were still around, he’d be making the league minimum like the rest of the young guys.

  • Lloyd

    Any championship team must have great role players like Dudley (look at San Antonio when they were winning).

    Yes we still should sign Lopez and Dragic long term, but Dudley should be near the top of the list to build your team around. Smart move by the Suns!

  • Kyle S

    I agree with both sides, haha.

    We needed to keep Dudley (and Lou too, by the way) and we got him at a very good deal. But we don’t have an superstar lined up. I think the goal is to keep Hedo around until Nash leaves and hope that he takes over after. Or maybe the goal is to go lottery and grab a future cornerstone (no!). Maybe our goal is to work on long term chemistry rather than 1 or 2 superstars, which our 2nd unit is great at. I’m nervouse but don’t really care b/c I’m too interested in this season right now. haha.

  • JC

    @Steve…oh ya that’s right, it was actually Amare Stoudemire’s defensive prowess that got us all the way to the WFC last year and 2 games short of a shot at the finals.

    C’mon get real man. We did not have Lopez remember. You are right the Suns defense is never good and Frye is no exception but he did a good enough job on Aldridge to get us past the Blazers and a good enough job on Duncan to get us past the Spurs so what is the problem?

    I’ve seen some good things so far from him this year as well…but you have to give him credit for what he was able to accomplish last year in the playoffs defensively. And under Gentry I expect him to take it to another level this year.

  • Mirza

    @ JC .. Frye a defender???? LOL, Who’s the poon that made that comment? Is this Frye’s brother in law? This will be Frye’s stat line this year .. 7.5pts 4.5boards .. 35% from 3′s .. 0.5 blocks …. that sounds about right for a guy set to make 30 million

  • JC

    Also people need to give Hedo more time. He is a Robert Horry type of veteran. They never have good regular seasons, let alone preseasons, but the guy’s got ice water running through his veins and I’m confident that if we keep him around this season he’ll kick it into gear and he’ll start to make plays when we need it the most.

    Some people are saying the Suns look good this year but need to find an identity in the 4th Quarter after that game against the Blazers. Maybe Hedo can be the answer?

  • JC

    @Mirza do you actually watch any games or do you just read stats and box scores?

  • Mirza

    I have watched every single game since I moved here in ’96. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING GAME .. its clear you dont though .. You’re really fucking defending Channing mothafreakin Frye, are you serious right now? “Oh look Frye got a block” He’s 7 freakin foot tall, he should get blocks (he should get way more than what his career avg is)

  • JC

    You’re ridiculous…his blocking average is going down this year huh? That’s some great insight. And if you re-read my post I never said he was great but I said he deserves credit for what he has accomplished defensively (for someone who is not typically know as a defensive player). And I’m not that impressed with your EVERY GAME since ’96. I have been watching since before Barkley and just because you watch doesn’t mean you are understanding…sometimes the lights are on but no one’s home…lol.

  • Kevin

    The Jared Dudley extension is a good deal it’s the frye and turkuglo that are the problem neither player is bad but not worth the price we are paying and Dudley could have been thrown one of those ridiculous contracts like the last off season then we would have to match to keep him…so for about 4 mil a year I say it’s a steal

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  • Evan

    We will eventually trade some one that is clear, i would rather have Dudley than Frye, and Hedo, we need scrapers who care about defense on this team, even so we still have a decent amount of cap space and quality trade bait players to build a good team with a move, and even develop into a good team, its all about the 4s and 5s hustling and boxing out. Every practice Gentry should have anyone who plays a 4 or a 5 doing rebounding, trap defense, and ball dental drills.

  • Mirza

    All Im saying I’d like to see Frye work more on his post defense and shot selection rather than his stupid blog …. once the shot starts falling again, perhaps a stupid GM will take him in a trade (wishful thinking I know)

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  • sun also rises

    Mirza, you’re so full of shit your default font color should be turd brown. I’ve never seen you on these boards prior to your recent diarrhea of the fingers… first you slag “Lopes,” then you slag Sarver, now you’re slagging Frye. For a guy who has been watching the team “since 1996,” you sure sound like you’ve never experienced any adversity with the franchise.

    Do yourself a favor and put on your Laker jersey early this year. This is a franchise that demands faith, not some kid who got hyped watching the WCF and decided that he wanted to become an instant fan. I’m looking forward to this season and these boards, but not if I have to read your stupid butthurt whining about every player on the squad not named Steve Nash.

  • suns fan in LA

    Frye looks decent on defense I don’t get why you’re getting all butthurt. Optimism is part of being a fan. And does anyone else notice that turkoglu is getting pushed by his teammates to get into position defensively? Like literally I saw frye shoving turkoglu towards the wing on one play. Besides you can’t judge frye too much this year so far he’s faced aldridge and gasol ANS jefferson. Not exactly cakewalks

  • Mirza

    I slag “Lopes” (never did I call him Lopes and never did I say anything bad about him), Sarver well that’s a whole different story .. It just dawned on me why Frye got 30 mil from Sarver .. DUH .. UofA products …. Yea Im a huge Steve Nash fan but actually my favorite player is Goran Dragic go back to your pussy doctor and check yourself …..

  • Mirza

    I think I’ve made myself clear that I am not a fan of Channing Frye or Robert Sarver, it doesnt mean I dont love this team .. tell me one good thing that Sarver has done since he took over (besides wagging that foam finger in front row of every game)

  • sun also rises

    ^Signing Nash to an extension. Hiring Alvin Gentry. Working out a sign and trade deal with Amare, even though STAT didn’t owe us jack. Not letting Steve Kerr’s departure derail the off season entirely.

    And he’s made a lot of stupid decisions, too. Haters are gonna begin and end with Terry Porter, but that’s cheap and easy criticism.

  • Mirza

    Letting Joe leave .. getting Boris Meow .. signing Boris Meow to 9mil per year (great deal right) .. letting Mike leave to NY .. low balling Steve Kerr .. low balling Grant Hill (cant believe he still re-signed after that and thats why we all love him) .. no comment on Terry Porter as he was trying to improve the team defensively and it clearly backfired .. trading for Hedo (Childress signing I like by the way so I wont hate on him for that) .. its ok to disagree with some of the decisions that he has made guys, come on now, we’re all die hard fans here and I will always follow this team no matter what but that doesnt mean that I have to agree with the decisions that he has made (sure its his team and he can do whatever he wants I get that) .. signing Babby who has no experience whatsoever .. I mean the list goes on and on and I think more people will start realizing once Steve leaves that this team will be in the lottery year in and year out (barring some miraculous trades) ….

  • Mirza

    Diarrhea of the fingers is funny I’ll give you that .. LMAO

  • suns fan in LA


    That’s a little pessimistic of. A prediction for the suns isn’t it? And heck letting d’antonji leave didn’t lead to anything bad, I mean we have gentry now. On the point of low balling you forgot gentry…

  • Steve

    @suns fan in LA – I will give you that Frye has had tough competition, but how does that excuse the great performance of big men against this team and against him? The playoffs don’t get any easier than this, and if we’re going to have any shot, we need bigs who play like bigs.

    Frye is not the worst defender of all time. I don’t mean to say that. He wasn’t even the worst defender on the team last year in the post. I would give that to Amare for his complete and utter lack of knowledge about helpside defense. But Frye is not a good defender. He’s below average. He also has limited leaping ability and a lanky frame, which add up to a horrid rebounder if you’re not overly focused on technique and boxing out. Frye isn’t concerned with those things, and he’s a horrible rebounder as a result.

    All I’m saying is that you don’t build championships with Channing Fryes. He’s not an awful player. He’s a good player, in fact. But he does not fit what this team needs this year. We need bigs who can bang and defend. Channing is an extra-tall 3.

  • Mirza

    oh yea good point LOL .. he sure low balled him and Gentry took it like a man

  • Steve

    I disagree that letting Joe Johnson go was a mistake. Look how much Johnson is making right now for leading a team that never does anything in the playoffs. He’s not a No 1 guy. He’s a clear No 2. He has an amazing skillset, great work ethic, and he’s an all-around fantastic player, but there is a difference between Joe Johnson and guys like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, yet Johnson gets paid like them. I really don’t think Joe Johnson would leave us much better off (if at all) than having Jason Richardson, and we’re saving a few mil with Richardson vs Johnson. Joe Johnson simply isn’t worth the money he commands.

    As far as D’Antoni… when has he ever won anything? He couldn’t even get two 60-win teams to the Finals. Why does anyone actually believe he’s a great coach? His entire philosophy is completely contrary to EVERYTHING that has been proven to win championships for the past 20 years.

  • Mirza

    On Frye .. I would go as far as to say if he wasnt on the Suns he would be below average. He’s only average because he plays in this system. I mean he didnt exactly blow it up in NY and Portland (I know it doesnt take a genius to realize that I know I know but its the truth) .. He’s concerned about jacking up the next shot and Steve you made a great point, he’s not concerned on the defensive end .. Maybe Gentry will send a message to him and bench him like he did in the playoffs against LA. “Channing is an extra tall 3″ I mean that nailed it right there ..

  • JC

    D’Antoni was a visionairy and I’m thankful for what he did for our franchise but he did not make the correct adjustments in the Playoffs so that we could win. He seems like to much of an idealist in that he would always say we just have to play our game regardless of what they do. I like Gentry because he takes the strong points of SSOL and uses it to our advantage when the other team is stopping us he makes the necessary adjustments. He is a realist. He does what he can to win. I think that makes him a much better coach at the end of the day.

  • Mirza

    I agree about D’Antoni .. but let’s not forget the system he put in place, Mr. Gentry is currently using it (very similar)

  • JC

    On Frye…sometimes the best defense is a better offense. The Suns have had this motto for as long as I can remember. I just don’t understand why you are so hard on Frye right now of all times. I mean he played the game of his life in Game 6 of the WCF now he’s showing some signs of really improving defensively this year. Give him a break. This is how the Suns roll. We don’t have the best defensive players nor do we want them. We want players that light up the scoreboard and play good enough team defense to win games. The old school Lakers won plenty of Championships with really good offense. It’s only a matter of time before we get ours. But basketball is a tough sport to win championships when your team is not the Lakers or the Celtics. So oh well it’s all about the journey not the destination. And the destination will be that much sweeter when we finally make it there.

  • Mirza

    Nothing wrong with a good offense (almost always beats a great defense) but when the shot is not falling Frye puts his tail between his legs and starts shaking his head .. How else is he supposed to contribute when he goes 1-9 in a game from the field? Get in there grab a board or 2 and throw some elbows, that’s all Im saying .. He reminds me of a typical European player (Im European and trust me we dont play ANY defense and we like to shoot all day long)

  • KJ Loyalist

    A few things.

    Johnson didn’t want to be here. He made that clear. He clearly stated that he wanted to be the leader of a team not the lieutenant, (behind Nash). So to get a then-nice Diaw was fine considering how well he helped the second unit along and helped us to the WCF when STAT’s knee blew up.

    D’Antoni would still be in PHX if he would have backed off killing 6 guys as a team rotation. Also Gentry’s system is nothing like what Mike had installed. The basic fundamentals are in place but that is it. Mike never installed a proper half court system. He never created a bench designed to get / maintain / extend leads.

    As somebody else said, Gentry also adapts and its clear that Mike wasn’t the answer for SSOL – Nash was.

    The JMZ deal is fine. It either keeps him around or gets us something back later. Others will get. Moved down the line that is clear.

    Star players? 10 in the league max; a few on the same team. Its not easy to land / keep one or every franchise would.

  • JC

    I don’t understand who you think we could have gotten to replace Frye. And what if that player didn’t fit in with our team as well. You can tell Frye is sort of Gentry’s pet by the way he talks exactly like Gentry. Frye is the epitome of what the Suns franchise is all about. I mean Sarver could have done nothing and rebuilt through the draft but he’s hoping we can have sustained success by rebuilding through free-agency and he wants Nash to have another chance at being a Playoff Contender just like the rest of us. I just don’t think a lot of people who criticize are very realistic. I think Sarver made some good albeit risky moves and I think it will pay-off in the long run.

  • JC

    And I think he made the decisions for the right reasons which is always a plus.

  • mirza

    Well extending Nash was about as logic as it gets .. Can you imagine what would have happened wit the ticket sales, it would have been catastrophic. All these fair weather fans would have turned on Sarver. Theres no question a major deal has to be made and its probably going to be JRICH and his expiring contract and im curious who that player will be that PHX gets. Frye will not sell tix and thats reality and if we can surround this group of so called rolle players wit a dominant presence at the 4 spot automatically move Hedo to the 3 and the production will be there. Dragic murdering the Spurs in game 3 was no fluke, this guy is the real deal and with his confidence growing each and every game this guy has huge potential. Maybe he signs JRICH and he puts up 20per but can we beat the Lakers with this group i mean its only obvious. Ive been to many Suns playoff games before and none were more enjoyable then the 2 against the Spurs last year and being a realist this team is at BEST a number 7 seed in the playoffs u can sit there and say its too early to tell all u want but this squad will get killed on the boards night in and night out.

  • Joe

    JC, I see what you’re saying. He might be able to turn it around and I’m not giving up on him or anything. But I am worried he won’t live up to his contract, most definitely. Even if he plays to his potential, he’s still a center who shoots 3′s. With Nash you can scrape by like that, but without him I can’t see the Suns being able to play so small..

  • Joe

    As for this year, I think the Suns can be better than a 7 seed. It’ll be damn near impossible to beat the Lakers with this squad, but hey, I’ve seen crazier things happen.

    I think for the Suns to have any shot of surpassing last years season, Dragic is going to need more playing time. Not just that, but he needs to continue playing how we know he’s capable of playing. He can dominate at times, no doubt about it. I don’t blame Gentry for Dragic’s low minutes, because this team is stacked. Whose minutes do you cut to up Goran’s?

  • KJ Loyalist

    The future identity of this team is already on display. Just take a look at the young bench players, RoLo, and the style of play exhibited when some of the elder starters rest.

    The offensive side will get more aggressive with Dragon starting. With nash its almost hypnotic and definitely precise. When Dragon takes over he attacks more than he probes. The others follow suit.

    Defensively, Dragon can stay in front of guards. It allows for a far more intense defense. That is the direction PHX is headed.

    His minutes will increase as the team settles this year. You can see Nash is playing longer in order to establish things easier. Dragon will get more floor time once things are set.

  • Joe

    How do you guys feel about the way Nash has looked at the end of games? Against Portland he was great for the first 6 minutes of the 4th… but then he looked tired and out of sync. Since then, he’s looked very “weak” for lack of a better word in crunch time. His ball handling isn’t as sharp, decision making seems to take a dip. I don’t worry so much about Nash, because I assume he’ll just figure things out. But it is a tad bit troubling, with his age getting up there and all.

    I hate to keep riding the Dragon Train, but I’d like to see him in there with Nash to close out some games. Problem is, there really is no one you can take out. Richardson, your #1 scorer? Hill, your veteran leader? Turkeyglue, your big off season acquisition?

    How do you guys feel about Nash and Dragic playing together, particularly in crunch time?

  • mirza

    We just have to believe Gentry will find those minutes for Goran and give some rest to Nash who no question has looked very tired at end of games (hes doing so much offensively)

  • Andrew

    What package can we put together for that starting PF in NY? I think that move makes us a contender.

  • JC

    I think if we just leave this group alone and give them a chance to grow together we will be a contender.

  • Mirza

    I want what JC is smoking ..

  • Mirza

    Contender for the lottery pick not a championship .. please clarify that