Nene has named six teams he’s interested in, and not surprisingly, Phoenix is not among them. Perhaps he doesn’t want to slide to the four for Marcin Gortat’s sake, or he the vision of getting passes from Steve Nash for a year or three just isn’t enough to convince him to go to a team that’s on the wrong side of chaos.
But, the fact that the gem of this Free Agent class doesn’t seem to be inclined to join the Suns, shouldn’t mean we can’t discuss other players the Suns’d want. And while I made an initial list a few days back, with a little Trade Machine fun, this time, I’ll be doing something different and making suggestions of 2 players for each position. So why not start with the backup point guard spot?
J.J. Barea — If there’s anyone in this free agency that fits the Suns system, it’s J.J. who lives and dies by the pick and roll. With a talented crew in that department (Gortat, Warrick), he should have no problem making some damage off the bench. The problem? You’re going to have to overpay him. There’s no way he’s worth more than $5 million per year, but after his great playoff run, that’ll be his asking price. Do the Suns want to lock up this sort of cash with another big Free Agency waiting to happen? I doubt that. Take him in, if the offer is rational, leave him if he goes overboard.
T.J. Ford — Ford has been injured and dethroned by Darren Collison in his last few years in Indianapolis, but there was a time when he was playing significant minutes and putting up some good numbers in Toronto, may I remind you, even back then, a fast pace team with a post presence (Chris Bosh) and a stretching big men (Andrea Bargnani). While Gortat is no Bosh, and Frye is… Well, actually kinda reminds me of Bargnani, Ford could still benefit from playing a few minutes with those guys, and then turning to Markieff’s crafty post work and whatever it is that Robin Lopez does well (sitting down on the bench so Garret Siler can come in?) for some help. With Nash playing a bit less minutes, the 27 year old might just be a diamond in the rough of this free agency, since I’m pretty sure that his contract demands won’t be too high. The only question? is whether he’s worth benching Zabian Dowdell for.
Steer Clear of: Mike Bibby, Aaron Brooks (if he returns from China)
Jason Richardson — While I’ll never forgive him for not boxing out Ron Artest that one time, J-Rich might still be one of the most affordable Free Agents on the market. That, and he knows exactly what the term “playing with Steve Nash” means. He can either start, or be a sixth-man shooter. Whatever the case, J-Rich would fill Vince Carter’s shoes well, all while caring about his team.
Marcus Thornton — Yes, he’s restricted, and yes, the Kings will probably match any offer with all the cap space they have. Still, if someone broke their fax machine for 3 days *just* after the offer sheet came through. Whatever the case, Thornton is an impressive young scorer, and he absolutely rocked my world when he was with the Kings. A long shot, but a shot that needs to be taken.
Chinese Wish: J.R. Smith
Steer Clear of: Shannon Brown, Nick Young
(Grant Hill will be treated as re-signed until he signs elsewhere)
Caron Butler — The Dallas Mavericks can’t afford to keep everyone and Butler is perhaps the most dispensable of their barrage of Free Agents. The only question for the Suns is whether he’ll accept a shorter and smaller contract. He’s obviously no longer worth what he was when signing his last contract. If however, Hill leaves, he might be a good replacement. If Hill stays, he’ll take a lot of minutes off him, and will help at Shooting Guard too.
Shane Battier — This is a long shot, if only because Battier doesn’t seem like a guy who wants to join in a rebuilding effort. If he were to sign, however, we should be ecstatic. Battier can defend 3 positions, much alike Hill and would’ve been a real treat to have in crunch time. Keep hoping, guys.
Chinese Wish: Wilson Chandler
Extra Suggestion: Thaddeus Young
Steer Clear of: Jason Kapono (and I remember killing people with his range in NBA 2k8. Sigh.)
Carl Landry — I might’ve just written this to make a “Carl Landry is a Sun killer joke” that Gary Bender used to make every time the Suns played a team with this guy on the roster. It’s pretty true, given that he averaged 15.8 points per game (4 points over his season average) against Phoenix. Why leave a guy out there, who’s almost exclusively geared against you. Seriously though, don’t sign him. Enough sub-par PFs. The true two are:
Andrei Kirilenko — While AK47 might be registered as a Small Forward, his best position is the four. The guy is a jack off all trades, a great defender, good scorer and above average passer. Who wouldn’t want a guy like that on a roster? Look, he can play the 4, he can play the 3, and he can make an impact. I WANT HIM ON THE SUNS. I do realize he had injury problems, but, as we know, injuries are usually the smallest concern in Phoenix. Give me KIRILENKO.
David West — West partnered up really well with Chris Paul in New Orleans, and he’d be a pretty good fit with Steve Nash too. While he might not have Frye’s stretching ability, he has a lot of defensive prowess, hustle and skill in the post, all of which are things the Suns direly need. Add mentoring post-up/defence/hustle guy Markieff Morris, and you have yourself a good idea.
Steer Clear of: Yi Jianlian, Kris Humphries
Chuck Hayes — Chuck might be 6’5″ in shoes, but he’s an excellent defender and hustling center. While Robin Lopez has Vince Carter’s mentality, Chuck has Jared Dudley’s. If the Suns will be looking for a backup Center, they might just start off here.
Kurt Thomas — Still better than Robin Lopez. Let’s just end it right there.
Steer Clear of: Kwame Brown
So this is my free agent list for every position. What’s yours? For example, Andrew, my fellow writer here (who consistently appears in the form of a blackhole on Sun-n-Gun Live) suggested that the Suns not make any moves. Would that be a good idea? I’ll explore it in the next piece that should come out later today.