The Phoenix Suns seem to be on the precipice of finally rebuilding having spent their time courting young free agents such as Eric Gordon, , and at the start of the free agency period. Yet the end of the Nash era will not be complete until the two-time MVP signs on the dotted line in a locale such as Toronto, New York, Brooklyn or Dallas. In this free agency edition of 3-on-3, the VotS staff discusses how we would handle free agency if we ran the Suns.
Which of the following approaches to free agency do you favor?
- Re-sign Nash and find a way to acquire another quality piece or two.
- Re-sign Nash and bring back the same general team from last season.
- Watch Nash leave and fill the cap space with a host of young players.
- Keep the powder dry, sign one-year contracts and roll over the cap space to next offseason.
Michael Schwartz: The only option I hate is No. 2 (and our poll voters apparently agree). In an ideal world, probably the top one (as in sign Nash and Gordon and be a decent team). Realistically, since it’s doubtful the Suns sign either Nash or Gordon at this point, starting to rebuild with young free agents and eventually through trades for picks seems most prudent, which means if the Suns can’t find any savvy deals for young players with potential they should go for Option 4 and keep the powder dry until next offseason by signing more one-year deals. Overall, as doors close on options they should be careful to only make smart moves and go from Option 1 to 3 to 4 depending on what’s available.
Kevin Zimmerman: Watch Nash leave and fill their cap space with a host of young players through trade or free agency. But the key word in here is “young.” The Suns’ top target, Eric Gordon, is definitely a great get if for some reason New Orleans lets him walk, but if he’s out of the picture, Phoenix should not go after free agents who are in or past their prime; at least they should not sign them for the long term. Instead, younger talents that haven’t hit their ceilings should be priority. A guy like Michael Beasley, if the Suns think he can behave, fits that bill. And as a twisted person, I’d find his jacking up of 25 shots per game more entertaining than another year of one-year contracts like last season.
Ryan Weisert: The “get young” approach. The Suns are old, and whether or not Nash re-signs, the era is basically over. They need young talent right now. Phoenix should fill the roster with younger guys, and see who turns out to be good. They could find a piece or two to build around, or they might simply develop trade assets. Either way, they would be moving on and making progress.
Who should be the Suns’ top free-agent priority?
Michael Schwartz: Again, I’m going to give multiple answers (I hope that’s allowed). Eric Gordon should be No. 1. He’s a bonafide stud and he’s 23 years old. Gordon is the scoring ace the Suns have missed since Amare left and he can be one of the primary building blocks even if he’s not a No. 1 on an elite team. Since it’s doubtful New Orleans will let Gordon go, they should make a run at The Dragon if he will sign a reasonable deal, and after that they should be looking for lightning in a bottle guys like Beasley and Mayo so long as the Suns wouldn’t have to overpay them on a long deal. Although it seems sacrilegious not to consider Nash a top priority, the worst thing to do would be to just bring back last year’s team, so if they get a guy like Gordon then they should go full force into the Nash derby. Otherwise, both parties may be better off with a fresh start.
Kevin Zimmerman: Obviously, the management is doing something right in going hard after Gordon. But I’m not under the belief they’re going to be able to pull him from the Hornets, and a Plan B option appears to be Michael Beasley. Though it says something that Minnesota didn’t shoot him a qualifying offer, I sort of like the risk Phoenix is thinking of taking on the shoot now, shoot later forward. Beasley, in talent, was along the same lines as Kevin Durant coming out of college, and while he’s had his share of off-the-court issues and injuries, I don’t see him being a big risk in the locker room, especially for a franchise that has a good record of molding iffy characters. If the Suns are comfortable offering Beasley considering their general wariness about player character, I’m all for it.
Ryan Weisert: Eric Gordon. Gordon has plenty of teams interested in his services including the Hornets, who can match any offer sheet he signs. Gordon is seeking a max contract ($58 million). I’m not sure if he’s worth it, but I would like to see Phoenix make a splash by signing him in order to usher in a new era quickly and remain relevant while rebuilding.
What would you do if you were?
Michael Schwartz: I would enjoy this. This is probably the last time Nash will have a slew of teams wooing him with three-year offers averaging better than eight figures a year (I say probably because the man has defied age enough times a qualifier is necessary). Nash has intriguing suitors in the Raptors (home country) and the Knicks and Nets (his beloved New York and quality albeit not championship-caliber teams) yet I would flee to Dallas to pair with good buddy Dirk Nowitzki and old running mate Shawn Marion in a familiar situation. That is, assuming D-Will signs with Brooklyn.
Kevin Zimmerman: At this point if I were Steve Nash, I’m either insulted or have moved on from considering the Suns; that depends on whether the one time Phoenix spoke to me was a weak contract offer or a simple, “Thanks, but we’re going in a new direction.” That said, I wait until Deron Williams makes a decision, go where he doesn’t and join whatever team fits my style of play the most — Brooklyn might be tempting with Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace in tow, while New York is iffy considering Mike Woodson’s offense and Carmelo Anthony’s dislike of easy shots. In the end, I heavily consider Dallas, where I can make one more run at a championship with good pal Dirk Nowitzki. And if Dwight Howard signs there, I’m all in.
Ryan Weisert: Wait and see. If the Suns land Eric Gordon or another player who can create his own shot, I would sign any Phoenix contract worth more than $20 million. If the Suns decide to clean house, get young in a hurry, and bottom out for a draft pick, then I’m signing with whoever is offering the most money. I’m not taking the mid-level to chase a ring.