3-on-3: Free agency edition

Posted by on July 3rd, 9:37 am

The Phoenix Suns seem to be on the precipice of finally rebuilding having spent their time courting young free agents such as Eric Gordon, Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Robin Lopez 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 Steve Nash?

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.

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 · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Steve Nash

32 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Jul 3, 2012 at 10:16 am

    @Zimmerman,

    While it could be so, I’m not sure it says too much that the Wolves let Beasley become unrestricted. It’s kind of a numbers game in Minny who has a lot of players in the 3/4 positions. They tried to move Derrick Williams before the draft which is telling. With no takers for him though and likely none for guys like Wes Johnson and Martell Webster or are under long term deals, how can you retain Beasley and Randolph in unrestricted status? Especially when you have needs at other positions?

    There’s a parallel to that here in Phoenix with R.Lo. Even if you believe in him, there has to be a ceiling above which you just can’t bother to match a deal for someone who will be a backup here when you have other, more pressing needs.

  • 2 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 11:28 am

    With Fields now a known contract, here is a possible result if Nash actually accepts a sign and trade to NY:

    PG Felton/Marshall/Telfair
    SG Mayo/Shumpert
    SF Dudley/Fields/Childress
    PF Beasley/Morris/Warrick
    C Gortat/Frye/Lopez?

    That’s pretty good yo. And young, with lots of good contracts. There’s a lot of assets right there. I don’t know if we could keep Lopez or not but I like that roster.

    3 on 3 crew, got any feedback?

  • 3 Ty-Sun // Jul 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Looks like the Raptors are playing hard ball. They just made Landry Fields a 3 year $20 mil contract that could make the sign and trade option for Nash off the table. Here’s what I read off another website:

    “The move is a calculated risk by the Raptors in hopes of knocking out the Knicks out of the Nash sweepstakes. The Raptors have offered Nash a three-year, $36 million contract, according to reports, and appear desperate to bring the All-Star point guard back to his homeland.”

    Fields is a good player but a near $7 mil a year player? I’m not sure the Suns would want to take that size contract back from NY for a player that would essentially a role player coming off the bench.

  • 4 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    What I’m wondering is if this definitively takes Fields off a sign and trade? Is he no longer eligible to be traded by the Knicks if they match Toronto’s offer sheet? If that’s the case the Nash sign and trade deal would definitely be dead. O Canada…if Nash really wants to help the Suns he’ll take 3 years, $24 million and stay with us while we add Mayo, Beasley, etc.

  • 5 JZ // Jul 3, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    I got another. Waive Warrick and trade everyone else on the team for 2nd round picks except Dudley. Then sign a bunch of D-League players to one year contracts to fill cap.

  • 6 Tony // Jul 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    @Jason,

    It’s being reported Suns offered Nash only a 2 year deal at a paultry $6 million per season. They know he would never take this deal and is there pathetic way of forcing Nash out without attempting to look disloyal and like misers.

    I find it so funny that just six months ago- during the time when Babby repeatedly called Nash the “earth, moon, and stars” of the franchise-that Babby discounted the notion of rebuilding by telling us on several occassions that a rebuilding process, on average, takes about 10 years to complete, and many in the VOTS community were quick to commend him. And now…, with the abrupt flip-flopping in strategy, many of these same people, are commending this shift to basically become the next Sacramento Kings, except without all the young talent they have.

  • 7 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @Tony

    I don’t believe for a minute the Suns offered Nash 2 yrs, $12 mil. What would be the point of that other to infuriate some fans? It just doesn’t make sense.

    It makes a lot more sense for the Suns to go get the pieces Nash asked for as a condition for staying with the Suns, and then make him an offer with what’s left. The burden for Nash to stay shouldn’t all be on the Suns. If we add a good (or great) SG and Beasley, what more would he have us do?

  • 8 KeZ // Jul 3, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    @Tony –

    I hear you, and I always agrees with everything you type. The way the managment have handled “the Nash situation” is just awful. But do you think the rebuilding mode would be better off with Nash sticking around for another 3 years?

    Sorry if my english is wack….I´m swedish.

  • 9 Tony // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    @Jason,

    Well if you don’t believe me, check out Paul Calvisi’s twitter, or you can check out Paul Coro’s article on the Arizona Republic, in which he stated that the Suns would barely match half what Toronto was offering and for one year less. Since the Raptors are reportedly offering Nash a 3 year deal at $12 million per season, then just by simple math, that would mean the Suns would be offering him just a little above $6 million for two years. I don’t know why this should surprise you anyway? This is how Sarver has historically operated. Even if he wants a player to stay, he always begins contract negotiations way below market-value and if he doesn’t want a player to stay, ala JJ, Amare, Marion, or now Nash, he gives them an offer he knows they will refuse. The point for doing so again is perception. He can honestly say he offered Amare or Nash or whomever, a contract to stay, but it was the player who refused to resign, trying to paint these players as too greedy.

    As far as what Nash wants to resign, I do believe that if the FO signed Beasley and even Mayo, while also keeping the rest of the team together, that Nash would be willing to stay. However, at this point, with the FO giving Nash such an insulting offer, I doubt Nash is still even interested in resigning.

  • 10 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Tony, if you believe those reports of 2 yrs, $12 million I have some icebergs to sell you. There is no logic whatsoever in offering Nash that contract after TOR came out with their offer, and I don’t believe for a minute they would be on record for it. It appears as if the two sides have not spoken and the Suns haven’t offered any contract. What has also been Sarver’s pattern is to let the market decide the value and then come in at the end. That’s how it worked last time with Nash. I don’t think that will happen this time but I don’t fault the FO or Nash.

  • 11 steve // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    @Tony

    This is the Coro quote you’re referring to:

    “the Nash camp knew the Suns were thinking about a two-year deal for barely more than half that in annual salary..”

    The same article also says this:

    “the Suns had spoken once with Nash, and both sides agree that there has not been an offer extended”

    The Suns have not made an offer. No other report outside of Calvisi’s has made the claim that an offer has been made. My feeling is that Calvisi is either a liar, trying to stir the pot to give 620 something to talk about, or his source is a liar, trying to cause dissension in the Suns organization (or stir up anger in Nash because that “source” doesn’t want Nash back). Either way, I don’t think Calvisi’s report has a shred of truth to it.

  • 12 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Also, I’ll add JJ wasn’t worth the max money, Amare has one of the worst contracts in the NBA (after JJ), Marion wasn’t worth the money at that point in his career, and now even Nash isn’t worth the money. So is it $arver’s fault or the Player’$ fault?

  • 13 Tony // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    @Steve,

    you may be correct, that Calvisi’s “source” is just a ruse, but if you read Coro’s article carefully, it sounds awfully likely that the FO plans on a $12 million deal for 2 years. Furthermore, although no official contract offer may have been drafted, preliminary contract negotiations are also very critical in terms of gauging where the player and the FO stand with regards to contract status. Hence, Calvisi’s source or Coro’s inside information may have been based on just preliminary negotiations. Only time will tell, but I would not be surprised if your good buddy and employer did offer Nash a $6 million deal for 2 seasons.

    @Jason,

    come on, really? Sarver’s pattern is to let the market decide and come in at the end???? I don’t mean to sound rude, but have you paid even the slightest attention to how he handled the negotiations with Amare, Marion, or JJ? Heck, he initially low-balled both Hill and then Frye. In fact, he even did the same to Gentry, who I believe is in the bottom-3 least paid coaches in the NBA. Seriously, wake up! It is astonishing how poorly informed many VOTS Suns fans’ are, relative to the other Suns-related sites.

  • 14 thatdude // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    OJ wants more than MLE the question is how much is Sarver willing to dish out? After Warrick and JChills horrendous contracts, why not? 3yrs 20mil and he will score 20ppg but lets hope he doesnt get pulled over late night ala “Cliff the Spliff Robinson” lol dude has a lot of baggage and same wit Beasley ..

  • 15 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    The Knicks lost out by dithering. For once the Raptors acted like their namesake and gobbled up one of the RFAs the Knicks left dangling.

  • 16 Jason A. // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    @Tony

    You think I need to wake up? You’re the one that thinks the Suns offered a two year below market contract. Please dude, you’re barking up the wrong tree. I know my stuff. We clearly don’t have a good track record of signing free agents over the past few years, but he made the right calls on JJ (after he initially botched it), Marion, Amare, re-signed Hill, re-signed Nash, and now the right call is letting Nash go. Maybe you should wake up to the business side of things. It matters for all but a few billionaire owners. If it was your money, maybe you’d feel differently.

  • 17 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    @Jason -

    Sarver was not the one who low-balled Hill and Frye. Coro states it was Sarver who came late in negotiations to offer them higher contracts. I even posted that quote from Coro a day or so ago.

    Some fans apparently believe negotiations should begin with the top dollar right off the bat, except then they complain that the team is always overpaying … circular logic.

  • 18 steve // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    “if you read Coro’s article carefully, it sounds awfully likely that the FO plans on a $12 million deal for 2 years”

    No, if you had read Coro’s article carefully, you’d realize that it was pure conjecture that the FO had gone through any sort of “preliminary contract negotiations.” Could it possibly be true that the Suns have indeed “offered” Nash an unofficial deal? Sure, I guess that’s possible. But does anyone have a single shred of evidence that supports that other than the conjecture of Paul Calvisi’s source and the “Nash camp” that Coro cites? There are other sources (like Broussard) that have reported much bigger offers from the Suns. Why don’t you chat about their conjecture? Why is it that you’re focused on this little bit of garbage journalism that paints a seemingly bad picture of the front office?

    As far as low-balling… on a guy that isn’t obviously going to get huge contracts from any other team, why would you ever come in with your strongest offer? Or even a semi-strong offer? There’s no reason to start the bidding at $20 when the item you’re bidding on is only worth $20, or $25, or $30, or $40. You’re only asking to bleed money if you start the bidding at the ultimate price you’re willing to pay.

    Again, we’re talking about pure conjecture from an unnamed source, and not a single report since then has backed up Calvisi’s wild claim. I don’t want to get into the details of a fake offer too much because it’s just pointless.

  • 19 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    As for Gentry’s pay being in the lower 3rd of NBA coaches, this is probably true. I was able to find a site that has salaries for most, but not all coaches.

    In 2011, coaches making less than Gentry included Jay Triano, Paul Westphal, Scott Brooks, Monty Williams, and Larry Drew. Coaches making a tiny scintilla more (basically equal pay) included: Tom Thibodeau, John Kuester, and Lionel Hollins. Making slightly more was Kurt Rambis.

    http://weaksideawareness.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/salary-and-contracts-of-nba-coaches/

    For historical perspective, the Suns paid D’Antoni $4.5m / year, and Kerr’s friend Terry Porter $2.3m / year.

    Pay seems to go up mainly if the coach is a championship winner, a long time coach (like Sloan), former NBA elite, or in a large market.

  • 20 Tony // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    @Scott,

    before I correct you, I must admit I should have more specific with regards to the particular contract negotiations I was referring to. I was not referring to this past season but the 2009-2011 contract. From Paul Coro’s blog dated July 9, 2009, “…one source said the Suns’ initial offer to Hill was for a veteran’s minimum contract of $1.3 million, a hefty pay cut after a season in which he was at his healthiest, was easily the Suns’ best defender and shot a career-best 52.3 percent from the field.” This was the one in which it required Kerr, Sarver, and Gentry to take a midnight flight to convince HIll after he felt insulted by the FO low-balling him.

    So before you try to undermine my claim, next time make sure you are entirely accurate. But as I said, to be fair, you didn’t know which contract proceedings I was referring to, so I’ll give you a pass;)

    @Steve,

    yes Broussard was quoted this morning as saying the Suns might offer Nash a 2 year deal for $10 million each of those two seasons. So, there’s obviously conflicting reports. I have followed Coro’s reporting for years, and I haven’t once seen him report something that was pure speculation or conjecture if he didn’t believe there was merit to it. So, I have more trust in what Coro says about the Suns than Broussard.

    But you may be right, I don’t know what Calvisi would gain by deliberately releasing false information or maybe he was just misinformed. Or, he may be right and Broussard wrong. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    In my opinion and I’m sure you will dispute this, there are certain players who have given their all for so many years and earned a level of respect such that in contract negotiations, you don’t low-ball them for the sake of getting the lowest possible contract you can with them and risk insulting the player. It just screams sleazy and disrespectful behavior and I don’t think it is appropriate. So, so long as the FO does offer him a reasonable contract, which means if less than three years they pay him more per each year, and he still rejects it, then I have no problem with the offer. But Nash himself said he didn’t feel the FO really wanted him back, so that may be indicate the veracity of Calvisi and Coro’s claims.

  • 21 thatdude // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Anybody else excited that Euroleague scoring leader from last year Mirza Teletovic is coming to Brooklyn? Lol …. The Nets are my 2nd fav team now that a fellow Bosnian joined the league. In all seriousness, this guy can shoot the lights out. 44% from 3s last year at 6’9 250 and 22ppg (6rpg not his best suit wit limited defense) I wish the Suns can get one of these Euro shooters and stash them away for a few years ….

    No sign and trade wit Knicks and Suns now..Boy are these Raptors aggresively pursuing Nash and you wouldn’t expect nothing less from Colangelo. ANY possibility that Nash (a loyal Sun) would agree to sign and trade? And how realistic would it be to throw in JChill bad contract in the?

  • 22 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    If reports are correct, Houston is currently offering a poison pill contract to Lin.

  • 23 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    @Tony -

    Regarding whichever situation you happen to be talking about, how do you know Sarver wasn’t stepping in to repair a rift caused by his GM (in this case, Kerr) …?

  • 24 Lloyd Cadle // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    If the Suns don’t get Gordon-go for Mayo and Beasley.

    Both are good young talents and you could get young and pretty good quickly. Hopefully Beasley can stay out of trouble-he is a heck-of-a talent.

    The lineup would be:
    1 Marshall, 2 Mayo, 3 Beasley, 4 Morris, 5 Gortat.

  • 25 Joey // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    suns best case scenario would be to offer Gordon a heavily backloaded max deal and sign Beasley. That would be a awesome young core to build on. If they can’t get Gordon then sign O.J.Mayo and Beasley. That would give them cap space to still get a pg. Lin would be a great fit but cap space may be an issue. I think Kendall is ready to start if need be. He’s a better scoring mark jackson. I think he’s a future allstar. I also think antwan Jamison or reshard lewis would be good fit. maybe 2yr deals or sign in trade for childress. just a thought

  • 26 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    It’s official … Deron is staying with the Nets.

    With NY out of the picture, we will probably now see Dallas and Toronto slug it out for Nash.

  • 27 Michael Schwartz // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Per Gambo:
    “Contrary to various reports I can assure you the Suns did not make a 2-year 12 mill offer to Steve Nash. No contract has been discussed”

  • 28 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Heh … Marc Stein says the Mavs’ offer to DWill was only $25m over 4 years. That sounds suspiciously like the Suns / Nash rumor.

    To clarify the earlier post: both NY teams are now out of the running. And if the Mavs are going to make a low-ball offer to Nash, I think Nash goes to the Raps.

  • 29 joey // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Nash is probably going to Toronto. I wish he would go to knicks and let suns do a sign in trade so they don’t lose him for nothing. Suns have to go young now or risk becoming the retirement home for old stars with bad knees.(ie Penny, Hill, Redd and others). Go young asap plz!!!

  • 30 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    @joey -

    The Knicks don’t have anything left to trade for Nash, so I don’t see how he can go there. No Lin (most likely going to Houston), and no Fields. Those were the two big contracts that would enable the Suns to trade Nash to NY for realistic money.

    I suppose the Knicks could match on Fields and Lin, and trade them to the Suns for Nash, but that seems highly unlikely, as in that case the Suns would take on two decent players, but on massively bloated contracts.

    If Dallas makes Nash the same offer they made to DWill, but scaled down in years, i.e. “2 yrs, $12m,” at the end of the day the only credible suitors for Nash will be the Suns (who have not made an offer, but still have a cap hold) and the Raps.

  • 31 Scott // Jul 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    One question now, regarding the Mavs … “is Dirk available?”

    I’m not the only one asking.

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