Sunday and Monday were quiet. Aside from the implications of the biggest name in free agency, Deron Williams, and his choice affecting Steve Nash, there wasn’t much news dealing with the Phoenix Suns.
Then came a storm. A day after the franchise got a shocking commitment for Eric Gordon to sign an offer sheet on July 11, the Suns are still atop the NBA headlines. Today, Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the New York Knicks have taken the lead in the Nash chase.
Why has Toronto fallen out of favor? Bryan Colangelo’s apparent ploy to indirectly snap a Phoenix and New York sign-and-trade by handing out the green to Landry Fields isn’t looking too promising.
In addition, Ken Berger of CBS reports that Nash has told those close to him that New York is his destination of choice.
The Suns and Knicks are working on a deal to send Nash to the Big Apple in return for Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas and Dan Gadzuric. The Knicks would then sign Nash to a three-year contract worth $27-30 million, according to Wojnarowski. That’s a salary much more than the $3 million they could have offered Nash without a sign-and-trade, and it’s within reason when compared to Toronto’s fat offer of $36 million over three years.
For Phoenix, the prize in this proposed trade is of course Shumpert, the 6-foot-5 combo guard who would likely fill in as an energy guy off the bench behind Gordon assuming the Hornets don’t match the four-year, $58 million offer sheet Gordon said he’ll sign. And if New Orleans retains Gordon, Shumpert is a good insurance starter at the two-guard slot who as a rookie already had the athletic ability to be a strong defensive stopper on the perimeter.
He averaged 9.5 points, 2.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game last season.
Shumpert, of course, tore his ACL in Game 1 of the Knicks’ first-round series against the Miami Heat. He probably won’t be ready to play by the beginning of the regular season.
Phoenix wants Beasley commitment, will talk with Felton
Paul Coro said the Suns will look for a commitment from free agent Michael Beasley today when the Suns meet for the forward for the second time.
In fact, Coro writes that Beasley wants to come to Phoenix despite the Detroit Pistons also showing interest in the talented but volatile scorer. And when that volatility is mentioned, it should be of note that Beasley’s agent believes Gentry will be able to mold Beasley, who has had his share of off-the-court issues during his NBA career, Coro says.
The Beasley news is pretty obvious; the Suns need scoring punch, especially if they can’t acquire Gordon from NOLA. Beasley, though erratic at times, has the potential to thrive in Alvin Gentry’s system and provides Phoenix with an ISO threat when plays break down.
But there’s still a hole at point guard. Coro also tweeted that Phoenix will speak with point guard Raymond Felton tomorrow.
Even if the Nash deal goes through, neither Shumpert nor Toney Douglas are true point guards — ask Knicks fans. Kendall Marshall shouldn’t be expected to be thrown into the fire immediately, and Sebastian Telfair’s role comes into question this summer. Though he’s been “Through the Fire” (ha. ha.), he’s probably not an option to become a starter.
The Suns met with Goran Dragic on Tuesday, but he may be asking for too much money at approximately $9 million per year after coming off a strong second half of the 2011-12 season.
Felton thrived in Mike D’Antoni’s system in New York — he averaged 17.1 points and nine assists per game — but struggled this past year with the Portland Trail Blazers, averaging 11.4 points and 6.5 assists a night. He also struggled with conditioning issues during the lockout-shortened year.