Suns place winning bid for Luis Scola, amnesty Josh Childress

Posted by on July 15th, 4:07 pm

The free agent bonanza continues in Phoenix as the Suns have won the amnesty auction for Luis Scola. The 6-foot-9 power forward was amnestied on Friday by the Houston Rockets as part of GM Daryl Morey’s plan to land Dwight Howard.

Scola spent all of his first five NBA seasons with the Rockets after being drafted in 2002 by the San Antonio Spurs. The Argentinian has averaged 15 points per game or more over his last three seasons and has averaged 7.7 rebounds a game for his career. At the time of this post, it is unclear how much the Suns winning bid for Scola was. It was at least $3.3 million.

“We are excited to have won the bid for Luis Scola and to add a player of his caliber to our roster,” Suns PBO Lon Babby said in a release. “We greatly value the production he will bring and the leadership he will provide to our younger players.”

As part of this move, the Suns chose to amnesty the contract of Josh Childress in order to preserve their cap space. With Childress off the books, Phoenix has freed up $6.5 million in cap room this year and $21 million over the next three years. The Suns will still pay Childress his full salary, but that money will no longer count against their cap.

Childress will enter an amnesty auction like the one Scola just went through. All teams under the cap will have a chance to bid on the former Stanford player. If no team bids on Childress, he will become an unrestricted free agent. If a team does place a bid, the Suns will pay Childress his full salary minus the winning team’s bid.

“We thank Josh Childress for his contributions,” Babby said. “He is a consummate professional.”

As I talked about yesterday, the Suns’ front office will use the team’s remaining cap space to pursue O.J. Mayo. If Mayo signs else where or wants more than the Suns are offering, Phoenix could go after Courtney Lee. Signing Lee, however, would give the Suns three guys who played prominent roles on the Houston Rockets last season – a team which finished only one game better than the Suns in the Western Conference. That’s not exactly a recipe for success. Phoenix will also look to re-sign Robin Lopez.

By acquiring Scola, the Suns’ front office has added some legitimacy to its offseason rebuilding project. In the wake of Steve Nash’s departure, Phoenix has brought in a host of new faces, including Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, and draft pick Kendall Marshall. While all of those players have potential and have shown flashes of true talent, Scola is a proven contributor. He is efficient, has great rebounding ability, can score with his back to the basket, and knows how to play with a talented center (Scola spent the first two years of his career playing next Yao Ming while Yao was still somewhat healthy.)

In 342 post up possessions last season, Scola averaged 0.82 points per play according to mySynergysports (79th in the league). Contrast that with starting center Marcin Gortat, who averaged just 0.75 points per play in the post (111th in the league). On the flip side, Gortat is one of the best pick-and-roll scorers in the league, according to Synergy, while PnR is definitely not Scola’s strong suit.

So instead of two big men getting in each other’s way on the offensive end, the Suns will have two front court players who actually complement each other quite nicely. Plus Phoenix still has Channing Frye to stretch the floor and rookie Markieff Morris, who is asserting himself quite well in the Vegas Summer League. If Phoenix can re-sign back up center Robin Lopez, they’ll have a very decent if not very good front court rotation.

How next season will play out is uncertain. Coach Alvin Gentry will have to fit a lot of new pieces into a rapidly changing puzzle before the season starts. Order from chaos does seem to be one of Gentry’s strengths, though. Just look at how the Suns gelled down the stretch last year after an awful first half. Whatever happens, one thing is for sure: Even with Steve Nash wearing purple and gold next season, the Suns will still be a team that everyone is watching.

Ryan Weisert

Ryan Weisert is a staff writer for ValleyoftheSuns. You can also find him at his sports and pop culture blog Spectavius.com.

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Tags: Free Agency · Houston Rockets · Josh Childress · Luis Scola · Phoenix Suns

46 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jacob // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Not a huge fan of this signing… but he’s an improvement over Frye

  • 2 Fan in Chi Town // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve always liked Scola’s game, plus Dragic is already familiar with him. I like this signing.

    If we get Mayo, our starting five is dragic, Mayo, beasley, scola, gortat. That’s a pretty decent lineup

  • 3 Gosuns // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Im ecstatic, we are heading in the right direction

  • 4 phx suns fan in la // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Hope we get Oj …what does this trade mean for Hakim?

  • 5 jody // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Sarver gets a lot of flack about being a cheap owner, from myself included at times. Have to give him some credit on eating childress contract, not something a truly cheap owner would do and not something that he had to do to facilitate this signing. Nothing over the top but the future is looking a bit brighter today.

  • 6 DBreezy // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    He was eating that contract anyway, Chilly was untraceable and unusable by this team.

  • 7 Ty-Sun // Jul 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    This actually give the Suns more 4′s than they need. Scola, Frye, Morris and Warrick. Of course Warrick will probably be the 3rd option at the 3 spot too but I’d say that the Suns will try to shop Warrick or Frye before the trade deadline. Probably not before the season actually starts since Frye won’t be ready to play before January.

    And the Suns really need to sign another 2, hopefully Mayo. If not they will still HAVE to find another 2 guard to at least back up Dudley and then another backup who could preferably play both the 2 and 3.

  • 8 cha cha cha // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    if they can’t get Mayo, they might think about Courtney Lee, since Lee, Scola, and Dragic all started together in Houston for the last 2 months of the 11-12 season.

  • 9 Russell // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Any chance there is a team out there that will put in a bid? Maybe 1.5 mil -2mil? or is he going to clear waivers?

  • 10 Tony // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Reports are that Mayo wants at least $8 million per year and that the Suns, rightfully so, won’t offer him that much. In addition, besides Lee, the FO is apparently interested in bringing Brown back. But if that’s the case, unless Brown changes his mind about not accepting anymore 1 year deals, the FO will have to offer him at least 2 years.

    I do wonder if the Scola signing is a prelude to them letting Lopez go? If the Blazers are able to complete a S&T with the Knicks to give up Felton and Thomas, they will have the cap flexibility to offer Lopez a pretty hefty salary and because they desperately need a big, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they aggresively pursue Lopez. Personally, I rather the Suns keep Lopez and I just hope the FO isn’t going to give up on him in favor of Scola.

    @Ty-Sun,

    My bet is that Lopez is going elsewhere next season and that they put Frye as backup center. I know Scott believed Frye was best suited for backup center, so we may see if he was correct after all…

  • 11 Tim A // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I have always liked Scola’s game. He’s can play low post and seems to like it down there, as opposed to all of our other fours. When the Rockets waived him I was really hoping we could get him and then somehow dump Warrick. First half of that equation is finished.

  • 12 Ty-Sun // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Yeah, I was wondering why no one had shown some kind of interest in Lopez so far but there are still a lot of things up in the air around the NBA and Lopez really hasn’t proven himself yet. You’re right about Portland desperately needing a big and Lopez might be their best bet. If that’s so, I hope the Suns can at least work out a S&T to get something back for him instead of just letting him go.

  • 13 Russell // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I think 4 years 30-32 million for Mayo is a steal. He is a lock to put up 20pts 4-&-4

  • 14 . // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Yes. A pick and roll player that will benefit playing alongside Ste…wait. He’s no longer a Sun. Why couldn’t he wait a few weeks? T_T

  • 15 Mike M // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I have to give the FO credit again. Two times in the span of a couple days; I haven’t had this feeling in quite a while. I’m not saying the Suns are going to be great, certainly not a contender, but things were looking really bleak just a week ago. Gentry will have a bit of a puzzle moving pieces around but I’d rather have that problem than having no talent. But kinda makes me wish we didn’t sign Beasley now…

    Also, while it’s true the FO has to pay Childress anyway, you have to give them credit because now they have to pay an additional player on top of him. A more conservative FO would have let Childress continue to sit on the bench and wait for an opportunity to unload his contract in a trade or wait until its up. By waiving him, Sarver has to eat his contract and pay for another player.

    @Russell-I have the same question. I wonder if Childress will get any interest in waiver, and if so, how much. I hope at least a million or two to help offset what Suns owe.

  • 16 JZ // Jul 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    @ Russell I agree. Although Phoenix might need to sweeten the pot with bonuses just in case.
    @ Ty-Sun I think that a sign & trade for Lopez to Portland is a good idea. Phoenix could go and acquire Luke Babbitt. Frye showed he could be a good backup center. Frye and Morris stretching the opposing bigs would be fun to watch.

    The team is looking a lot better from last year. I hate that Steve will not be here to run the new line ups that Phoenix puts together. Why didn’t this happen two weeks ago? ARGHHH

  • 17 Fan in Chi Town // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Mike M –

    Personally I can’t stand Gentry. I think it would be sweet if we could somehow get SVG. That would be icing on the cake.

    I just have a feeling without Nash, Gentry might be in over his head.

  • 18 steve // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I feel like I’m the only man alive who really doesn’t like Scola’s game. I haven gotten into the numbers, but I have been seriously underwhelmed by watching his game.

    Still, it’s a good sign this FO is being aggressive and making splashes. I like to see that.

  • 19 Bill_Thomas // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    I’m guessing Chill will pull at least 1 bid for the minimum that can be bid. The remainder of his contract will not be that onerous, and there are several teams which have a thinned out bench of experienced players, particularly those whose forte is defense and “glue” play—but which may have plenty of scoring. Examples are NY, Golden State, Atlanta (hmmm”), and Dallas. This comment is specific to the SF position at those teams.

  • 20 Bill_Thomas // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Alvin is not an especially “strong” coach but his personality has fit well with the personalities and talent he has coached. It would be much worse to have someone overbearing with our group such as Sloan, Terry Porter or Jeff Van Gundy. However, I very much like SVG and he may be a better option after Alvin’s contract runs out, depending on how Alvin does with the group we’re assembling this year. But I am in no way recommending that Alvin be replaced nor taking the position that there is a “better” coach out there for the team right now. (He does have issues with player deployment and late-game adjustments at times though, doesn’t he.)

  • 21 Bill_Thomas // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Scola is an incredibly tenacious player. He is no superstar and cannot shoot the three, but I find no substantial weakness in his game. We just have to accept that when players like Scola, Frye, Gortat and Lopez are in the game, they will not be running the floor like Amare, nor will they (except Frye) be shooting the three. But Beasley can sure run the floor !

  • 22 Bill_Thomas // Jul 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Re: Lopez—I sure don’t want Luke Babbit back in an S&T; better to get a 1st Round pick, we could probably get a top-ten protected 1st rounder.

  • 23 Bill_Thomas // Jul 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Re: Lopez–I’m utterly convinced he’s never going to develop offensively. Otherwise I would say keep him.

  • 24 Tim from British Columbia // Jul 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Great signing! Now Mayo or Lee (or Barbossa?) Go Suns Go!

  • 25 Tony // Jul 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    @Steve,

    if you can’t appreciate Scola’s game, then you haven’t seen him play enough. He’s a 15ppg and approximately 7rbg player. Furthermore, he’s a tough-minded and smart player. He will definitely help this team, especially being a veteran player, he can help provide a stability to an otherwise very young team.

    With that being said, if Scola’s presence is a prelude to letting Lopez go, then I’m against the move. Scola is not going to get any better, whereas Lopez is still young enough to really develop his game.

    @JZ,

    the Suns FO wanted Nash out. They didn’t even have the decency to offer him a contract. So many people are calling Nash disloyal, but what about the FO for not at least offering him a decent extension? It’s amazing to me how quickly people have forgotten how much Nash and Hill have done for the Suns.

  • 26 Andy // Jul 15, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I mentioned a few threads back that I was worried that we were intent on recreating the last few years of the Rockets. This definitely doesn’t help my fears. Aside from the obvious parallels in repeated players, the roster constructions are starting to look very similar. And given that deals at the presumed numbers for Lopez and mayo will leave us capped out this year and only a few million under the next, what we see, at this point, is pretty much what we’re likely to be getting.

    Just for fun, I took last year’s Rockets roster and compared it to next year’s presumed Suns roster. I made a few changes, for symmetry’s sake. I am leaving Marshall out, because we don’t have data for him. If you’rof the opinione

  • 27 Scott // Jul 15, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I’ve been on record here for some time as someone liking Scola’s game. I liked him before he entered the NBA. He’s a high IQ / low athleticism hustle guy, a lot like Dudley. As old folks might say, “He’s got grit.” He’s getting up in years, and he plays overseas during the summer, but since he plays on the ground he’s probably still in good shape.

    I also like that the Suns got him at a discount. Maybe less than half price. That helps.

    As for Lopez, keep in mind that the Suns could sign him and use him for the first half of the season while Frye recovers. If Frye returns and seems healthy, then Lopez could potentially be dealt to Portland (or wherever) for a 1st round pick (or whatever) before the trade deadline.

    Of course, it could also be that with a real PG Robin will play a lot better and we won’t want to let him go. We’ll see.

    As for Childress, I hate to see him get the amnesty. Not that I thought he was a good player selection for the Suns. He didn’t fit the system, and my first response to the signing was “What?!?”

    I object to him getting the amnesty only because the Suns had to pay a lot of money for a player they never used, and since he couldn’t be traded either, they ended up paying him like $20m just to make him go away. That’s poor policy.

    Sarver’s not cheap. People who say that have it wrong. But I hope the Suns exercise a more deliberate and disciplined monetary policy, because I hate to see such waste.

    With any luck, someone will pick Childress up for like $3m a year. If he plays well for them, they got a decent deal, but if you see that, keep in mind whatever they’re paying him is subtracted from the amount the Suns have to pay, so it helps reduce operating costs for the Suns.

    One last point … I don’t like the idea of overpaying Mayo. If he’s asking for $8m, I don’t want to pay that much. Pick up Zoran Dragic instead, and run the first brother combo since the Van Arsdales.

    Martell Webster has cleared waivers. If the Suns training staff thinks they can fix him up so he can play, in theory he’d do well, and shouldn’t cost much. He was an excellent player before his injury.

    James Johnson is another player who could end up either dangling in trade, or cut next year. He could be a cheap replacement for Beasley, if the Suns deal Beasley away.

    Last comment: don’t be surprised if the Suns find a way to deal away Warrick. From what I saw last year, the Suns believe they have absolutely no use for him.

  • 28 Andy // Jul 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Sorry for the early post, still on the road. Anyway, no Marshall for Phoenix. To make the numbers match I combined Camby and Delambert into one Houston center. Houston’s lineup features Delambamby (ws/48 last year of .158), Lowry (.157), Dragic (.139), Martin (.125), Budinger (.111), Parsons (.09), Lee (.087), Scola (.08), Patterson (.052), and Hill (.118). For the projected Suns, I used all last year’s ws/48, except Beasley, where I used the year before because I know a lot of people think last year was flukily bad for him. Gortat (.172), Dudley (.121), Dragic (.139), Frye (.106), Lopez (.115), Beasley (.035), Mayo (.094), Scola (.08), Morris (.059), and Hak (.05). The Suns have a better best player, Houston’s number two is quite a bit better, and Houston might have an edge on depth, but otherwise, eerily similar. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

  • 29 7SecondsOrLess // Jul 15, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Just wanted to mention this, but Chad Ford of ESPN gave the Suns an offseason grade of a C-. That’s pretty darn bad, but you could say it IS just one opinion. This signing though just re-emphasizes how our FO is just trying to land anyone and everyone, not necessarily quality players. You guys are overhyping this team. Besides Goran and maybe Beasley, who else on this team can run fast enough to flow with the run-n-gun offense? NOBODY. I hope the FO is accumulating Scola to package him with Frye+Warrick and trade for a better PF.

  • 30 Andy // Jul 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    At least according to Hollinger’s Twitter account, Scola can’t be traded “all year.” Something to do with amnesty rules., I guess.

  • 31 Fan in Chi Town // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    7secondsorless – who says the suns want to run and gun anymore? I don’t think they have the roster for it and I don’t think they should. That’s one reason I don’t think they should keep gentry. I think they should absolutely rid themselves of the SSOL era. I’m ok with giving gentry a trial season with this squad but, and I really hope I’m wrong, I just honestly don’t see him doing well without nash.

  • 32 Rich // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    The Suns are once again shooting for mediocrity. Is Scola good?…Yes. Is he and potentially Mayo going to turn the Suns into contenders at all?…No. In the NBA a good GM is going to do one of two things: build a team to contend or invest in high potential young players and high draft picks so that they can later build a team to contend. Sarver has done neither.

  • 33 bk // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Technically, I don’t see the need of amnesty Josh Childress until Mayo or other SG commits to sign. There should around $10M space for Scola and Lopez now. That’s enough without amnesty. Childress has 3 years left in his contract, if signing of SG fails we can experiment him again in this new twisted suns without doing an amnesty.

  • 34 Greg // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    josh childress is horrible. and thats probably not enough money, after Asik got 25 mil for 3, no way Lopez gets signed for 4 a year, 7 foot centers are expensive, no matter what their production is.

  • 35 Greg // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    @ 7 seconds or less, they havent ran 7 seconds or less in about 5 or 6 seasons

  • 36 Greg // Jul 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    they barley ran last 2 years under Gentry, that’s not his coaching style at all, hes a good coach and the players love him

  • 37 Jacob // Jul 15, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    I like Gentry.. remember what he did in 2010

  • 38 Vince // Jul 15, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I sense this Suns team is going to be like the 2010-2011 season post-Amar’e. They are signing multiple players to MLE money type deals. The Scola signing helps but not much.

    I am still skeptical until they win games consistently, but my expectation going into the season for this team will be like the previous few seasons, not contending and not getting high lottery picks.

  • 39 shazam // Jul 15, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    ahhhhhhh a very well written and infomative article…thank you ryan

  • 40 HankS // Jul 15, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    What’s there to dislike about Scola? He’s a tough big, he’s a veteran presence on a young team, and he doesn’t cost all that much. The fact that he’s played with Dragic is a bonus.

    The Suns aren’t going to the NBA Finals with this team, for sure, but one has to respect their will to stay competitive. The world doesn’t seem to have ended with Nash’s departure.

  • 41 Die Hard Suns Fan // Jul 15, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    ENOUGH – tired of hearing everyone say the suns will not be good and they made bad decisions. scola was a steal for sure. less then half price for him, all day we want that for sure. The Dragon is gonna have a smashing year, were not gonna be a repeat of the rockets last year. Beasley needs a real chance and Phoenix is giving it to him. he might be the biggest surprise to all of you out there. Chilly needed to get out of here with his game, he just dont fit the suns. and yes if we get Mayo Phoenix is going to give him the reigns and let him be an All Star that memphis is hiding. we will be way better then last year for sure, marshall is going to be an amazing back up. morris is looking to be twice the player he was last year. dudley is dudley which is studley. we need to trade warrick for a 2nd round pick. Gortat is great. we are going to be very young and so much talent just waiting to break out. WE NEED MAYO and we will be #4 seed , We will be better then the mavs or the clippers which will be #6 and #5 ,

    goran , beasley , mayo , scola that is some great additions this season

  • 42 Die Hard Suns Fan // Jul 15, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    WASTED MINUTES LAST SEASON –

    CHILLY 14.4 PER GAME
    WARRICK 14.4 PER GAME
    PRICE 11.5 PER GAME
    TELFAIR 14.9 PER GAME

    THATS 55 MINS THAT WE GAVE AWAY TO GARBAGE, NOW WE CAN GIVE THOSE TO MARSHALL SCOLA BEASLEY MAYO

    THAT ALONE IS GONNA MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE FOR HAVING MORE TALENT ON THE TEAM FOR SURE !!!

  • 43 Bill_Thomas // Jul 16, 2012 at 12:20 am

    @ Die Hard Suns Fan: Couldn’t agree with you more on your Post 41; well-said, to the point, right on point and covered the waterfront. Implicitly, we have to project into the future what this group can do together and that’s why I agree with most of these “glass-half-full posts. Nash was really doing amazing work last year to wring production out of that group which is clearly inferior to this new group. Look at the fall off on offense from Frye and Hill last year from the prior year, as an example.

    Partially agree with your post 42; Warrick showed some flashes very early on and in a few ate games where he was really pressed into service. In the middle of the year he looked completely lost at times.

    Telfair showed fine at year-end tho’ only as a score-first PG on some hot-shooting nights, and knocking down an extremely timely three-pointer at times when the remainder of his game stats were nothing special. Also can stay with the super-quick guys such as Paul, Parker, Westbrook, Collison and Lawson. Maybe a viable 3rd PG (and as injury insurance) and I believe his salary is guaranteed this year anyhow. I am kind of a fan of his on a personal level, but unfortunately it looks like he doesn’t have the original potential many thought.

  • 44 sturmtank // Jul 16, 2012 at 6:58 am

    @die hard suns fan
    warrick, j-chill and price only played a bit more than half of the games (34, 35,36) so your math is wrong. just because they played 14min per does not mean that this amont of playing time gets free now!

  • 45 7SecondsOrLess // Jul 16, 2012 at 8:50 am

    But you have to admit, the SSOL era had the most success for the Suns. It’s worth getting back to.

  • 46 B. Cray Z. // Jul 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Luis is very good & I think this bid we won improves our team greatly from a team that if its bid lost to someone else could have aspired to 16 wins (more or less) to a team that could achieve maybe about 25 wins (which means only 55-60 lost games instead of 65-70 games lost). This will lift us from being a laughing stock to just being a very bad team.

    With Nash & Hill gone, it’s going to be ugly. With the money we ended up not paying Eric Gordon ($14 mil.), We could have kept them both & won twice as many games & competed for a championship & still have ($4 mil.) left over for someone like The Brazilian Blur.

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