NBA free agency: Suns make blips in rumor mill thus far

As expected, the Phoenix Suns haven’t made a huge push to sign any big-name free agents.

In fact, they’ve hardly been mentioned in any rumors with substance. Perhaps the biggest possibility floated from a legitimate source — and a loose rumor at that — came from CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, who reported the Suns expressed interest in Milwaukee Bucks guard Monta Ellis after the negotiation period began.

The possibility of the Suns going hard after Ellis seems far-fetched considering his expectation of a max contract despite his limitations from both a court-impact perspective as well as a marketing one. As we’ve discussed and expected, the Suns don’t appear willing to doll out a max contract with anyone in this free agent class.

But in the name of giving the fans a somewhat competitive roster next season, Phoenix will surely look for some perimeter help after drafting Alex Len and 18-year-old rookie Archie Goodwin. Len is a project who could sit behind Marcin Gortat at center, and Goodwin could potentially need more time before being thrown to the wolves.

Shannon Brown and Jared Dudley will be back, but it’s unclear if Phoenix will look to move either or both to better situations.

Two names who have been connected to the Suns are New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Chase Budinger.

New York Daily News Knicks beat writer Al Iannazzone reported the Suns had interest in Smith before the free agency period, and the New York Post later reported the same. It wouldn’t make much sense for the Suns to sign Smith, who likely wouldn’t want to join a lottery-bound squad unless the price was right. And it’s unlikely Ryan McDonough and company would be willing to overpay for a player who was drawing more attention during the playoffs for being called out by Rihanna than making an impact on the court.

Budinger could be a better value. The former Arizona swingman is a fine catch-and-shoot jumper, especially from midrange, but shoots just 32 percent from three-point range. The Racine Journal-Times’ Gery Woelfel reported Phoenix is one of several teams to have been “courting” Budinger.

The most ridiculous rumor so far came from a Huffington Post sports columnist, who began a Marcin Gortat trade rumor involving the Spurs. A trade was supposedly in the “seriously negotiating” phase before the Spurs suddenly “cooled” on the idea because San Antonio remembered that Greg Oden existed.

That rumor is pretty much a solid summary of what the Suns will do this offseason. Even if they make noise, it’s possible nothing ever comes of it.

Unless there’s a trade package thrown Phoenix’s way that allows them to clear cap space, gives them future picks and helps them acquire a young talent — a combination of two of those three things would be appealing — the Suns aren’t doing anything drastic.

Even if Phoenix goes with a perimeter scorer, it could be a few days before the first dominoes start falling. Tyreke Evans has already set the bar pretty darn high by being offered a four-year, $44 million contract by the New Orleans Pelicans. So until his situation is resolved, the lower-tier swingman are in limbo.

And when they’re finally out of it, the Suns might be smart to take their fingers off the triggers.

  • WC

    People should understand the fact that Phoenix is doing so little will ultimately be good for them. Since we’re not going to get a big name (Howard, J. Smith, possibly Iggy), then at that point if we sign anyone we’re only pushing ourselves further away from getting one of the top tier players in the 2014 draft, most importantly Andrew Wiggins, assuming he leaves Kansas after his freshman year, which he should. I understand people don’t like teams tanking, but signing 2-year deals with the likes of Chase Budinger or JR Smith is ultimately pointless in the long run if the main priority is young talent to build around. Furthermore, simply put, it’s a waste of valuable cap space for a star-studded 2014 free agency period as well. The Suns need to be dismal for one more year until they get their franchise centerpiece in either Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart or Julius Randle. Hopefully the lottery doesn’t screw us out of reach of any of those guys; we’re banking on getting any one of them this entire terrible year.

  • Jeremy

    Their is virtually zero players the Suns should be chasing in FA, just let the current roster develop, tinker, and do like you said. Otherwise continue to tank for a good 2014 pick.

  • Ty-Sun

    Yeah, I can’t see any reason for the Suns to try make any sort of big free agent signing this year. And with the limited trade chips the Suns have, I doubt they will be able to pull off any trades that wow anyone either.

    Hopefully, McD can find a few rough gems to bring onto the roster and Horny can figure out how to wring a little more effort/talent/etc out of some of the younger players already on the squad.

  • Aaron

    I said the following to a suns fan who went hard on the front office for not picking up Josh Smith and then went on to say front office will never make the right decision. Enjoy my rant haha!!!!
    yes the Suns made a bad decision hiring Lance Blanks but they fixed that. The Suns are now heading towards the right direction. First of all every decision that Lance Blanks was a bad one. He didnt even want to bring Goran in which was a good decision by Lon and Sarver. Lance was the one who picked up beasley and made that final decision. Lance picked Lesley hunter as the new head coach last year. Guess what Lance and Lindsey are gone. we got a new gm. How can you judge the new gm on the one decision that he made to draft Alex len when we dont even know how he will do yet. So you cant judge him on that YET. You are going to have to realized that just signing allstars doesnt win a championship. you have to have supporting cast members around the allstars and that is what the front office is trying to do. After next years draft we will be heavy hitters in trying to sign major players but where the talent stands on our team right now that wont do us any good. We will see if Len can be an All Star time will tell. Dont expect him to be great next year. He needs to develop. he is raw talent which is a open book ready to learn. McDonough has been following him before he even played college ball. he sees something inside of Alex len. He saw potential in Rondo whne most teams dropped him down in their draft boards. He has a eye for talent. My point is if you want to win a championship and not just barely make it to playoff games it takes patience and the right moves. Lets see what happens. Go Suns (side note Saver has said that he realizes that he has made alot of mistakes- signing childress warrick, and turkogulo

  • Ty-Sun

    Yeah, even if the Suns made a run at any of the top FAs their only hope at signing one would be to grossly overpay them… and there’s always the possibility that a better team would be willing to overpay them too and that would be it for the Suns.

    The Suns could probably easily get Monta Ellis IF they were willing to make him a deal to pay him the absolute maximum possible but I’m sure that almost everyone here would agree that would be a horrible mistake.

    The NBA has changed since the new CBA and most teams realize that they have to be more frugal to avoid the very harsh luxury taxes that now exist. That is going to keep teams from overpaying players, especially overpaying on multi-year contracts. I expect that we’re going to see more and more NBA players getting 1-2 year contracts and only the star/near-star level players getting 4-5 year contracts eventually.

  • Foreveris2long

    I have nop problem watching the Suns lose game after game next season as long as Len and Goodwin get quality minutes. I see that Spurs and Splitter are close to a deal so there will be no trading of Splitter to the Suns for Gortat. If both of our rookies develop NBA quality games next season, maybe next year we can be a player in the free agent game.

  • Scott

    Yup, I share the same sentiment as most above. The Suns should not sign any free agents, and only try to gather young talent through trades of Suns veterans.

    If the Suns get enough young talents on the team, it will be interesting to watch even if they don’t win a lot.

  • Daniel

    Suns lose Jared Dudley and get Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler according Adrian Wajnarowski from Yahoo!

  • Foreveris2long

    Suns get Bledsoe and Butler (nice throw in) for Dudley and a 2nd round pick. That is an incredible acquisition for one of the most promising young point guards in the league. McD is balling IMO. I cannot believe it.

  • jzarzycki

    Listen, I love the Bledsoe trade as much as everyone (especially since we also got Butler so, really, we broke even on backup SFs and traded a 2nd rounder for one of the better young PGs out there) but isn’t out back court going to be freakishly small now? I mean, Bledsoe is not a real PG, he’s a very undersized 2. I’m a fan of the trade, but Hornacek has his work cut out.