Notes: Caron Butler trade is official, Suns ink Alex Len

In the dead of August, the Phoenix Suns are still making roster shuffles. This sure isn’t their last before the 2013-14 season tips off.

The trade sending Caron Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks for Slava Kravtsov and Ish Smith went official on Thursday, and general manager Ryan McDonough’s statement in the team’s press release alluded to more changes upcoming.

“We would like to thank Caron for his professionalism and wish him the best with the Milwaukee Bucks,” McDonough said. “This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe. It also provides us with two young players in our efforts to build a team capable of sustainable success.”

Critics could point toward the Butler trade as a bad one for a Phoenix team that needed some sort of leadership, but that role arguably lies squarely on the shoulders of first-year coach Jeff Hornacek. And as Grantland’s Zach Lowe points out, it’s simply a sign of the times. The Suns got the best deal they could for a fading ex-All-Star.

Even in rebuilding mode, Phoenix would take on a salary savings of more than $5.5 million dollars this season — Smith and Kravtsov are making $1.5 million and $951,463, respectively — if only to save that money for a Michael Beasley waiving, which could perhaps go down next week. The Suns will pay Beasley another $6 million this season if they hold off on waiving him until Sept. 1 but then could pay the forward the remaining $3 million guaranteed in thin amounts over the next several seasons.

But what is to make of the overweight roster? At this point, it seems like the Suns have a plan.

The roster sits at 17 players after the trade, and that’s even when last year’s third-string point guard, Diante Garrett, announced he’d be playing for a roster spot in Oklahoma City next season.


Garrett departure still means there are six point guards on the Suns. Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Kendall Marshall should each see playing time, and that might be asking for too much with Archie Goodwin also a possibility. Malcolm Lee, taken in the trade for the Suns to nab Goodwin 29th instead of 30th, is coming off a knee injury but expected to join the team. And now add third-year guard Smith to the equation — he’s played 121 games for five teams in six NBA stints.

By the numbers, having the six point guards simply means there will be more playing time for the younger players elsewhere.

Suns finally ink Alex Len to paper

The signing of fifth overall pick Alex Len bumped the Suns’ official roster up to 17 players on Thursday.

Earlier this week, ESPN Los Angeles spoke to general managers and NBA scouts anonymously about the Pacific Division, including the Suns, and some had better things to say about McDonough draft pick than did those outside the league.

“Alex Len, finding a starting center is a challenging thing to do, and I think Alex has that potential.”

Phoenix’s silence in respect to Beasley likely means they’re only waiting to waive the troubled forward. After that, the Suns trading away more players away than they will receive before the season would shore up the roster limit problem. And that’s assuming Channing Frye will be able to return after missing last season with a heart condition.

  • Pingback: Notes: Caron Butler trade official, Suns ink Alex Len - Valley of the Suns » AsterNews!

  • smh

    Anybody else upset that Phoenix didn’t receive any draft picks for this? Butler is good enough to have merited a couple 2nd rounders at least.

  • Azbballfan

    No not really

    The Suns wanted to get Beasley out of here so they had to make this trade happen. and happen quick

    that gives you no leverage as a GM

    The Suns can always get draft picks in what is surely going to be another future trade down the road somewhere

    everyone that i thought would have been moved already has except for Gortat, so whenever that trade goes down, probably the deadline, we can always get a pick there

    we still have 3 possible 1st rounders in this draft, plus the Lakers pick in 2015 and their 2nd rounder as well

    I really only see the Suns using their own pick and whatever is the highest pick they get between Indiana and Minny

    trying to devleop 5 rookies in two years would be difficult, especially since we already got PG. SG, and C nailed down

    the two picks are likely gonna be end up used on a PF and SF

    in that scenario we dont need another player we have to pay when we can trade say Indianas pick for a future pick or 2nd rounder

  • Scott

    @smh -

    I think this shows that the best deal McD could get for Butler was with the Bucks, and even the Bucks didn’t want to take on Butler’s $8m salary. They did so reluctantly, because he’s a local star and they had a bit of need due to injury to Delfino, but in return they made the Suns take two players they were going to waive, thereby saving themselves about $2m. So they were able to whittle the cost of Butler down to $6m.

    The trade was not all in favor of the Bucks, though. The Suns did successfully save money on Butler’s contract a year ahead of schedule, at a cost of $2m. Which is good, because now maybe they can make another move and keep the rebuild rolling.

    What I’m most curious about at this point – at least in relation to this trade – is if there is any future for Kravtsov with the Suns. I know people on the forums are referring to him as a “stiff,” but if by that they mean someone who is immobile, Kravtsov doesn’t seem to be that kind of guy.

    If Kravtsov can play in the pick and roll at power forward, and if he seems to have a decent IQ, he could give the Suns the first rim-attacking PF they’ve had since Amare.

    Sure, Kravtsov apparently is a bad shooter. But so was Amare in his first year. Kravtsov is older than Amare, but is apparently a late bloomer as far as basketball goes. It could be that with the aid of the shooting and big man coaches on the team, Kravtsov could do a better job.

    From what little I was able to glean about Kravtsov’s year in Detroit, though he showed potential they didn’t want to play him due to depth issues. There was even the suggestion in the media that they’d pick him back up if the Bucks cut him.

  • KidBuxton

    It’s a great deal for the suns. Who would have thought anyone would take Butlers contract!!! Sure nothing much in return but the money saved is immense. The wheeler-dealer that McD is I think he’ll try and package off Beas, can’t believe he’ll just release him. I’m still not FOR giving up on Beas, call me naive but I don’t see the need to when this year is a tanking year. So unless they can trade him I don’t think they should release him at all.

  • hawki

    @ KidBuxton
    The Suns Front Office does not want Beasley’s “evil” influence anywhere near their young players.

    With the Federal Govt. now saying they will not go after marijuana users in Colorado, I expect Beasley to sign with the Denver Nuggets.

  • Scott

    Thinking out loud …

    So, let’s say the Suns do waive Beasley around Sept. 1, and they pay him the larger sum up front, rather than stretching it out.

    And let’s say the Suns waive Lee and Smith, eventually.

    And let’s say Frye takes medical retirement (or not).

    In terms of the roster, by my count it leaves the Suns with 12 players, plus maybe Kravtsov, plus maybe Frye.

    The Suns would have open roster space: 1, 2, or 3 spots.

    If there’s no Frye – and at the moment I’m leaning toward his retirement since there’s been an absence of positive news – the Suns would have the following depth chart on a roster of 13:

    C: Gortat, Plumlee, Len
    PF: Markieff, Marcus, Kravtsov
    SF: Tucker, Green
    SG: Dragic, Goodwin, Brown
    PG: Bledsoe, Marshall

    That may not be the most talented lineup, but positionally speaking it looks like all the spots are solidly covered, with as many as 8 players able to play more than one position.

    I would say there’s no pressing need to take on additional players for the season, except those young players that might be acquired by trade involving either Gortat or Frye (if he takes medical retirement).

  • DBreezy

    Well bright side is reporting that according to Channing’s Instagram account, he’s coming back. I don’t expect much from him this season and he is a mildcat :) but if it’s true I’m really glad that the story will unfold on his terms and he gets to get on the court again.

  • Scott

    ^^ Yeah, a quote from McD reported this morning is that they’ve heard nothing but good news about Frye.

    So I guess he’ll be with the team, and maybe Gortat will indeed play out the year. Who knows?

    Lee, Smith, and Kravtsov are also expected to be with the team for training camp, I believe.

    So maybe we’ll see a battle between those 3 for the last two spots on the roster?

  • Red

    It’s a poor trade without a 1st round pick. The only hope is that Kravtsov will turn into a player who would be as good as Caron Butler.

    Ish Smith should be waived.

  • john

    Poor trade by what measure? They cleared enough cap space to waive Beasley while dumping a player who wouldn’t have contributed to any meaningful success with the team…

    That doesn’t sound like a bad trade to me.

  • Brenton

    People are crazy if they think 33 yr old Caron Butler’s expiring contract was fetching a 1st round pick.

    Imagine the Suns are a decent team, looking to pick up an impact player and you read that they just traded their first round pick in the best draft class in a generation for a 33 yr old spot up shooter on an expiring deal.

    Would you think that was a good idea? Isaih Thomas isnt running the Knicks anymore, so that kind of deal isnt happening.

  • Jerry S.

    Dumb move after dumb move, then some more dumb moves to cover up the dumb moves.

    Since 2003.

    We can bury our heads in the court, and pretend they dont happen but as long as Babs and Sarvs are a part, it will continue.

    And the Bledsoe deal is waaaaay overated. Like hes KJ? What a joke

  • john

    @Jerry S.

    You are why Phoenix fans have such a terrible rep with the rest of the country. No loyalty. No knowledge. All whine.

  • Not a Jerry Hater Here

    @Jerry S: I hear your frustration hang in there its getting better my estimation is 3 years until the Suns win a championship Lol although i may or may not be way off the fun comes in staying tuned haha

  • Scott

    Jerry must be thinking of that Keon Clark trade.

  • azbballfan

    In the last 10 years we have been to 3 wcf series

    Sarver wasn’t around until 2004 and baby not until 2010

    Plus the new gm has corrected most of the problems that blanks created

    What team are you watching jerry s ?

  • Jerry S.

    @Azbballfan, im talking about Champion$hip$ & The Team has come close but havent capitalized.

    Now, maybe you`re content with that, but im not. Im not your average everday casual fan.

  • Pingback: Caron Butler trade gives Suns more options