Apr 2, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye (8) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) during the third quarter at US Airways Center. The Clippers won 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

NBA rumors: Channing Frye reportedly leaning toward free agency

ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye is leaning toward an exploration of free agency. Frye has a $6.8 million player option for the 2014-15 season with the ability to opt out, and he has until Monday to make a final decision. It looks like he’s going to test the market.

Frye averaged 11.1 points per game and hit 37 percent shooting from three-point range this past season. Coming off a serious heart ailment that kept him from all of the 2012-13 year, Frye  was one of the most surprising pieces of the Suns’ successful year in 2013-14. He started from opening night onward and became a member of one of the best pick-and-roll duos along with point guard Goran Dragic.

While Frye may not provide the defense or rebounding that many would expect in a power forward, he did give Phoenix a deadly pick-and-pop threat and overall ranked No. 10 in ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus ranking. Former Suns general manager Steve Kerr is reportedly coveting Frye if his new team, the Golden State Warriors, don’t pull of a trade for a player like Kevin Love. Kerr’s former assistant in the front office, David Griffin, covets Frye on the Cavaliers, especially considering the squad saw improvements with stretch center Spencer Hawes and might lose him in free agency.

Phoenix probably still values the big man to a great degree. Frye proved to have a greater impact than most gave him credit for. Despite his rebounding and defensive deficiencies, he helped the Suns on the offensive end and hid his deficiencies. Certainly, Phoenix will have to consider Frye’s impact right now and then relate it to how the free agencies of Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker develop when considering their financial situtation. They’ll also see if Markieff Morris has made significant strides enough to warrant giving the 31-year-old Frye a long-term extension.

If Frye leaves Phoenix, the Suns have the ability to fill a hole left by Frye with the Morris twins. Nonetheless, it would be a significant loss to spreading the court and milking the pick-and-roll game.

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