Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver told The Arizona Republic’s Bob Young that the team will remain patient with LeBron James. And considering the lack of noise surrounding the Suns, that might be very true.
There have been a number of rumblings as the Suns reach out to agents of other players, but nothing substantial. There is no public knowledge of Phoenix ending up on the doorstep of any other big-name free agents, which might be a sign Sarver and crew aren’t joking about making James a priority.
“We are in a good position,” Sarver told Young. “We have a lot to offer, too, with the depth of our roster compared to some of the other teams. We think we have a favorable opportunity, but obviously he’ll make his decision when he wants to make it.
“He’s a smart player and a smart businessman. He’ll look at the facts and make a decision.”
This doesn’t appear to be Phoenix making a highlight reel of James in a Suns uniform or playing to his interests.
Really, his only interest has always been the business of basketball, and the King acting as a more mature free agent is reactively getting a business-like approach from the Suns, who are banking on his smarts selling him enough to meet with them.
As other teams go full-bore into chasing Carmelo Anthony, the Miami Heat have been hoping to put together a few pieces enough to convince its Big Three to return. The catch there is that James wants a max contract, meaning it’s on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to help out the team’s pay roll. They will do that. According to ESPN, Miami is telling other free agents it’s working with $12 million in extra spending.
That still might not be enough to make any significant changes.
The Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets could indirectly help the Suns out in their chase for James. Kyle Lowry, a target for those three squads as well as the Heat, is mulling an offer with the Raptors, and he alone might be offered close to that full $12 million in annually salary. Marcin Gortat, who was briefly mentioned as a Miami target, signed a contract to remain in Washington — more on that later.
Essentially, it feels as if the Suns will be waiting on the Heat to either secure James or not. Phoenix certainly has made it known they’d like to speak with James both through the media and also through his agent, Rich Paul, who is likely deep into discussions with the team about Eric Bledsoe’s future.
Suns fans might not want to hear their team is at the mercy of the Heat and James, all while falling behind in the chase for other free agents.
Sarver has made it clear he wants to spend, but this shows the Suns aren’t going to panic and aren’t going to put their eggs in a Plan B basket without doing everything to sit down with the King. Even if James sticks with the Heat, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reports that he might only accept a one- or two-year deal. The Suns could sit tight with a similar roster to last year and could maybe make another hard run at James next season — you never know.
Sitting tight could also help James zero in on them as an option. He’s been completely off the radar since free agency began, and Windhorst reports interested teams are moving on with more realistic options.
24 hours into free agency, LeBron James has been quiet. Teams hoping to engage have been mostly unable. No doors closed but teams moving on
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 2, 2014
Not the Suns. They apparently want to see this through longer — I know it’s only 24 hours in — than most.
Re-signing Frye looks better after 24 hours
It’s 24 hours into the free agency period and the Suns look in line to re-sign forward Channing Frye. The Golden State Warriors added point guard depth with the signing of ex-Net Shaun Livingston, and that ate up their mid-level exception and hard-capped them (Read more about it at Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ).
The Warriors couldn’t sign Frye as a free agent to anything but a veteran’s minimum. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports Phoenix is working on a contract with Frye, who based on his Instagram account appears to be enjoying a European vacation and letting this sort itself out.
Considering the Warriors met with Cavs stretch big Spencer Hawes, perhaps Frye wasn’t as much on their radar as we assumed. That the Dubs can’t sign Hawes, either, means Cleveland could be more likely to re-sign their big man — they’ve talked about it — which would take the two mentioned suitors of the Suns’ free agent completely out of the picture.
Gortat gets paid
In October of 2013, the Suns shipped a few extra bodies, a point guard picked in the lottery and a player that would be signing a five-year, $60 million contract the next summer to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Emeka Okafor’s bloated contract and a first round draft pick that last week became Tyler Ennis. Maybe the biggest part of that move was the right for Phoenix to start Miles Plumlee at center.
The Suns don’t regret any of the above.
Gortat would be the man who signed himself into a massive contract on Tuesday. He’ll return to the Wizards on a deal that’s already received a bit of scrutiny from cap-master Mark Deeks, the owner of ShamSports.com and writer for SB Nation. And about that first round draft pick: Kendall Marshall tweeted about Gortat’s new contract. Take this for what it’s worth.
— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) July 2, 2014