Apr 12, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye (8) during the game against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 101-98. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Channing Frye agrees to sign with Magic on $32 million deal


Phoenix Suns free agent Channing Frye has agreed to sign a four-year, $32 million contract with the Orlando Magic after hearing a pitch from general manager Rob Hennigan and coach Jacque Vaughn. The news first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski comes as a major surprise, as Frye was being courted by the Suns as well as other playoff contenders.

Frye was assumed to have interest in joining the Golden State Warriors and former Suns leadership on a playoff-ready team. He also had said that he wanted to remain with Phoenix, his hometown team that helped him to average 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in 2013-14 after sitting out the prior year with an enlarged heart.

That Frye will leave Phoenix is a little more shocking considering Golden State became out of the running after it signed guard Shaun Livingston. The Cavaliers, who also were interested in acquiring Frye, could very well be locked up in the LeBron James chase like the Suns — though Phoenix had the financial room to keep Frye and sign James.

It didn’t come as a surprise that Frye would opt out of his final year with the Suns. The stretch power forward turned down $6.8 million to become an unrestricted free agent, and that has seemingly paid off quite well with Frye ready to make an average of $8 million per season to join a young Magic roster that also includes his cousin, Tobias Harris. In Orlando, it appears Frye will be looked upon as a leader for a frontcourt that includes talented center Nikola Vucevic and young combo forwards Harris, Mo Harkless and rookie Aaron Gordon, who like Frye spent his college days at Arizona.

Now the issue is in where Phoenix turns.

The other top stretch big man on the market, Spencer Hawes, agreed upon a four-year, $23 million deal with the Los Angeles Clippers this weekend. Charlotte forward Josh McRoberts is ready to become part of the Heat’s pitch to convince James to return to South Beach, and Patrick Patterson has decided to re-sign with the Toronto Raptors.

The list of potential stretch 4s the Suns could add might be irrelevant at this juncture unless we’re including Chris Bosh or LeBron James in this discussion.

It will be most interesting to see how Phoenix can adapt. It’s possible coach Jeff Hornacek toys with the Alex Len and Miles Plumlee duo in the Summer League that tips on Saturday. Additionally, Frye’s decision will open up more time for the Morris twins to play together; Marcus especially could earn more minutes by adding some muscle and backing up his brother if Markieff indeed takes Frye’s starting minutes. And that domino effect could potentially mean rookie T.J. Warren finds more minutes, regardless of whether small forward P.J. Tucker re-signs with Phoenix.

  • Freddy

    Time to call up Byron Mullens lol

  • Adam

    That’s almost twice as much as I expected him to get….so good for him. I wouldn’t have wanted the suns to pay him 8 mil a year….

  • 4everis2long

    It does not bother me that he leaves but to go to a team that is probably at least two years away from being playoff relevant and he is on the downside of his career makes one question his commitment to winning. The salary is great but I think most guys on the downside of their careers want a chance at a ring or at least the opportunity to chase one. I always thought he was soft so this solidifies my thoughts.

    • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

      I agree completely. Frye as all talk as he followed the money all the way to Florida to play for a rebuilding team heading to the lottery for several seasons. Good riddance!

    • Adam

      You can’t blame him for the salary that he got there. It was probably 10-15 million more than he was going to make somewhere else. He has never been a big money, max type player…and he’s not an endorsement guy. After seeing how close he was to possibly never playing again…and realizing this could be the last contract he ever signs….its hard to turn down 12+ million bucks in a state with no income tax, and get to live in Orlando.

      He is a good guy by all accounts. I don’t begrudge him for making a purely cash based decision….and I also don’t think it will hurt the Suns to lose him. We have even more cap space now…so its win-win.

      • 4everis2long

        When a player misses the playoffs with the Suns I think 4 of the past 5 years and he goes to a team who may not make the playoffs during the balance of his career, one has to wonder if winning is a priority. Then you see certain players in the league who place a premium on winning instead of salaries like Spurs players, and even LBJ who took less to be given the chance to win it all in Miami, makes one question what is important to Frye. If a big payday is the most important thing to him, good for him.

  • Justin Taft

    I don’t care what he gets. I’m glad to see him go. Been wanting him gone for several seasons now. Glad he was able to return from his illness. But 8 mill they for sure overpaid. See ya later frye. Your inconsistent play and no rebounding having ass is someone else’s problem now. And for an even pricier ticket. It’s looking brighter and brighter in phoenix.

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Rockets are close to sending Jeremy Lin to Philly or Milwaukee and Chris Bosh is considering accepting a max offer from the Rockets.

  • sunsfanatic24

    Long time reader, first time commenter with my two cents on where things stand.

    If things stay put from here and we re-sign Bledsoe and Tucker, that puts our roster at:

    PG- Bledsoe, Ennis/Goodwin
    SG- Dragic, Goodwin/Tucker
    SF-Green, Tucker/Warren
    PF-Morris Twins
    C- Plumlee/Len, Brown

    I think, if we’re not able to trade for KLove or acquire LeBron Lames, this is a great roster heading into next year. Young players can still gain valuable experience while still remaining competitive. Acquiring a piece like Monroe, Gasol, or Ariza would only delay the growth of these players in a feeble attempt to reach a low playoff seed. Parsons is an intriguing target, but that would basically be either telling Tucker that he’s an expendable commodity or preventing our two rookies from playing any significant minutes (with Tucker coming off the bench as a SG). And if we’re actually trying to go after Isiah Thomas or Marcus Thorton, as some reports have been mentioning, then the organization better be finalizing a trade for K.Love, because it makes no sense to have five guards that all need playing time, three of whom (in the case of Thomas) would be the “starting PG” on most teams.

    All in all, glad we haven’t made any stupid overpays like Orlando, Detroit, and Boston have done and I can be proud of this roster next year. Let’s go suns!

  • Meirsch.

    Similar feels to when Dudz left for the Clippers: thanks for the memories, but that’s about all, at this point.

  • WLX(AL)

    It looks like this opens up a roster spot for Alex Oriakhi. Am going to miss Frye for his versatility, but not his lack of defense/rebounding and streaky 3 point shooting. 8 mill/year? Seems like Orlando just overpaid big time and will be looking to rid themselves of his contract in the next 2 years. Frye will turn into an old Brad Miller soon…

  • Luka

    Frye wasn’t going to ever help the Suns win anything. I’ll always remember his horrible performances in the 2010 WCF against LA.

    Hopefully the Suns can get a real PF on the roster like Ed Davis.

    • 4everis2long

      You and me both Luka.

      • DBreezy

        The big questions with Davis or a Hill will be can they bring it 25-30 minutes a night and will what they do on the defensive end be enough to offset what the team loses on the other end with Channing? Usually the Suns are pitiful on D and top 5 on O so such a question often seems silly. But last season the Suns were 14th in defensive efficiency and 8th in offensive efficiency, so it seems fair to wonder. The thing about Channing is that defenses respect him. They did so even when he was having horrible performance like the WCF mentioned above. Even when he misses, it’s rare to see teams actually dare him to shoot. He gets those shots because of ball movement or because people couldn’t stop the screen roll plays of Nash, Dragic, Barbosa, or Bledsoe. Kieff just doesn’t command the same kind of attention from defenses. Frye isn’t Amar’e, but the Suns went through this when they tried to make defenses respect Hedo, R.Lo, or Warrick in the S/R the same way they did vs. Amar’e.

  • coachj

    I was chastised by some here suggesting that Frye would command more money. Guess I was right.

    I think if this was his market, tis better him be on the Magic’s cap for $8M per season then on ours. As I have felt, what he does may be a coveted skill that teams will overpay for, but I believe him not to be worth that. Maybe half that.

    Time for Kieff to step up.

  • aresworld

    It’s unfortunate to see him leave. Frye’s improve low-post defense, leadership and ability to stretch the floor will be missed by the suns players (maybe not for some of the fans). However, i feel like that the lack of action (free agency wise) by the Suns front office is one the reasons why Frye signed elsewhere. I’m pretty sure he would have accepted a 25mil/5yrs contract if he had been reassured properly.
    Now that the Heat have agreed to sign D. Granger & J. McRoberts, their attention will surely shift to superstars. Eric Bledsoe would be an upgrade at the PG for them and his close relationship with L. James might entice them to make a max and unmatchable offer.
    The Suns front office needs to get active; get in the Bosh and Hayward conversation ASAP. They need to realize that L. James is either re-signing with Heat or going back to Cleveland.

    • DBreezy

      The Heat aren’t getting Bledsoe. The Suns would match and wouldn’t even think twice about it as the Heat have nothing worthwhile on their roster to trade to the Suns. As for Lebron, while the smart money stays with him going back to the Heat, I don’t think anyone knows what he’s doing for sure. The media is doing a lot of guessing and today’s guess is the Cavs. McD doesn’t seem to have bailed out of the chase to move on to other targets and there’s likely a reason for that. I also find it interesting that neither Melo nor Bosh seem to have had any contact with the Suns front office even though it’s clear that one of them has a chance to be Lebron’s running mate in MIA, CLE or PHX. There’s likely more going on than we’re seeing. Rich Paul seems to be very good at playing this game.

      • aresworld

        The Heat has the cap space to offer a max deal to Bledsoe without worrying about a S&T. If that means that the Suns can’t extend Dragic next year and add a “superstar” then they won’t match it. I’m pretty sure they want to keep Bledsoe at no more than $65mil/5 yrs.
        My guess is that MIA is holding out a bit to sign major FA’s beside C. Bosh. I think Bosh camp knows that and that’s why he’s listening to HOU. The fact that MIA agreed to use part of their salary exceptions indicates that. I think the meeting between L. James and P. Riley will be the onset of things to come.

        • DBreezy

          I wasn’t getting at MIA needing to do a S/T to get Bledsoe because of cap space. I’m saying that for the Suns not to match an offer sheet, they’re going to have to be offered acceptable assets of which MIA has none. I believe that it’s likely at some point in the next season or two that the Suns will breakup the Dragic/Bledsoe backcourt, but it won’t be done without getting assets in return. This wouldn’t be a Joe Johnson or Harden situation where they were doing it because of the luxury tax as they wouldn’t be over the cap if they kept both. It would be because they feel that the team as constituted can’t move into contender status and they need to make moves to get themselves there. I can’t see the Suns agreeing not to match in exchange for nothing just because they don’t like the offer sheet #’s.

          I do agree that there’s more going on than meets the eye though. CLE and HOU are still scrambling for a reason and I think the Suns aren’t being quiet for no reason either. All could lose out on Lebron, Melo or Bosh, but I think Lebron has the power to quickly change things for Bosh or Melo. Going to the Lakers doesn’t look as appealing to Melo for example if he knows that Lebron and Bosh are going to the Suns. That would make the East wide open and make him comfortable going back to the NYK. You can come up with similar scenarios if Lebron and Bosh return to MIA, split with one going to CLE and one to HOU, etc. The things I do know are that Lebron isn’t afraid to leave and he holds considerable sway among players should he choose to use it.

        • MyMets

          The heat don’t have any cap space until they renounce their bird rights to to wade, Lebron, and Bosh. Right now the most the Heat can offer Bledsoe is a mid level exception. Until the Heat renounce the bird rights to the big 3, the 20 mil a year per player counts against their cap space even if they are not under contract.

  • KlausFlouride

    Time to bring back McDyess….errr…..I mean Amare.

  • DBreezy

    This impact of this news all depends on one’s expectations for the 2014-2015 Suns. While I’m not shedding a tear and won’t miss Frye, if one’s expectation was for the 2014-2015 Suns to make the postseason today’s news is a blow to that. If one simply expects to see a young competitive team improving nightly while collecting assets and managing $$$ well to be in position for a big move at some point, then today’s news is no big deal.

    After the draft I thought the Suns were in the top 11 out West along with (no particular order) SAS, HOU, LAC, OKC, DEN, DAL, MEM, NOP, POR, and GS. They’re still there today imo despite today’s news and there’s still more free agency and potential trades to go. I think this news also hints that if Lebron doesn’t come here, the Suns likely won’t match any outrageous offers for PJ Tucker. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him wooed away with an outsized offer in the next week or two. Also, I didn’t think it was likely that the Suns would extend Kieff this fall, and this has to make it tougher. He was probably already going to ask for too much (why not with RFA coming?) but now that he’s the likely starter that seems like a guarantee. It will be interesting to see how McD chooses to fill out the roster, especially if Lebron goes elsewhere.

    • 4everis2long

      DB, Even in Frye’s absence I think Suns make the playoffs in 2015. I am not sure who will be the starting power forward but my guess he will be an upgrade defensively and rebounding to Frye. I have never bought that 55-60 wins stuff so I believe the loss of Frye will be made up by likely free agent additions to the roster, a healthy Bledsoe and player development of Len and Goodwin.

      • DBreezy

        Why are you putting me in a corner Foreveris? :) It’s still summer so I tried to just leave it at the Suns being somewhere in the top 11. If you pressed me to make a call today on the playoffs in 2015, I’d say that they’d miss them despite being a strong team winning something in the neighborhood of 45 games again. When I look at the current playoff teams, I don’t see any that have gotten weaker. In most cases they’ve gotten stronger by varying degrees. I also see a healthy Denver as an issue. They’ve shown that they can make the playoffs pretty consistently when healthy and they added Afflalo, Harris, and possibly the big Nurkic kid.

        I don’t think it’s really worth talking about SAS, OKC, LAC, or HOU. So including the Suns, that leaves at least 6 teams for 4 spots. Then you always have to think about the wild cards. it’s always funny, but year in and out few fans see hope for lottery teams other than their own! Remember a few years back on the AZC board when myself and few others said that teams like the Grizzlies and Clips were coming and would probably be ahead of the Suns over the next few years back when they were both lottery squads? Several other posters thought that was ludicrous back then. Well the Suns may or may not be the victim, of the result but one or more of these current bottom feeders will likely surprise again, just like the Suns did last season. The trick is guessing which one(s) will make the jump. MIN has a lot of turmoil, but is certainly talented enough if Love ends up on the roster all year long. The Lakers won’t be great, but they won’t exactly suck either if Melo decides to join Kobe and possibly Gasol. The Kings have a ton of talent, just added Collison and could be trouble if they ever click. The Jazz are a constantly overlooked franchise that just keeps plugging away with the right guys in their system. They’re also a team that’s either been in the playoffs or in the 9th spot often over the last few years-it’s not like they’ve been toiling in the basement for years.

        Then we have New Orleans who has rising star Anthony Davis, a guy likely on his way to being a top 5 player in the league at some point. They got Asik to replace what they lost when they traded R.Lo to get Tyreke. They’ll get Andersen back along with Holiday. They’ve got talent and with the best individual player of the lottery teams not named Kevin Love, they’re my early guess for rising squad. That’s why I put them in the top 11 over the others, although I wouldn’t be floored to find out that teams like SAC or UTA make big leaps either. The west remains a beast, but the Suns are right there in it and free agency/trades/internal improvement are still up in the air. They also face the realistic possibility of losing two starters without a significant outside addition. I’m not really worried about whether they make the playoffs or not as I feel McD has a solid plan just waiting for opportunity to avail itself. Might be now, might be later.

        • 4everis2long

          You know I would never try and corner you DB. From my perspective this upcoming year is critical to the Suns free agency recruiting in 2015. the Suns badly need to prove they are a playoff team in this upcoming season. To the big time free agents being a playoff team is as important as having salary freedom. My money which might only be $5.00 says the Suns cannot afford to regress. I think they win 50 games through development, healthy Bled and the addition of at least one rotational free agent. They cannot win 45 and reasonably believe they can be a big player in 2015 free agency.

          • DBreezy

            I agree that a strong season would help in their free agent recruiting in 2015. I also think a playoff season with upside is what it will take for them not to ultimately breakup the Dragic/Bledsoe backcourt. I’m definitely hoping it happens, I’m just not convinced it will. It took 49 W’s to get in the playoffs out West this season and both the 7th and 8th seeds are stronger so 50 might not be enough which is crazy.

            I really hope that the internal improvement from guys like Goodwin and Len among others comes through. The Suns were opts per 100 possessions better with Frye on the floor than with him off, and we know that the overwhelming majority of the time he was off the floor Markieff was on it. We know that it’s more because of the spacing that he provides Bled and Goran on O rather than Channing’s nightly scoring prowess or D, but that gap still must be closed. I doubt a D and rebound 4 alone will do that. I know this kind of crude figuring, but the Suns gave up 102.6 ppt last season, 21st in the league. To get it down to 94.6 they would have to jump to 3rd in the league, ahead of MEM at 95.2. This would be to just get back to even on point differential, which they’d likely need to improve on if they want to win more games. I know those numbers aren’t pace adjusted as the Suns improved from 23 to 14th in defensive efficiency last season, but they make a rough point about simply expecting a defensive 4 alone to makeup for the effect that Frye had on the floor. They’re going to need some offensive help out of the Len, Goodwin, Warren, Ennis group as well.

          • 4everis2long

            I just do not see Frye as being that valuable. In fact his role was diminishing down the stretch. His defense was so bad a number of games he was benched in closing minutes. I suspect Tucker leaves and G. Green gets more minutes to help open the lane.

  • sunsn7

    Sooo glad the Suns didn’t re-sign Frye. Magic gave him $8 mil per year to play only ONE side of the court? As far as the Suns are concerned this is the classic case of addition by subtraction..

    And as far as PJ Tucker’s situation goes, certaily don’t want to see him leave as I appreciate his tenacity, defense, and locker room presence but if he must leave, it will be exciting to see TJ Warren get more minutes. As it is I hope the Suns can keep him at a reasonable price..Oh, and still see a solid chance for the Suns to land Lebron and Bosh…if Lebron’s decision is purely from a basketball perspective. I’m certainly not buying the national media’s complete dismissal (see ESPN, NBATV) of the Suns as a legitimate destination for Lebron to continue his chase for championships. Sure wish Colangelo could’ve been in on the sales pitch though. Barkley could’ve offered some insight about the fantastic fan support he enjoyed while here..but we all know Barkley doesn’t want to see the Suns win a title because he failed to bring one here as he knows Lebron would win multiple championships in Phoenix.