Mar 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Isaiah Thomas (22) dribbles in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves win 104-102. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kings agree to sign-and-trade Isaiah Thomas to Suns


Isaiah Thomas will join the Phoenix Suns via a sign-and-trade deal that gives his old Sacramento Kings squad a $7 million trade exception and the rights to 2013 second-round pick Alex Oriakhi, reports CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. Thomas, a restricted free agent, agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Suns worth four years and $27 million before the two teams worked out the intricacies of the trade.

The trade was first reported by Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Berger also reports the Suns front-loaded Thomas’ contract. He will make $7.2 million in the first year of the deal and the salary will decrease from there, a sign Phoenix is fine taking on bigger salaries with loose cap room this year while keeping long-term flexibility down the road.

UPDATE: Thomas’s contract will pay him $7,238,606 in 2014-15, $6,912,869 in 2015-16, $6,587,132 in 2016-17 and $6,261,395 in the 2017-18 season, according to ShamSports.

Thomas, the 60th draft pick in 2011, left Sacramento hoping for both a starting gig and starter’s money. By technicality, he won’t get the former with the Suns, but he’ll surely play a significant role as a change-up guard.

As Paul Coro noted on Thursday and other reporters confirmed Friday, the acquisition is not to say Phoenix won’t bring back point guard Eric Bledsoe.

The Suns see Thomas as a third guard and likely an upgrade over Ish Smith. Perhaps it leads us to believe that Phoenix is wary about the duo of Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, both of whom struggled to stay healthy last season. Dragic, after running himself into the ground during the season, will go through his Slovenian nation team duties this summer, and Bledsoe’s knee history could prove troublesome down the line.

After the Suns drafted point guard Tyler Ennis with the 18th pick in June, general manager Ryan McDonough said adding to the Dragic-Bledsoe backcourt duo was important.

“As you know, we start two guys who I guess would primarily be defined as point guards,” he said. “We really value having multiple ball-handlers on the floor. We think our ability to run pick-and-rolls on either side of the floor, and also to push the ball in transition either via the pass or via the dribble, we feel like that’s a strength for us. We wanted to keep adding to it. We had some injuries last year to Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe.”

The acquisition probably means Smith’s non-guaranteed deal will not be picked up. It also puts into question what Phoenix will do with Gerald Green and Archie Goodwin, who fit in a log-jam at shooting guard if Dragic and Bledsoe are playing alongside Thomas.

Thomas averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists for the Kings last season.

There’s understandably going to be some questions popping up about this signing. Is another trade to follow? Why pay so much for a backup point guard?

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For perspective: The man the Kings signed that pointed Thomas’ way out of Sacramento was Darren Collison, who on average will be making just $1.5 million less per season.

  • coachj

    Thomas will not play alongside Bledsoe. Way too problematic defensively, as while Bledsoe is very good defensively, he would have more trouble defending bigger guards than dragic does. Don’t like this move. it is too much money to pay a backup. They MUST be trading someone.

    • Rebel

      Probably Green.

    • 4everis2long

      That is the only way I think this makes sense is if they have a deal pending involving Green or I guess anyone in the backcourt. Presently I feel really bad for Goodwin because I would like to see him get quality minutes this season. Why don’t we just find a 6’4″ and under league to play in?

      • Rebel

        I wouldn’t knock the Suns on size, they currently have two 7’1″s on the roaster and Plumlee and Kieff. They could get another, but they are a tall team compared to the Cavs (who may lose Varejao).

        • 4everis2long

          Rebel, The 2 seven footers are centers.I think we only have 1 power forward and rebounding and defending are not his strengths.

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Look for Tyler Ennis going to Toronto for Patrick Patterson. P.S. Alex Oriaki was on the Suns summer squad up until this trade. That bothers me almost as much as trading for Thomas. With the obvious dearth of PFs I thought he had the potential of a Jordan Hill or Ed Davis AND he was already a Sun.

            Go figure.

      • coachj

        exactly. why bother keeping goodwin and then sign a guy that is going to take his minutes.

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Kevin Zimmerman

      Bledsoe already does defend a lot of 2-guards …

      • DBreezy

        So with a cap of about 63M, the Suns are going to pay about 31M for players who I’ll just say are ‘pg sized’ since everybody likes to play the position less basketball card these days? Johnny Cochran is struggling to put a glove on this. How much sense does this make to you, Kev?

        • Rebel

          I’m not “Kev”, but I will respond anyway. I think it makes sense if only it means they will play Ennis this season as much as they played Goodwin the last one.

          • DBreezy

            I think it’s hard to even have an early idea about that before SL at the earliest, although I’m sure they feel that way about Ennis today. Or they could just be saying that because of future planned moves.

        • Rebel

          Paul Coro Tweet> “The #Suns
          aren’t signing Isaiah Thomas to deal Bledsoe or Ennis. Plan to use RFA
          rights on Bledsoe. Ennis, 19, can develop in Bakersfield.”

          • DBreezy

            Thanks, Rebel I got that tweet from Suns Jedi Master Coro as well.

        • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Kevin Zimmerman

          I’m not here to be adamant about it being the right move, but it makes tons of sense if you consider how much they valued Ish Smith last year. His speed changed outcomes of games, and Thomas can do that + better shooting + ability to finish at the rim. This gives the Suns more minutes of having two (and not one) deadly fullcourt threats at the same time.

          I am more wondering how this affects Archie, Green and even the SF position. And if we’re complaining about defense, it’s not like Green was an amazing defensive player …

          • DBreezy

            I’m most curious about it from a financial perspective and how that will affect the roster going forward. There have been signs that the team may not be comfortable paying a ton of money for their backcourt long term. Even before those signs, I felt that there would be some trepidation about keeping both long term if they cannot show that they are playoff team with upside this season. Adding more $$$ in the backcourt seems to make that situation murkier.

            I think we’re also starting to see a trend develop with McD in that he seems more willing to invest $$$ in backcourt and wing guys than front court guys unless we’re talking someone exceptional like Love. He just lost Frye, Lebron/Melo, Lebron/Bosh, and possibly Love and his first order of business was to go after Thomas. Not a Greg Monroe, not a Jordan Hill, not an Ed Davis and no tangible rumors of such at the moment. Not saying he won’t go after some of those guys eventually, but it looks like he wants to let the market die down on them $$$ and either choose from what’s left, or make a Plumlee style trade for one on an affordable deal. BOS operated in a similar manner with their front court outside of KG so I guess it shouldn’t be surprising.

            Defensively it’s a wash between Thomas and Ish and like you said Green isn’t much of a defender so I’m not worried about that relative to the status quo. However I too wonder what happens with the logjam 1-3. Archie and Alex need NBA minutes, and it wouldn’t surprise me to find that Warren and Ennis are ready for some level of minutes on the team vs in Bakersfield next season. Not a problem for Warren if that’s the case, but it would be with Ennis. I wonder why they didn’t at least wait and see some of SL before putting out the offer sheet, nothing else seemed imminent with Thomas.

          • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Kevin Zimmerman

            Financially, I am assuming they will be more open to moving guys with this trade. Even if they don’t, they have drafted for guard depth and won’t have to move many contracts just to sign a max player even next year if they can. Either way, think they’ll have to make a trade to land a big-time talent, so they’ve essentially stayed the course, IMO.

          • DBreezy

            While I think collecting assets for a trade to land a big time talent is probably the goal as you say. I wonder if it will happen though. The new cba is designed to discourage what guys like Melo did and what Love is trying now. It’s created more trepidation on both sides in such situations on accepting poor terms and teams seem more willing to just let players walk for nothing than before.

            The league seems to want stars to move the way that Lebron, Howard, and maybe Melo have via free agency vs trades. So if the Suns can’t show that they’re good enough to attract a star outright in 2015 or 2016, I wonder if the trade will ultimately be for a high draft pick vs. an established star. Perhaps time will show that the biggest loss this summer wasn’t Lebron or Frye, but not being able to trade up for a guy like Randle or Vonleh?

          • sunsn7

            Pay no attention to Zimmerman, as it is apparent he has landed in Sarver’s pocket.

          • sunsn7

            Your words sound like they are coming from the mouth of Robert Sarver. Respect lost?
            A resounding HELL YES.

        • JT3

          Ahh thank heavens someone who doesn’t feel like talking about all the BS the Suns are shoveling for negotiating.

          But could you really imagine Babby acting like he’s willing to walk away from the table

          with We love our 4 PG’s if San Antonio won the Chip with crisp passing just think what we are going to do when we replace our entire squad with passers?? ingenious amirite?

          • DBreezy

            Well they did think Morey was insane before the clouds cleared two seasons ago for him. That’s the best I can give you :)

          • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

            Hey Midnite, remember Danny Ainge tried beating the Suns with four guards once before; Kevin johnson, Jason Kidd, Wesley Person and Rex Chapman all starting.

            A bit ironic that the Spurs won with former Sun Boris Diaw playing point forward, huh?

      • coachj

        still too much money. Ish was good enough. This deal does not make this team that much better, but does cost them that much more. I was happy with Ish. We need to address our issues up front.

    • JT3

      Yea, right? Why must me play pretend with this misfit line-up when in like a week or two, Eric and probably Green or the Twins are going to be replaced with the real guys..Like say a PF they haven’t drafted nor sought after in FA. Got to be a trade for one now, that, or I’ve already checked out of this world and into Dante’s Basketball Association.

  • Pieter Post

    Great pick up by the suns!! and what a great deal, 4y/27mil :-) But it is gonna be interesting to see what this will mean for bledsoe…..as coachj said, I don’t think they will use isaiah as a backup, I think he would’nt agreed with that also. Maybe the suns don’t want to pay max deals for both Goran and Bledsoe and they decided to go for Goran next year (I think the best decision) what do you think Kevin?

    • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Kevin Zimmerman

      Right. Think this reassures they will be solid in the backcourt if either of Bledsoe and Dragic leave. If the Suns can get Dragic at a reasonable deal, then obviously the Suns will hope that they can somehow develop a big or trade for one.

      At the end of the day, the Suns can figure out what to do if they have too many good players. They still have assets.

      • JT3

        Yea good point, reminds me of Chris Rock

        ” I’ve never heard a crack dealer go “Man, how am I going to get rid of all this crack?”…lol

      • sunsn7

        Zimmerman, you sound like you are on Sarver’s payroll. This move makes absolutely no sense.
        Get ready for CHUCK & DUCK PART II, Suns fans, starring Goran Dragic and the NEW SIEVE on defense, Isaiah Thomas.
        Fuckin BLAH!

        • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

          Yeah, I don’t get at all. Is Danny Ainge influencing Hornacek this summer? Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson, Wesley Person, Rex Chapman; all GUARDS playing with forward Danny Manning at center?

          While not exactly setting the league on fire thus far, I was even more disappointed that they threw in Alex Oriakhi. I thought he had the potential of a Jordan Hill or Ed Davis and with the departure of Frye had a chance at earning some minutes.

          Look for Tyler Ennis being traded to Toronto for Patrick Paterson.

  • TNA

    Not a bad deal, but as everyone has mentioned it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Let’s get a Bledsoe deal done. I don’t know why the Suns are putting off bringing back a core player for so long.

    • Rebel

      I’m sure is not them, but Bledsoe’s representation that is delaying matters. I am pretty sure they want to get the most for him, so they are making the Suns wait.

  • WLX(AL)

    Phoenix has two legitimate centers, 5 PG’s, 2 Sg (green, Goodwin), 3 Sf (Tucker, Warren Mook) and only 1 PF (Kieff). Phoenix now needs to goe after a PF (Monroe, Pau?), trade for one (Anderson?), or sign Alec Brown.

  • Boomer

    I guess we should wait and see how all this plays out … but it raises a couple of issues: 1. The back court is getting crowded and we’ve got a couple of good young guys (esp. Goodwin) who need playing time. 2. Our more pressing needs are a rebounding, defensive-minded big and a Frye-replacing stretch 4 (ideally in the same package!). This obviously doesn’t address either.

  • JT3

    So we have 4 pg’s and one is due a Max deal. ….UUUUUUMMMMMMM….Could this possibly be anything like Sarver signing and trading away Joe Johnson when ATL made him a Max offer sheet and Sarver replaced Joe with a much cheaper option at SG with Raja Bell?? Maybe? perhaps? Anyway McD must be going over Millwakee’s roster and finds a PF that could fit the bill. Now just how bad do the Bucks covet Eric Bledso?
    John Henson would fit nicely here…….Until the day he develops into an All-Star and expects a Max offer…
    Why is no one laughing?…….yea me neither.

  • FejsFuk Čekić

    bledsoe is gone if he signs an offersheet over 11 mil a year

  • sunsn7

    Hey Suns fans?
    At the very least, we now know the Suns aren’t pursuing championships. “GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN” R.I.P. Phoenix Suns. Sad, SAD day to be a (former) Suns fan

  • EarlBlackJesusMonroe

    Horrible trade.