A parade in Cleveland and a riot in the streets of Miami might be at the two epicenters of LeBron James’ decision, but the aftershocks will certainly reach Phoenix.
This is a complicated NBA free agency period, but the train has finally left the station with James leaving South Beach to return home. The Phoenix Suns can finally get deep into contract talks with Eric Bledsoe now that his agent, Rich Paul, has done his work in bringing James back to their home state of Ohio.
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has a clearer picture of who else he can target.
The small forward crop of free agents that no longer includes P.J. Tucker is still of interest to Phoenix, according to CBS Sports’ Ken Berger. He reported on Friday that people believe Cavaliers free agent Luol Deng could land with the Suns. Nothing is decided, and Deng has other appealing options if he wants to help a playoff squad.
The Rockets’ failed bid to land forward Chris Bosh to a max deal affects the Suns. Bosh was likewise tempted to return to his home state, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski is instead choosing to remain with the Heat.
The Rockets wanted to ship off Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to open enough cap space for Bosh’s max; if and when those go through now that he’s remaining a Heat player will determine a bit.
Houston had planned on matching a three-year, $46 million deal that Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks. It’s unclear if the Rockets would still match Parsons’ offer sheet if Bosh indeed returns to Miami. Should Parsons return to the Rockets, the Mavs could be a threat to land Deng.
Fully expecting Houston to match on Chandler Parsons, Dallas moving ahead with plan B: Luol Deng or Trevor Ariza, league sources say.
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
Ariza is also an X-factor as far as the Suns are concerned. He’s been linked to everyone from Miami to Washington to Dallas to the Lakers.
Now to the Lin trade: The Lakers pulling in a point guard might hinder their ability or desire to chase after two Suns free agent targets, as Paul Coro points out.
Houston agreed upon sending Lin to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s good news for the Suns on a few accounts.
- Los Angeles was a rumored threat to sign Bledsoe away from the Suns. But the Lakers and their limited cap space seemingly wouldn’t go after Bledsoe with Lin in the fold. The Lakers are apparently still holding out hope on landing Carmelo Anthony, and waiting on him could delay an offer to Bledsoe.
- Phoenix’s interest in Isaiah Thomas is also a factor here, as Los Angeles was also reportedly interested in the speedy Kings point guard.
So much of this is guessing what’s in a number of players’ guts. The Lakers theoretically have enough money to sign Anthony to a max deal if they renounce the rights to all their minor players and stretch Steve Nash. That means they still would have enough money to target Bledsoe, but it would hamper them in filling out the frontcourt with a player like Pau Gasol.
Overall, what we have here is a massive flow chart where one reaction to LeBron’s decision leads to another. All we know now is that it’s flowing.