Should The Phoenix Suns Re-Sign Brandon Knight?

Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (3) passes the ball against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (3) passes the ball against the Boston Celtics in the first quarter at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Brandon Knight
Mar 2, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight (3) dribbles the ball past Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic (7) during the first half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

Salary Cap Situation

Speaking of cap space, it’s worth examining how the Suns would be situated if they re-signed Knight and if they chose to let him go.

As Elhassan noted in his piece assessing Knight’s free agency value, offers for the combo guard would likely start in the $10 million range…but he’ll probably command more than that simply based on his per game numbers with the Bucks. Realistically, keeping him for $12 million a year would be about as good as it gets for the Suns, while $16 million per season would probably represent the worst-case scenario.

That’s an awful lot of money to commit to such an unproven player, especially when you consider the Suns just re-signed Bledsoe to a five-year, $70 million deal last summer. In case math isn’t your strong suit, that’s $14 million a year, which means a deal in the $15-16 million range would make Knight the highest paid player on the Suns.

Regardless of your opinion on how big a leap Bledsoe made this season, Knight does not seem like the kind of player you’d want as your highest paid player.

That being said, the Suns re-signed Bledsoe before the NBA’s new TV deal was announced. When that influx of revenue hits, the salary cap is set to jump through the roof. That cap explosion will make recently signed deals for the Morris twins and possibly even Bledsoe seem like steals in a few years (provided this legal trouble with the Morrii turns out to be nothing, of course).

In other words, what seems like a bad deal for the Suns right now might not seem so bad a few years down the road, especially since Knight is only 23 years old. Having too many point guards was the downfall of the 2014-15 Phoenix Suns, but the dual-guard system has undeniably seen its fair share of success under Hornacek.

Keeping Knight would give the Suns a core of Bledsoe, Knight, the Morrii with Alex Len, Archie Goodwin and T.J. Warren all still on rookie-scale contracts. They’d still be one big piece away from contending, but that’s a good young core to work with. Losing Knight would send the wrong message that there really is something wrong with basketball in Phoenix. Keeping him would solidify the core and move the team closer to attracting the star they need to take the next step.

But wait, if the Suns need a star, why waste cap space on a good but not great player like Knight? is what you’re probably wondering. Why not just swing for the fences this summer with a game-changer?

Well, to put it simply, what better options are there this summer? Here’s a look at the big-name players who could become free agents this offseason:

In order:

The Memphis Grizzlies aren’t letting Big Spain get away from them; if you truly believe Rondo is a good fit for this team, consider that the last thing this locker room needs is another testy personality; Aldridge wants to re-sign in Portland and become the best Trail Blazer ever; the San Antonio Spurs are definitely locking Kawhi down this summer; the same goes for Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls; Dragic…HA!; Monta Ellis has a player option worth $9.2 million.

Wesley Matthews is a good fit but he’s coming off a scary Achilles injury; Deng is old; LeBron’s never leaving Cleveland again; Draymond Green would be the perfect kind of player for the Suns to bring in, but the Dubs are keeping him and a competitor like Green would never want to come to Phoenix anyway; Greg Monroe is a good fit in theory, but will the Detroit Pistons let him go?; Kevin Love is another solid fit, but are things really that bad playing alongside King James?

As for Brook Lopez, the Suns already have one injury-prone center in Alex Len; Hibbert would be a good defensive presence, but overpaying for his services with Len waiting in the wings isn’t exactly a splashy offseason move; DeAndre Jordan would bolster the defense and rebounding, but if you think he’s bad offensively now, just wait until he doesn’t have Chris Paul throwing him lobs anymore; Al Jefferson is also old and injury-prone.


Did that cover everything? Of course it’d be great for the Suns to go out this summer and splurge on a guy like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Draymond Green or Greg Monroe. But guess what? Their teams are probably going to lock them up, and even if they don’t, the competition is going to be stiff.

Free agency this summer has some good names on the list, but the calvary probably isn’t coming for the Suns. Having cap space is great, but the Suns aren’t going to find a perfect combo guard in free agency who might be able to play alongside Bledsoe. Knight, on the other hand, at least has the potential to be a good fit.

Knight, Wright, Green, Marcus Thornton and Earl Barron are all free agents this summer. The Suns currently have $42.8 million on the books for the 2015-16 season, with the salary cap set projected to be $66.5 million (with the luxury tax level set at $81 million).

Even signing Knight for anywhere in the $10-15 million range would leave the Suns wiggle room, especially with the cap set to explode the season after that. Phoenix would have enough room to re-sign Wright if they so choose, or they could pursue the veteran they need to help this team take the next step. Perhaps not a star, but there’s a chance one won’t be available anyway.

Next: The Verdict