Phoenix Suns Free Agency: Power Forward Options

Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Phoenix Suns free agency moves of recent years have frankly not worked.

Power forward will be a big area of concern for the Suns this offseason, and they will need to make at least two signings at the position. These signing could shape the position for the Suns next 4 years.

Although the Suns received relatively strong production at the position last year, their top two power forwards are free agents in the 2016 offseason.

Mirza Teletovic potentially earned a big pay increase after making 181 three pointers and shooting a career best .393% from deep.

Jon Leuer is the other Suns power forward heading into free agency, and I’ve already discuss Leuer’s growth in detail here. Leuer has the makings of a true stretch 4 that is ready to grow into a consistent contributor. Per minute, Leuer put a very rare combination of three-point shooting and rebounding. Leuer is also slightly taller and generally rates as a better defender than Teletovic.

Given the relative success of this duo last season, the Suns have tough choices to make. With Teletovic and Leuer back, the Suns could have the best 3 point shooting power forwards in the league.

A potential issue could be the cost for Mirza Teletovic. If he is going to cap out on the Suns as a gunner off the bench, he cannot make starter money. He is simply not the long term solution at power forward.

That is the wildcard of the expanding salary cap. If a team falls in love with Teletovic’s game, the Suns must let him go.

Note that the Suns actions in free agency could change considerably depending on the NBA Lottery. If the Suns move up to number 2 and are in position to take Ben Simmons, their free agency moves won’t mean a thing. The below contract information is from HoopsHype.

More from Valley of the Suns

Some of the big names clearly won’t end up on the Suns. Pau Gasol (player option) is too old and looking to win now. Dirk Nowitzki is staying with the Mavericks.

There is another tier that simply doesn’t fit with the Suns. David West, Jordan Hill, Brandon Bass and David Lee all fit the mold of players too far into their careers with not enough remaining value to fit the Suns rebuild.

Ryan Anderson (unrestricted) is 3 years younger than Teletovic, but doesn’t offer enough upside to justify signing him over Teletovic – they’re very similar players. Anderson already made 8.5 million last year, and is sure to receive a larger contract than Teletovic. Anderson is a poor defender and an average rebounder. Suns should pass here given the likely cost.

Ersan Ilyasova has a team option, but fits into the same spot as Ryan Anderson, in that his game is similar to Mirza Teletovic. Although Ilyasova is only 28, he has played far more minutes in the NBA than Teletovic, as Ilyasova went to the NBA at 19. If Ilyasova is available, the Suns should pass.

More from Suns News

Jared Sullinger (restricted) is an interesting option, especially at just 24 years old. He is more physical than the Suns current power forwards, and rebounds very well.

Unfortunately the Celtics have enough cap room to keep Sullinger despite any offer the Suns make. It is hard to imagine the Suns make a large enough offer to scare off the Celtics here. Depending how the market for Sullinger develops, the Suns should at least offer a contract to him, knowing the Celtics will likely match.

Dwight Powell is another 24-year-old restricted free agent power forward. He also has played the least minutes of the available forwards, and has not added a three-point shot to his game yet. While he is interesting due to his athletic ability, the on court production hasn’t been enough to justify the Suns pursuing him.

Terrence Jones is the final 24-year-old restricted free agent. Jones had a disappointing season, playing just 50 games and regressing in many ways. He has not developed a consistent outside shot, and saw a disappointing decline in his rebounding rate.

Every advanced metric shows that last season was Jones’ worst season as a pro. Prior to that, he was a highly rated and productive player. Given the toxic situation in Houston, Jones just may need a new situation to get his groove back. The Suns should seriously consider an offer to Terrence Jones, and hope the Rockets are cleaning house and let him go.

Next: Ben Simmons: NBA Lottery Preview

Looking at the upcoming free agent power forward class, the Suns should look to resign their two PF’s and grab another in the NBA draft. There is not much proven talent available at the position, and the Suns aren’t in position to sign any of it.