Next up, free agency. The biggest time of the year for teams like the Suns. If you need to rebuild, here’s the place to do it. It isn’t going to be what most expect, though. At least not for Phoenix.
The Suns’ mission should be bench play. Booker, Warren, and Bender/Chriss are the starters of the future. Why try to continue to change when it finally looks good (on paper).
Three options, Jamal Crawford, Brandon Jennings, and Jared Dudley. All players who can’t expect more than a year or two contract, but can be solid role guys. If the Suns can land at least two of them, their bench will have a major upgrade.
The first person to approach is going to be Jamal Crawford. He’s about 100-years-old and still plays like he’s 21. The 36-year-old has come off the bench for the LA Clippers the last four seasons and hasn’t disappointed yet. The contract he just finished was 4yrs/$21,350,000, but he isn’t going to be looking nor expecting something that massive. He’ll drop somewhere like 2yrs/$10,000,000. The Suns can afford something like that for a bench player of his quality. That being the case, not approaching or signing Crawford is a mistake. We’ll say he joins Phoenix for this two-year deal and finishes his career a Sun.
Brandon Jennings is going to be easy. He’s coming off an absolutely atrocious year in Orlando. There’s no way he is looking for money. If anything, he’s hoping for a Rajon Rondo contract just to get his name back out there. Nevertheless, he still has high potential and would fit as the backup PG in Phoenix (I’ll explain later why he’s the backup and not Knight). His contract isn’t going to be higher than $7,000,000. The Suns will have roughly $26,705,146 remaining in Cap Space after signing Crawford and resigning Leuer and Teletovic. Being that Eric Bledsoe has had two injury-free seasons since entering the NBA, having a backup guard who can play like a starter when
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needed is necessary. Even if Bledsoe isn’t in Phoenix this season (hint hint). Signing Jennings to a two-year deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $14,000,000 isn’t a bad idea. So, signing Jennings to a 2yr/$14,000,000 is what they’ll do.
That leaves Jared Dudley. I think we can all agree that Dudley signing with the Suns would be the most exciting move in Phoenix. The former Sun would add great shooting and depth at the PF and SF position. There would be no pressure to provide minutes to Dudley. All he would be expected to do is come off the bench and play solid offense, which he can.
When it comes to signing this 30-year-old, he may be a bit more than Jennings and Crawford, but not much. A 3yr/$15,000,000 deal will interest Dudley and a return to Phoenix will be in sight.