Free Agency will begin at midnight July 1st, and although teams won’t be able to officially offer players contracts until after the moratorium July 6th, teams will be lining up to sign one man, Kevin Durant.
KD(Kevin Durant) intends on hosting a small contingent of team representatives from the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and of course the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Hamptons, New York.
The Suns are star shopping. They have young talent, a lot of draft picks, and tradable contracts. You’ll notice the Phoenix Suns are not listed above. Despite their lack of involvement in Durant’s Hampton weekend, his free agency could very easily shape the Suns’ future, by helping them acquire a star of their own, Blake Griffin.
Here is how it goes down:
First, Kevin Durant signifies that his final three teams have come down to the Clippers, Warriors, and Thunder. The Clippers are not in a position to keep Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Furthermore, Kevin Durant could be looking to spend more time at power forward based on its success in the playoffs.
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One thing is for sure, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin are redundant, and Blake will likely be the odd man out if KD sets his sights on Los Angeles (where he already owns a home). Because the Clippers could have to make a move without knowing for sure that KD will come, (and certainly if he tells them he is coming), they will be looking for a team to help facilitate that move. That is where the Suns come in.
The Suns have the assets to help the Clippers unload Griffin, by offering P.J. Tucker, Draft Picks, and Brandon Knight, the Clippers could let Jamal Crawford 1.0 leave in favor of Jamal Crawford 2.0 (Knight). In Tucker, the Clippers would get a defensive wing who could help KD not have to defend the opposing teams best scorer every night and enable the Clippers to show Durant they are serious about bringing him to LA.
The speculation the Clippers could be ready to move on from Griffin already exists after he punched the team manager, and Griffin is a free agent at the end of the year. It’s possible being involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes could be the push they need to ship Griffin to Phoenix.
The Suns would be left with a starting lineup of Bledsoe/Booker/Warren/Griffin/Len and a dearth of young players with massive potential, making for an exciting roster. The Suns would then have the salary cap space to try and lure a Luol Deng, or Nicolas Batum in Free Agency and end up with a team that could contend in the Western Conference (I realize how crazy that sounds). The bench would be filled with almost entirely young talent in Ulis, Goodwin, Warren, Bender, Chriss, and Tyson Chandler (I said almost).
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As mentioned above, Blake Griffin will be a free-agent at the end of the season, so the Suns would risk losing Griffin. However, it could be worth getting rid of Brandon Knight and P.J. Tucker to spend a year making him feel like the face of Phoenix sports. In addition, the Suns would have his Bird Rights going into 2017 free agency, allowing the Suns to offer a far more lucrative, and longer contract than any other team. There is no guarantee that Griffin would re-sign, but I like the Suns chances if they can sign a complimentary free-agent and make a push into playoff contention.
The Suns should, and likely are, looking to profit from Kevin Durant forcing teams to shop their current stars. Even if the Suns don’t end up getting Griffin, Kevin Durant’s free agency could play a major role in the future cast in Phoenix.
The Suns’ focus needs to center around only high-end talent this offseason. The worst thing the Suns can do is sign middling players to long term contracts when most of their talent is years away from their primes. If they strike out in the star market, they should sit tight and try again next year.
Here’s hoping the Clippers make the cut.