This Week in Phoenix Suns History – September 12-18

Oct 3, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; An old Phoenix Suns logo is displayed on the video board at a free scrimmage at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gerald Bourguet-Valley of the Suns
Oct 3, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; An old Phoenix Suns logo is displayed on the video board at a free scrimmage at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gerald Bourguet-Valley of the Suns /

The Phoenix Suns are one of the most historic organizations in the NBA. How they’ve become this storied franchise is something that takes years to breakdown. Here is this week in Phoenix Suns’ history.

September 12-18

September 12, 2005 – Suns sign Eddie House – Having two major Universities with solid basketball pedigrees in the Suns’ backyard provides a competitive advantage to the franchise as it is more easily able to scout talent from two prodigious programs in Arizona and Arizona State. Granted, the Suns did not draft Eddie House, but Suns’ fans were elated when they signed the local, famous, pure scorer.

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Following the Suns’ incredible turnaround in 2004-05, sharp shooting specialist Quentin Richardson, et al., was traded to the New York Knicks for Kurt Thomas. To help fill that three-point specialist hole in the lineup, former Arizona State University star Eddie House was signed, and Suns fans know they had a worthy replacement.

Often the second player off the bench in 2005-06 behind Leandro Barbosa, House continued the high-octane scoring skills he developed a a Sun Devil, averaging 9.8pts per game, and making just under .50% of his field goals from behind the arc.

September 14, 1983 – Suns sign Paul Westphal for final swan song before retirement – Following five solid seasons with the Suns, Paul Westphal was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in June 1980 for high scoring and defensive specialist, Dennis Johnson. After a season with the Sonics, and two relatively uneventful seasons with the New York Knickerbockers, Westy re-signed with Phoenix for one last go-around before pursuing his second career: coaching.

Playing a reserve role in 1983-84, Westphal played a role common for players of his caliber: veteran leader on a team in flux. Concluding his playing career after the season, Westphal finished his overall tenure with the Suns with a slash line of 20.6/2.2/5.2, and a place in the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor.

September 15, 1994 – Waived Jerrod Mustaf – Why mention the relevance of a player who finished his short three-year career with a slash line of 3.9/2.4/.5 in 117 games and only 14 starts?

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According to this 2001 story by the Seattle Times, “On a sultry summer evening three years ago, (Jerrod Mustaf girlfriend) Althea Hayes was fatally shot four times…The body was discovered by her father in the victim’s Glendale, Ariz., apartment the next day…It did not take investigators long, according to Maricopa County court records, to develop a theory. They alleged that Mustaf had Hayes killed because she refused to have an abortion. Court records say the victim, who was three months pregnant, contacted a lawyer about seeking child support from Mustaf.”

Not many years after the drug issues that plagued the Suns in the 80s, and in the midst of the best opportunity to win a title in franchise history, the Suns took no chances and relieved the lackluster power forward of his duties in Phoenix. Though he was never charged as an accomplice of the murder – his Cousin who physically fired the gun was sentenced to life in prison without the chance for parole – the stigma of the possible connection to the murder as prosecutors believed that he was the only man with a motive, Mustaf was never able to return to the NBA, and his forgettable tenure with the Suns, has largely been forgotten.

September 16, 1994 – Suns sign Wayman Tisdale – 1992 saw the beginning of the Barkley era. 1993 saw the addition of AC Green. 1994 brought both Danny Manning and Wayman Tisdale.

In an era when the Phoenix Suns were considered a free agent target destination, Jerry Colangelo was able to acquire a number of high-end talent to help try and put the eager franchise over the top.

A scoring Small Forward and former star of the Oklahoma and the Sacramento Kings, Wayman was brought in as one of the biggest scoring threats in the NBA in a reserve role. His first season saw the Suns win 59 games and come within one win of earning a trip back to the Western Conference Finals.

His timing with this Suns came with both significant highs and lows as he helped lead the Suns to the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets in his first year on the roster. The wonder, though, as the Barkley era came to a disappointing conclusion the following season. Barkley suffered through the worst start to a season in franchise history, as the 1996-97 season began with 13 consecutive losses and Head Coach Cotton Fitzsimmons retiring for the final time.

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Unfortunately for Wayman, and for the world, in mid-May 2009 he succumbed to complications with breathing following several years of rehabilitation from cancer. To read his full obituary, click here.

Note: All statistics are provided by the 2015-2016 Phoenix Suns Media Guide.