The Phoenix Suns will face some tough choices this offseason when it comes to which players with expiring contracts to keep and which ones to let walk.
James Jones christened his new role as General Manager of the Phoenix Suns by dumping the roster in a blender and setting it on high. Nine new players joined the team this offseason either via trade, draft pick, or most prominently, free agency.
This offseason (and at this point, I have to think we have reached the offseason, at least for non-would-be-playoff-bound teams like the Phoenix Suns), Jones will have some decisions to make about which players to bring back and which players to allow to venture off into the free-agent market.
They have already let one of these players walk, in Tyler Johnson. The man who took his player option to make $19.25 million this season was rarely used after seemingly forgetting how to be a viable NBA player.
However, what first looked like a major waste of resources was thought to be a valuable trade chip. Teams who were looking to dump salary could use an expiring contract like Johnson’s, so a trade was certainly an option, and Suns fans cautiously rubbed their hands together at the potential.
Of course, like most outcomes, Suns fans were left disappointed when the trade deadline came and went with no bites for Johnson’s career-low 5.7 points per game at that large of a price tag.
So, James Jones and the Phoenix Suns said, “Fine. Waive him,” and got nothing in return. No team picked him up before the suspension ensued, solidifying the unfortunate reality there was simply no market for him.
There are now five other players the Suns will need to decide upon: Aron Baynes, Frank Kaminsky, Dario Saric, Cheick Diallo, and Jevon Carter. Let’s walk through the pros and cons of bringing back each one, and what Jones and company should do.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the free-agent pool this offseason is very weak, which means teams will be forced to overpay for mediocre players, something at which the Phoenix Suns have historically excelled.