Phoenix Suns free agency: 6 frontcourt options this offseason

Serge Ibaka, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
Serge Ibaka, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns: Power forward free agency targets

The experts will tell you that there are better players than the power forwards that I will list here, but those players all are either too costly or have major deficiencies (or both), so they don’t fit this Phoenix Suns team. Here is the list of popular players that the experts will tell the Phoenix Suns whom they should go after;

  • Davis Bertans from the Washington Wizards, great shot but he can’t rebound and is not cost-effective for just a 3-point shooter. ($15-$17 million per season)
  • Montrezl Harrell has a shooting range of about 3-feet, and his cost is too much for an in-the -paint shooter. ($15+ million per season)
  • Danilo Gallinari wants to play for a contender so he won’t be an option for the Phoenix Suns and will probably sign with Toronto or Miami
  • Christian Wood has great individual numbers but is lost in space on defense because he doesn’t block out well due to the fact that he watches the ball and not his man too often. Wood is not a good passer and would be a disaster in the Suns passing offense

I believe the Phoenix Suns will go into free agency and only have one veteran power forward under contract, Cameron Johnson. These “bigs” are the most cost-effective, frontcourt options for this Suns team but even they are not all wart free.

Phoenix Suns potential free agency targets: Jerami Grant

Per Mike Singer of the Denver Post, according to a league sources, Jerami Grant will indeed opt out of his contract with the Denver Nuggets. It is assumed that the Phoenix Suns will go after Jerami Grant because of his tie to Monty Williams, but if that happens we need to question the love affair that the Suns have with Grant and wonder if it is a bit misguided?

Jerami Grant comes in at No. 65 on ESPN’s real plus-minus ranking while Dario Saric checks in at No. 45. Surprisingly Grant comes in at No. 82 out of the 98 qualifying players on the defensive plus-minus chart, and once again Dario bests him at No. 50, which I agree is nothing to brag about.

But it does beg the question as to why would the Phoenix Suns pay Grant a projected $14 million to $16 million deal when they can get Saric at a little more than half that price?

Phoenix Suns potential free agency targets: Serge Ibaka

Like Dario Saric for the Suns, Serge Ibaka was a force in the return-to-play for the Raptors averaging 17.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.0 block, and 40 percent from three per game. ESPN’s RPM lists Serge Ibaka at center where he comes in at No. 21 despite playing more minutes at power forward. Deandre Ayton is a few spots ahead of Ibaka at No. 17.

Now imagine those two solid front-line players on the same team with one of them hitting the 3-point shot as good as the best 3-point shooter on Phoenix Suns last season, Cameron Johnson. It would be just what the doctor ordered for this defensively challenged Suns squad, a rotation of Ayton/Johnson and Ibaka would be a very strong front line.

The Phoenix Suns should offer the just-turned 31-year-old Ibaka a 3-year deal with the third year being a team option, $46 million deal. However, there is now a report from the Toronto Star stating that the Raptors have a one year $28 million golden handshake deal with Ibaka. It makes sense if it is true because that would give them a lot of cap space for the NBA star-studded free agency class expected in the 2021 off-season.

So Serge is looking like a long shot for other teams to sign unless they offer at least three years and a lot of cash.

Phoenix Suns potential free agency targets: Juancho Hernangomez

Juancho Hernangomez comes in at 6-9, and 220 pounds from the Minnesota Timberwolves who have every reason to keep Hernangomez, but like Grant, he is a restricted free agent so other teams will decide the size of his contract. At the least, Hernangomez should come in at around the $6 million-plus per year range, as he was paid $3.3 million the year before as a non-starter.

Hernangomez was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February where he started 14 games for the Wolves hitting 42 percent from three, while grabbing 7.3 rebounds, and scoring 12 points a game. He’s Dario Saric without the experience.

Phoenix Suns potential free agency targets: Dario Saric

Dario Saric is a restricted free agent so the Phoenix Suns are at the mercy of other teams and Saric’s wishes. I think the Suns can expect Saric to sign a contract in the neighborhood of a 3-year, $25 million with the third year as a team option.

Saric played well enough in the last couple of months to command a contract in the $8 million to $10 million-per-year range based on the improvement he has shown while in Orlando, an improvement that was as good as his best season as a pro, his second year in Philadephia.

Saric shined when backing up Cam Johnson and he did a solid job playing back up center to Ayton.  As such, Saric will be more popular in free agency than most experts think, and he’ll make considerably more money this upcoming season than last.

I am sure in his mind Saric feels that he should be starting somewhere, but sadly it won’t be Phoenix if he thinks that way. Monty Williams knows that his plan of starting Cameron Johnson who plays better when he starts than coming off the bench and bringing in Saric to back-up Johnson/Ayton helped in propelling the Suns to an 8-0 record in Orlando. So Saric starting probably isn’t in the cards with the Phoenix Suns.

Adding any of these frontcourt players in addition to having Alec Burks and Justin Holiday at the wings can easily have the Phoenix Suns challenging for a playoff spot and making some noise once there.

Next. The 30 greatest Suns of all time. dark