Phoenix Suns rebuild: The remodel continues
James Jones may have made his biggest move yet when he signed coach Monty Williams to a five-year deal, bringing immediate respect to a team and organization that had very little.
Three weeks into June the Suns GM started to put paint onto the newly restructured home with its first coat, but at what cost? On June 20th, 2018 before the draft the Phoenix Suns traded away — many say gave away — T.J. Warren, by sending Warren and a draft pick to Indiana for cash that reportedly could top out at $5.6 million.
Being on the clock right before the draft they had no better offers… maybe the bigger question should be to ask all the teams, where were they at when Warren was “given” away?
Without the luxury of a crystal ball, I would do that same deal tomorrow if I were James Jones as Warren over his first 5 years with the Phoenix Suns missed an average of 30 games a year while being paid $10 million during his last season in which he missed 38 games. Who wouldn’t have traded Warren considering he still had three years left on a contract that averaged $12 million per season when they had Mikal Bridges and Oubre sitting on the same bench?
I believe that Jones has taken Riley’s philosophy of older players and added his own twist by starting with a team of talented mid-20-somethings, then rolling in the veterans. Clearly, Jones likes mature college players, that are ready to come in and contribute to the team, not teenagers trying to find their way.
So Jones followed up the Warren deal with two surprising but excellent moves, as he sent the No. 6 pick in the draft to the Timberwolves in exchange for Dario Saric, which fixed their immediate power forward need, and the 11th pick in the draft which ended up being 23-year old sharpshooter Cameron Johnson.
A short time after the Johnson selection, Jones would double down on the 2019 draft by trading the Suns 2019 2nd round pick and Milwaukee Bucks 2020 first-round pick, the 30th pick overall this year to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Celtics 24th pick 22-yr old Ty Jerome in last years draft and Center Aron Baynes.
On that one day in June, the Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones created a lot of cap space, obtained five 3-point shooters with additional talent, a starting power forward, mature players, and a 33-year-old center that would change the energy of the team…this was now James Jones’ team.