Suns' owner boldly claims they will bring back two key free agents next season

The Phoenix Suns did a great job of filling out their roster last summer, and owner Mat Ishbia is bullish on bringing two key role players back next year.
Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns
Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns received welcome news on Thursday, with it being made official that they will host the 2027 NBA All-Star game. Owner Mat Ishbia doing a wonderful job of securing not only the marquee game for the Suns down the road, but also the WNBA's showcase event later on this year as well.

Ishbia was in good spirits alongside NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the announcement, and with good reason. Despite the Suns being without Devin Booker right now as a result of an ankle injury, they have adjusted on the fly to find a way to continue to win games. Sitting in sixth in the Western Conference, they still have time to make up some ground and climb up a couple of spots.

While speaking to the media, attention turned to the summer and beyond for the Suns, with Ishbia making a bold prediction with regards to two of their key role players.

The guys in question? Grayson Allen and Royce O'Neale, who have both been exactly what the organization has needed around their trio of superstars this season. Allen has been one of the big success stories of the campaign, filling in as the Suns' third best player while Bradley Beal was injured, and leading the league in 3-point shooting percentage as well.

O'Neale only came over at the trade deadline, but so far has provided the kind of spark that the group really needed. Capable of starting or coming off the bench, the shooting threat from deep and ability to no miss defensive assignments have been a big boost to the team.

With both becoming unrestricted free agents this summer, keeping them will be tough. Such has been the play of both guys - particularly Allen from the jump - there is little doubt that other franchises are going to try and tempt them away from The Valley. They will also likely have healither cap sheets than the Suns to do so. Not that Ishbia cares, as he told the assembled media;

"Royce and Grayson are two great guys. Royce is new to the organization, has done an amazing job, everything you can think of, and Grayson has been here all year. He’s been a phenomenal part of the team and the organization. We hope and expect to have both of those guys back along with keeping this core team together because we love our team and we’re going to compete at the highest level and hopefully in the playoffs very soon and see them all play together."

Phoenix Suns' owner Mat Ishbia

What is working in the favor of the Suns here is the fact they own the Bird Rights to both players. This in theory makes bringing both of them back that bit easier, as they can sign the players to deals above what their cap space would allow them to if they were currently with another team. Yet despite this, significant road blocks still exists.

Next season the trio of Booker, Beal and Kevin Durant will make over $150 million combined, while they only have another six players on deals that don't expire this season. Three of those (Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie and Damion Lee) are all player options on $3 million or under, which means in theory any of those three could leave for better money elsewhere.

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David Roddy - who came over at the deadline when O'Neale did - has a team option on his deal, and it is unclear at this point if the Suns want to bring him back. Then there are guys like Bol Bol, who is also an unrestricted free agent this summer, and who could well receive an offer to play elsewhere after much improved play this season.

Bringing Allen and O'Neale back is hugely important both for continuity and because of their offensive abilities in particular. It is one thing Ishbia saying he'd love to bring them both back, and quite another to make it happen. Still, you have to love his desire to keep this core intact, despite the money it is going to cost him to do so given the implications of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.