Phoenix Suns free agency targets at minimum: Bigs

The Phoenix Suns’ front office doesn’t have much on its plate in terms of managing the cap and negotiating salary when NBA free agency opens starting Friday.

Everyone and their agent knows Phoenix only has veteran minimum contracts to offer with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton on the roster. That could make it clear very quickly who they might have a chance to land in free agency. Older players who are ring-chasers and have made life-changing money in the past are likely to call the Suns.

Mine Empire of the Suns co-host Kellan Olson has scrolled through the guards and wings on the market and in the ranks of minimum offers, and we both tossed through the Suns’ own free agents who could return.

Now it’s over to the big men, where it gets a little more complicated. You’d think Phoenix would want to complement starter Deandre Ayton’s skill set, and there are plenty of ways to go, whether it’s finding a floor-spacer, a shot-blocker (see Biyombo, Bismack) or a guy who just on the way. playing solid defense help swing the ball from strongside to weakside (see Landale, Jock).

This exercise, such as it has been, may just be about me naming some guys. But it will give fans a sense of the high end of the free agent market and the low end.

‘Small ball centers are still a hit’ level

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Jeff Green should probably lead to this. He will be 37 years old at the start of next season, but he remains one of the most underrated athletes of the last decade of basketball. He was still able to play 20 minutes per game. game, which was a threat from three – even though he shot just 29% in the regular season. It should be noted that he survived as a small-ball center, playing much of the time alongside power forward Aaron Gordon, a defensive prodigy himself that Phoenix just doesn’t have.

Holder with floor spacers, Yes Mychal Green has played for Denver and Golden State the past three years. He’s 33 years old, can rebound and can hit threes at a relatively high pace. I suspect the defensive side of the ball is where teams will go crazy using him more than 15 minutes per game. night.

Although I don’t know how much he has left in the tank, I submit James Johnson as your 2023-24 Phoenix Suns enforcer. I’m not sure how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank, but he’s two seasons removed from playing a big role for the Brooklyn Nets with Durant.

Johnson, the one guy in the NBA you don’t want to fight, doesn’t have the three-point arsenal — he’s a 30% shooter from deep. Still, worth a roster spot if he’s your third center and you figure to face some small-ball units in the playoffs (Hello, Nuggets. Hello, Warriors).

Is Trey Lyles a minimum guy? I doubt it. You’d think Sacramento would re-sign him, but the Kings could also move on to open up enough cap space to chase big-money free agents.

He was very productive for the relevant Kings last season, appearing in 74 games and shooting 46-36-82%. He can switch, rebound and do enough to complement the Sun’s three stars.

‘Played a lot of hoop’ level

Mason Plumlee, Clippers C (AP Photo/Rick Scooteri)

It would be redundant if Landale returns, but there are a couple of long-time veterans who have plenty of hoop-shot play. They don’t want to stand out for being good, but they also don’t want to stand out for messing up.

Mason Plumlee is the Rolls-Royce of potential veteran minimum men, coming off a year in which he averaged 7.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. game for the Los Angeles Clippers after a midseason trade from the Charlotte Hornets. He is also a great ball player.

We go to another NBA brother i Cody Zellerwho played legitimate minutes for the Miami Heat in the playoffs, but few in it.

Former Sun and 2013 No. 5 overall draft pick Alex Len somehow has 87 more NBA games played than Zeller at 596 which is odd. Again, he didn’t play a ton last year, but at 30, he still had his moments and is a reliable backup who, as former Phoenix teammate Channing Frye put it simply, his rookie year “is long as (expletive ).” It remains Len.

We can list That Gibson, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond and Tristan Thompson here just in case, but the guys above have a little more left in the tank and/or bring a little more.

‘I’m still young, give me a fresh start’ level

Drew Eubanks, blazers(AP Photo/Matt York)

Drew Eubanks has spent his first four pro seasons with the San Antonio Spurs and the last two hidden away with the Portland Trail Blazers, but he’s another undersized energy guy with some athletic pop and a little bit of passing equity.

I stand by that Swallow Metu still have something. Undersized at 6-foot-9, he’s a jumbo power forward with good athleticism who hasn’t flashed enough from the three-point line to really increase his value. The other 2022-23 Kings on this list (Lyles and Len) took minutes away, but he still played in 66 games.

‘One unique skill, but a major concern’ level

Montrezl Harrell, Dario Saric(AP Photo/Matt York)

Dario Saric has the knowledge, floor spacing and ball movement skills to be worth a thought. He appeared in 20 games for the Thunder after 37 for Phoenix last year, and at 29 years old, he looked like he was completely removed from his ACL tear from the 2021 NBA Finals.

Still not sure if he fits head coach Frank Vogel’s demands for at least an average defense. And the Thunder might want to welcome him back to complement the young core.

There are different concerns for Montrezl Harrell, a Suns fan favorite dating back to the 2015 draft. It looks like he maxed out in the 2019-20 season with the Clippers, but he still brings pop of energy.

He fell out of favor with Doc Rivers with the Philadelphia 76ers last year (11.9 minutes per game), and that’s a red flag.

Harrell has a history with Vogel. In 2020-21, he played an average of 22.9 minutes per game. game for the Lakers, but with the Suns, you had to play him with high-level shooting lineups to balance out his rim-rolling-only offense.

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