Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones and team owner Mat Ishbia have hit back-to-back home runs to rebuild the team’s roster this offseason, acquiring Bradley Beal as part of a major trade and through free agency.
The Suns acquired one of the league’s top scorers in Beal in exchange for a trade involving Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and several draft picks. So faced with top-heavy payroll issues and nine of their players entering free agency, the Suns were able to land six highly productive free agents at manageable salaries that will help bolster their bench.
Small forward Josh Okogie and two-guard Damion Lee returned to the team, and Phoenix let go three free agents: forwards Torrey Craig and Darius Bazley, as well as backup center Jock Landale. Craig and Landale agreed to two- and four-year deals with the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets, respectively.
Here’s a rundown of the new and returning Suns free agents.
Returned Suns free agents
Position: Shooting guard
Share: Two years, player option
Age, years in the league: 30, six years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, ranked third on the team in career-best 3-point percentage (44.5%) before former Phoenix 3-pointer Cameron Johnson returned at the end of January from a knee injury, and before Kevin Durant’s arrival at the trade deadline the following month. Lee led the league in that state through the All-Star break and helped the Phoenix finish seventh among all teams in 3-point shooting.
Playoff Expectations: More shooting consistency as he scored just 2.1 points on 30% shooting, including 20% from deep this past postseason.
Position: Small forward
Share: Two years
Alase/year in the league: 24, five years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: 7.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists, shot 39% overall, rose to become one of Phoenix’s top role players, earning his spot as the fifth starter in the eight games Durant played for Phoenix before the playoffs.
Playoff Expectations: Okogie had an abysmal shooting slump from 3 in the playoffs, hitting just 14% and being a non-factor. But with his powerful frame, Okogie was one of Phoenix’s best rebounders, able to give the team second- and third-chance points with his leaping ability, and he was a fast-break finisher after making steals and blocking shots.
New free agents signed by Suns
Position: Shooting guard/small forward
Share: Two years, player option
Age/year in the league: 34, 15 years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: Has a career average of 16 points, scored 13.1 as a starter on the Houston Rockets last season, then 11 per game and shot 42.3% from the perimeter in 22 appearances and 11 starts in 25 minutes off the bench for the LA Clippers after Houston traded Hi M.
Final game expectation: Phoenix was second to last in 3s made during the most recent postseason. Gordon has made a career as a reliable catch-and-shoot threat from the outside who stretches the floor, which can open up more mid-range shooting for others and interior play for Deandre Ayton and other frontcourt players.
Position: Small forward
Age/year in the league: 28, five years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: Had a career-high 49.1% shooting, and a league-best 44.4% from beyond the arc, scored 5.6 points per game in 16 minutes played through 58 appearances last season with the Brooklyn Nets.
Playoff Expectations: Know how to play with Durant, who draws a lot of attention on drives and in the post. Watanabe keeps the defense honest to create dilemmas between himself, staying ready to shoot from the perimeter from skip passes, kick-outs and extra passes.
Position: Little forward/Power forward
Share: Two years, $5 million
Age/year in the league: 27, five years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: Scored a career high 9.7 points, 1.5 assists, 3.7 rebounds, nearly 22 minutes off the bench, shot nearly 51% and over 39% from deep and started in 42 of his 67 appearances last season for San Antonio.
Playoff Expectations: Replaces Craig and Mikal Bridges as a young versatile defender and playmaker who can continue to develop into the defensive stopper they need in the post and along the wings.
Position: Power forward/center
Share: One year
Age/year in the league: 25, five years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: Has a 5.7-point, 3.4-rebound, 49% field goal percentage per game in his career. He played in 66 games last season, averaging 4.9 points and three rebounds in 10 minutes for Sacramento’s second unit.
Playoff Expectations: If Bismack Biyombo doesn’t return to Phoenix, the Suns have Metu to replace him as a younger backup big for Ayton to help keep him out of foul trouble.
Share: Two years with player option
Age, year in the league: 25, five years
Key Stats for 2022-23 Regular Season: Played the last two years for the Portland Trail Blazers, posting 6.6 points and 5.4 rebounds, improving his 38.9% three-point shooting and 1.3 blocks per game. game in 78 appearances last season. His best production ever was in the 2021-22 season, when he averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 boards per game. game, and his career averages are 6.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 60.7% shooting.
Playoff Expectations: Will replace Jock Landale as Ayton’s most effective backup center, who can occasionally drain 3s, be a solid rim protector with great size at 245 pounds and improve Phoenix’s rebounding, which was 13th out of 16 teams last postseason.
The Suns made the signings of Watanabe, Metu, Bates-Diop and Eubanks official on Tuesday.