Suns Rumors

Suns Re-Sign Ish Wainright To Two-Way Deal

AUGUST 4: The Suns’ two-way deal with Wainright is now official, according to a press release from the team.

AUGUST 3: Ish Wainright will return to the Suns on a two-way contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. The deal was confirmed by Wainwright’s agents, Jim Tanner and Deirunas Visockas of Tandem.

The 27-year-old power forward made his NBA debut last season after three years of playing overseas. He went to training camp with the Raptors, but was waived before the start of the season. Five days later, Phoenix signed him to a two-way contract, which was converted to a standard deal on the final day of the regular season.

The former Baylor star appeared in 45 games as a rookie and averaged 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.0 minutes per night. He got into seven playoff games, but saw just 3.7 minutes per contest.

The Suns filled their other two-way opening earlier today when they signed Duane Washington Jr.

Heat Notes: Lowry, Crowder, Yurtseven, Jovic

Heat point guard Kyle Lowry still won’t reveal the specifics of the family situation that caused him to miss nine games in January and February, and he tells Doug Smith of The Toronto Star that it hasn’t been fully resolved. Lowry said the issue continued to be a distraction even after he resumed playing.

“It’s definitely something that kind of derailed my whole season and kept me derailed for a long time,” Lowry said. “Still to this day, it’s still something I deal with every single day, I actually got a phone call just now about it. It’s life, life happens and you just have to continue to get better and focus on the things you can control and try to help as best you can because at the end of the day, I can’t do this or that, all I can do is go to people who can help me and hopefully I can help them and we can kind of work together and collaborate.”

Lowry was in Toronto today to take part in the Nick Nurse Foundation golf tournament. Even though he chose to leave the Raptors in free agency last summer, Lowry has remained friendly with his former coach.

“Nick’s a friend of mine and we got closer and closer and as the years went on we trusted each other more and more,” Lowry said. “To keep a relationship with a guy like him, obviously I’m here for a reason, he’s such a great man, he’s helped me in my career tremendously and all I can do is try to give back as much to him as he’s given to me.”

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Miami would be interested in bringing back versatile forward Jae Crowder, but there’s no easy way to match salaries in a trade with the Suns, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Crowder, who is entering the final year of his contract, raised some eyebrows this week when he tweeted“Change is inevitable.. Growth is optional.!! I believe its time for a change… I wanna continue growing!” Although Crowder doesn’t specify that he’s talking about basketball, the message has led to speculation that he wants to play somewhere else.
  • Omer Yurtseven will have to improve defensively to earn regular playing time, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. Winderman adds that the Heat view Yurtseven as a backup to starting center Bam Adebayo, but he’ll have to compete with Dewayne Dedmon for those minutes.
  • First-round pick Nikola Jovic won’t play for the Serbian national team in the World Cup qualifier or EuroBasket, according to Winderman (Twitter link). Jovic will focus on preparing for Miami’s training camp, which starts in late September. Yurtseven is also expected to bypass international competitions with Turkey (Twitter link).

Suns Sign Duane Washington To Two-Way Deal

AUGUST 3: The Suns have issued a press release officially announcing the signing of Washington.

AUGUST 2: Free agent guard Duane Washington Jr. has agreed to a two-way contract with the SunsESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Washington, 22, averaged 9.9 PPG and 1.8 APG in 20.2 MPG for the Pacers as a rookie last season while appearing in 48 games, including seven starts. Washington went undrafted out of Ohio State.

Phoenix has both of its two-way slots open, so the team will able to sign another two-way player in addition to Washington, who adds depth at the point behind Chris Paul and Cameron Payne.

Washington was waived last month as Indiana cleared cap space to give restricted free agent Deandre Ayton an offer sheet that Phoenix matched. Washington played most of last season on a two-way deal, then received a standard multiyear contract. However, his salary for next season was not guaranteed and he was waived just before it became guaranteed.

Crowder Sends Out Eye-Opening Tweet

  • A tweet from the Suns’ Jae Crowder created a stir, Jeremy Cluff of the Arizona Republic notes. Crowder wrote “Change is inevitable.. Growth is optional.!! I believe its time for a change… I wanna continue growing!” That fueled speculation that he wants to be traded. Crowder is entering his walk year and has been the subject of trade rumors, particularly involving one of his former teams, the Heat. The Suns are above the tax line and might look to shed some salary.

And-Ones: McCormack, Luxury Tax, OKC Blue, Harrison

David McCormack has signed with Besiktas in Turkey, according to a team press release. McCormack was reportedly signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Timberwolves but apparently chose to begin his pro career in Europe.

The undrafted big man out of Kansas was a prominent member of the Jayhawks’ national championship team. He spent all four of his college seasons at Kansas, starting 96 of 132 total games. In 2021/22, he averaged 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 contests (21.9 MPG).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • A total of 10 teams are currently projected to collectively spend $650MM in luxury tax payments next season, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. That would an NBA record for tax penalties. The Warriors, Nets, Clippers, Bucks, Lakers, Sixers, Celtics, Suns, Nuggets and Mavericks all project as taxpayer teams for the time being.
  • The G League’s Oklahoma City Blue will continue to play the Thunder’s Paycom Center next season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. The Blue also played there last season, having been the only G League team to host their games in an NBA arena. They often had to play late morning or early afternoon games with the Thunder playing there on the same night.
  • Former NBA swingman Andrew Harrison has signed with Yukatel Merkezefendi Belediyesi in Turkey, as JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors relays (Twitter link). Harrison has suited up with the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Pelicans during his NBA career. In his last NBA season, he played a combined 16 games with Cleveland and New Orleans in 2018/19.

Cam Johnson Hopes To Remain With Suns

Cam Johnson never had a reason to think the Suns might move him this summer, but that changed when news broke about Kevin Durant‘s trade request. In an interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic, Johnson talks about his reaction to hearing rumors that he might be sent to Brooklyn in a Durant deal.

“I’m like, nah man, don’t put me in this,” Johnson recalled. “And next thing you know, whoever it was, Windy (ESPN’s Brian Windhorst) or somebody on the TV was like naming the potential trade targets. Naming DA (Deandre Ayton), me, Mikal (Bridges). And I was like, come on man, but it’s the business. Like I said, it’s the business. If that’s something that gets done, then that was just part of God’s plan and you’ve got to keep on rolling. But like I said, you’ve got to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and try to win a championship and then on the flip side, we’ve got to do what’s in our best interests to further our careers and try to be our best selves.”

Johnson has been part of two very successful seasons in Phoenix, with the Suns reaching the NBA Finals in 2021 and then posting the league’s best record this year. However, this season had a bittersweet ending with a 33-point loss to Dallas in Game 7 of Western Conference semifinals. Johnson said the sting of that humiliation still hasn’t worn off.

“The silver lining is that you get an extra chip on your shoulder,” he said. “They’re adding up, too, I tell you that much, and it gives you motivation for every workout in the morning and every extra lift, whatever it may be. It’s like, we did get pounded in a Game 7 and yes, that was embarrassing.”

Johnson addresses a few other topics in the lengthy interview:

The rookie scale extension that he’s eligible to receive this offseason:

“There’s a business side of it which you open your eyes to and then there’s the personal side of it which you have to open your eyes to. There’s always a balance between the two. Definitely as the summer goes on, and we can call a spade a spade. All these trade rumors going around. That’s the business side of it and you have to expect a team to do what’s in their best interests and you have to expect individual people, in turn, to do what’s in their best interests, but the bottom line is I’ve really loved my time here and if we can get something done, I’d be very happy about it.”

The Suns’ decision to match Indiana’s four-year, $133MM offer sheet for Ayton:

“It’s awesome. I’m so happy for him. He deserved it. And the money is one thing, but just having him back on the team and the opportunity to continue to build what we have been building is a lot of fun, but he deserves every penny of that. I’m so glad that this organization was able to keep him. I’ve really enjoyed playing with him the past three years and the sky’s really the limit for him.”

The prospect of another season with the same core roster:

“I’d love it. I’d love it. I think there is something to be said about continuity. I think there’s so much that we’ve learned in games from Year 1 to Year 2 to Year 3, I just think back to my rookie year of training camp and from a bird’s eye view, just how basic everything was that we’re talking about and how much it develops and changes as we progress. So, I think that continuity for us is huge.”

Fences Need To Be Mended With Ayton

  • The Suns matched the Pacers’ offer sheet for Deandre Ayton but there are still fences to be mended between the team and its starting center, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his podcast (hat tip to RealGM). “The weirdness of the Ayton situation, both the contract negotiations, the widespread perception, I’m talking widespread around the league that the bridge was pretty much burned between Ayton and the team,” he said. “The comments that Monty Williams made after Game 7 when he pulled Ayton. There’s clearly some mending of fences that has to happen there. Can it happen? Is this just a ‘we’re waiting it out until we can trade him’ situation? That’s another interesting human dynamic.”

Suns Sign Monty Williams To Long-Term Extension

JULY 27: The extension is official, the Suns announced (via Twitter).

JULY 23: The Suns and Monty Williams, the NBA’s reigning Coach of the Year, have agreed on a long-term contract extension, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Williams had two years left on his original five-year contract. He’ll have several more years added to that deal.

Williams was the head coach in New Orleans from 2010-15 and the Pelicans won just two playoff games during that time. Williams was chosen as Phoenix’s head coach after an assistant coaching stint with Philadelphia.

Williams has emerged as one of the league’s premier head coaches. Phoenix reached the 2021 NBA Finals and won a franchise record 64 regular-season victories last season. The Suns, who recently matched Indiana’s offer sheet for center Deandre Ayton, should continue to be a contender for years to come behind All-Star Devin Booker.

Overall, Williams has gone 149-78 (.656) in his three seasons with Phoenix.

Celtics Emerge As Serious Kevin Durant Suitor

6:26am: The Celtics offered Brown, White, and a draft pick to the Nets in exchange for Durant, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who reports that Brooklyn turned down that offer and countered by asking for Brown, Marcus Smart, multiple draft picks, and possibly one additional rotation player.

The Celtics aren’t currently inclined to include Smart along with multiple other picks or players, but they’re considering their next move in the negotiations, according to Charania, who suggests that Boston has emerged as a “serious” potential landing spot for Durant. No deal is imminent, but the C’s view Durant as a player who could be the missing piece as they pursue a title, Charania writes.

Charania also reports that the Suns “appear to be all but eliminated” from the Durant sweepstakes with Deandre Ayton back under contract and ineligible to be traded.

5:58am: The Celtics are among the teams engaged in discussions with the Nets about a possible Kevin Durant trade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who hears that Boston has been in “regular contact” with Brooklyn.

It doesn’t appear the two sides have made any significant progress toward a deal, however, with Wojnarowski reporting that Boston isn’t any closer to acquiring Durant than a handful of his other suitors are. However, Woj says that the Celtics’ ability to include Jaylen Brown as a centerpiece in an offer makes the club “formidable in its pursuit.”

The Celtics view All-NBA forward Jayson Tatum as off-limits in any hypothetical Durant deal, per Wojnarowski. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, that leaves just seven contracts that Boston could trade without restrictions, led by Brown.

Wojnarowski suggests that a Celtics offer could theoretically include Brown and up to three first-round picks (2025, 2027, and 2029), as well as pick swaps in 2024 and 2026.

Because Brown is earning approximately $28.7MM in 2022/23 while Durant is making $44.1MM, the Celtics would have to include about $6.5MM in additional salary in order to meet the NBA’s salary-matching requirements.

Al Horford ($26.5MM), Marcus Smart ($17.2MM), Derrick White ($16.9MM), Robert Williams ($10.9MM), Grant Williams ($4.3MM), and Payton Pritchard ($2.2MM) are Boston’s other movable players, Marks notes. All are expected to be part of the team’s regular rotation in 2022/23.

While Durant hasn’t backed off his request to be traded out of Brooklyn, there’s a sense that the Nets also haven’t gained any real traction in any of their trade talks involving the former MVP, says Wojnarowski. The club continues to seek a return that includes “impactful” players, along with multiple unprotected first-round picks and swaps, sources tell ESPN.

The Raptors, Heat, and Suns are among the other teams believed to have interest in Durant, Wojnarowski writes. The 33-year-old has reportedly identified Miami and Phoenix of two of his preferred landing spots.

It’s unclear how Durant would feel about landing in Boston, but since he has four years remaining on his contract, a team trading for him wouldn’t have to worry about him leaving as a free agent in a year or two.

Are The Suns Good Enough To Justify A Large Tax Payment?

  • The Suns seem committed to being a taxpaying team after matching the Pacers’ offer sheet for Deandre Ayton, and Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic examines whether the roster is good enough to justify that investment. Phoenix currently has $167.1MM in guaranteed salary, well above the projected $150.267MM tax threshold, and is facing a projected $34.8MM tax bill.