Suns Rumors

Bulls To Sign Shaquille Harrison, Waive Omer Asik

6:13pm: Sources tell Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic that Asik will be waived (Twitter link). Harrison will receive a standard contract rather than a two-way deal, according to Charania (Twitter link).

6:06pm: The Bulls may waive veteran center Omer Asik to make room for Harrison, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Asik’s $11,286,516 contract for this season is fully guaranteed, but he only has a $3MM guarantee on his $11,977,527 salary for 2019/20. Chicago was hoping he might be useful in trade talks, but may decide that opening his roster spot is more valuable. The 32-year-old has been away from the team with inflammatory arthritis and there’s no timetable for him to return. He played just four games after being acquired in a trade with the Pelicans in February. However, Johnson adds that a final decision hasn’t been made.

OCTOBER 20, 5:47pm: Shaquille Harrison, who was waived by the Suns earlier this week, will sign with the Bulls, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Harrison traveled to Chicago this weekend in anticipation of the move, Charania adds.

Harrison, who was part of the final cuts in Phoenix on Monday, played 23 games for the Suns during his rookie season, averaging 6.6 points and 2.4 assists per night. With no established point guards on the roster, he was given a shot at winning the starting job heading into camp, but Phoenix opted to go in a different direction.

The Bulls have all 15 roster spots filled, along with both two-way slots, so a move will have to be made before Harrison can be added. Rookie guard Ryan Arcidiacono is the only player without a fully guaranteed deal.

2018 Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Phoenix Suns.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Trevor Ariza: One year, $15MM. Signed using cap space.
    • Jamal Crawford: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
    • None
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-1: Deandre Ayton — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 1-10: Mikal Bridges — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-31: Elie Okobo — Signed to four-year, $6.12MM contract. First two years guaranteed. Signed using cap space.
  • 2-46: De’Anthony Melton — Signed to two-year, $2.37MM contract. Fully guaranteed. Signed using room exception.
  • 2-59: George King — Signed to two-way contract.

Extensions:

  • Devin Booker — Signed five-year, maximum salary rookie scale extension. Starts at 25% of the cap. Projected value of $158.05MM. Starts in 2019/20.
    • Note: Starting salary will be worth 27.5% of the cap if Booker makes All-NBA Third Team, 28.5% for Second Team, and 30% for Third Team.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Used cap space; now over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $105.5MM in salary.
  • $3.5MM of room exception still available ($949K used on De’Anthony Melton).

Check out the Phoenix Suns’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Devin Booker is still around. In fact, Booker signed a rookie scale max five-year extension this summer, which will make him a franchise cornerstone for years to come.

Beyond Booker and his sweet shooting stroke, the Suns look a whole lot different than they did last season. In fact, Phoenix had the biggest roster turnover of any team this offseason.

The Suns made some history in May by hiring Igor Koskokov, the first European-born head coach in NBA history. Koskokov spent 18 years in the league, most recently with the Jazz, before finally getting his big chance.

Draft night was guaranteed to be a pivotal moment in franchise history since the Suns had the top pick. They opted for center Deandre Ayton, who got his NBA career rolling with an 18-point, 10-rebound, 6-assist performance in his regular-season debut. Ayton could quickly develop into the one of the league’s premier big men, which would give the Suns a formidable inside-outside duo.

They swung a deal for another lottery pick, No. 10 selection Mikal Bridges, whom they project as their long-term solution at small forward. In the interim, Phoenix made a splash by signing Trevor Ariza to a one-year, $15MM contract.

Ariza’s contributions as a leader and winner will have a greater long-term impact than anything he does on the court this season. A sage, respected voice was needed in the locker room and they met Ariza’s price to provide it.

Ariza gave up a chance to play for a contender but he can re-enter the market next summer after cashing some big checks. He’ll put up some big numbers along the way and provide his usual solid defense, something the coaching staff can point out in the film room to the younger players.

Perhaps the most surprising personnel moves were made by owner Robert Sarver. During the latter stages of training camp, Sarver abruptly fired GM Ryan McDonough and several other executives. Typically, these types of decisions come right after a disappointing season rather than October in order to let the new regime shape the franchise as it sees fit. McDonough wasn’t going to win any popularity contests but the decisions he made this summer before clearing out his office will be felt for many years.

Read more

G League Notes: Moreland, Select Contracts, Harrison, Draft

Several NBA teams secured returning rights for players who were in camp with them but failed to make the 15-man roster. Raptors 905 acquired center Eric Moreland from the Canton Charge, Cleveland’s affiliate, for forward Kyle Wiltjer, according to a G League release. The Raptors waived Moreland a week ago. Raptors 905 pulled off a similar deal with the Texas Legends, the Mavericks’ affiliate, to acquire guard Kyle Collinsworth, who was waived at the same time as Moreland. Texas acquired the returning player rights to forwards C.J. Leslie and Kennedy Meeks, according to a G League release. The Delaware Blue Coats, the 76ers’ affiliate, gained the returning player rights of forward Cory Jefferson in a three-team swap with the Agua Caliente Clippers and the Legends, according to another G League post. The Sixers waived Jefferson on October 13th.

We have more from the G League:

  • The league is putting together a “working group” that will determine which players are eligible for select contracts, G League president Malcolm Turner said in a Q&A session posting on the league’s website. “That group will be charged with identifying appropriate, eligible, elite talent, not only in terms of on-court performance and potential, but also in terms overall readiness for the G League. In addition to identification, that working group will really help us monitor the rollout and execution of this professional path … that working group will be charged with developing its own framework and lens for eligible players.” Beginning next year, the G League will offer “select contracts” worth $125K to top prospects who are at least 18 years old but aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft.
  • Numerous NBA and G league executives, coaches, agents and players feel the select contract concept is intriguing, but there is widespread skepticism how much appeal the program will have to top-level prospects and how it will be implemented. Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a deep dive into the topic in a lengthy analysis piece.
  • The Arizona Suns traded away the returning player rights of Shaquille Harrison to the Memphis Hustle in a deal involving four players and a draft pick, according to another G League release. Harrison was the odd man out in the Suns’ point guard competition, as he was waived early this week. It was still somewhat surprising they traded away his rights. The Grizzlies gave themselves a little extra depth at the G League level as protection against another Mike Conley injury.
  • NBA veterans such as Willie Reed, Hakim Warrick, DeJuan Blair, and Arnett Moultrie could be among the higher selections in the annual G League draft, which takes place on Saturday, Adam Johnson of 2Ways10Days.com reports. The Salt Lake City Stars own the top pick.

NBA Teams With Open Roster Spots

When the Kings sign Troy Williams to a two-way contract after he clears waivers today, as is expected, they’ll become the 16th NBA team to fill all 17 of their available roster spots, with 15 players on standard contracts and two more on two-way pacts.

Still, that will leave nearly half of the league’s teams that will still have at least one opening on their rosters, either on the standard 15-man squad or in their two-way slots.

For many clubs, that decision is primarily financially motivated. Teams like the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Raptors, and Wizards all project to have pricey luxury tax bills at season’s end, so there’s no need for them to push those projected penalties higher by carrying an extra player they won’t use.

Other teams may simply prefer to preserve some roster flexibility rather than carrying a full 15-man squad. The Lakers, for instance, aren’t close to the tax line, but have an open roster spot for now. That could allow the team to make a trade or signing later to fortify its roster without costing anyone a job.

Listed below, with the help of our roster counts breakdown, are the teams that aren’t carrying full rosters.

Teams with an open 15-man roster spot:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Miami Heat
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Toronto Raptors
  • Washington Wizards
    • Note: The Wizards have two open roster spots and will need to fill one of them by October 30.

Teams with an open two-way slot:

  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
    • Note: The Blazers have two open two-way slots.
  • San Antonio Spurs

Suns Notes: Chandler, Canaan, Crawford, Ayton

At 36, Tyson Chandler may seem out of place on the rebuilding Suns, but he remains focused on providing the best possible example for his young teammates, writes Gina Mizell of The Athletic. Chandler, who is beginning his 18th NBA season, admits the process of getting ready is much different now than when he entered the league in 2001.

“When I was a rookie, I just had a bunch of nervous energy. You’re young and you can move all over the place,” he said. “Now everything is precise. Everything has a time. Even energy output, you just kind of measure everything you do now in this league. I used to get so pumped up. Now it’s all mental where I analyze what’s going on.”

Even so, Chandler isn’t ready to give up the NBA lifestyle. He hopes to reach at least 20 years in the league, although with an expiring contract that may happen somewhere other than Phoenix. He will help mentor No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton for now and may be a popular target at the trade deadline among teams that need frontcourt depth.

There’s more today out of Phoenix:

  • After experimenting with several options at point guard during the preseason, Isaiah Canaan will be the starter in tonight’s season opener, Mizell tweets. Coach Igor Kokoskov indicated that Devin Booker may finish out games at the position in an effort to get the best offensive lineup on the court.
  • Jamal Crawford finalized his contract with the Suns just in time for tonight’s game and is eager to get started with his new team. In a video posted by The Arizona Republic, the 38-year-old expressed confidence that Phoenix is moving in the right direction. “I feel re-energized, to be honest with you,” Crawford said. “I just like what the organization’s doing. I like the moves they’re making. I love the young players, I love the vets they brought in, so I’m excited.” Crawford said Kokoskov just asked him to be the same type of player he has been throughout his career.
  • Booker believes the addition of Ayton provides the chance to build a winner, relays Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Although Booker has blossomed into one of the NBA’s best young players, the Suns haven’t been competitive since he arrived. “It’s a start of his legacy,” Booker said of Ayton. “His new career. My job is to make it special for him and not make it like my first three years. So turn it around. Let him be known as a winner. Let our whole organization turn around to a winning franchise.”

Suns Exercise 2019/20 Option On Josh Jackson

The Suns have exercised their 2019/20 option on Josh Jackson‘s rookie scale contract, according to RealGM’s official transactions log. Picking up that third-year option, a procedural move, locks in Jackson’s $7,059,480 for the ’19/20 season.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2019/20 Rookie Scale Team Options]

The fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Jackson showed promise in his rookie year, averaging 13.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.5 SPG in 77 games (25.4 MPG). The Suns figure to lean a little more heavily on the 21-year-old in his second season, as he takes on a more prominent role among a solid group of forwards that also features Trevor Ariza, T.J. Warren, and rookie Mikal Bridges.

Interestingly, RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions doesn’t list a Suns decision on Dragan Bender‘s fourth-year option for 2019/20. Phoenix has until October 31 to make a decision on Bender’s option, worth $5,896,519, and the club still hasn’t announced Jackson’s option pickup. The Suns could exercise Bender’s option later and announce both moves at once.

Still, it’s worth noting that Bender was viewed by at least one Suns reporter as a candidate to be waived this week when the team needed to cut down its roster to the regular season limit. His 2019/20 option isn’t a lock to be exercised.

Suns Officially Sign Jamal Crawford

The Suns have officially filled the 15th spot on their regular season roster by signing Jamal Crawford, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. The team created a roster opening on Tuesday by waiving Davon Reed.Jamal Crawford of the Minnesota Timberwolves

Crawford, a three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner, reached an agreement with the Suns on Monday and has now signed a one-year, minimum salary contract with the club.

Per the NBA’s log of transactions, Crawford’s signing was completed on Tuesday, the first day of the regular season. As such, he should receive a full-season minimum salary rather than a prorated portion of the minimum. He’ll earn $2,393,887 and will count for $1,512,601 against Phoenix’s cap.

Although several teams – including the Warriors, Celtics, Sixers, and Lakers – reportedly showed interest in Crawford over the course of the offseason, he had trouble finding a new NBA home after averaging 10.3 PPG on .415/.331/.903 shooting for the Timberwolves in 2017/18. The 38-year-old could have exercised a $4.5MM player option in June to stay in Minnesota, Crawford didn’t love the role he played with the Wolves and sought a better fit, turning down that option and hitting the open market.

Crawford’s new team, the Suns, likely envisions the veteran in a ball-handling role. Besides Isaiah Canaan, Phoenix doesn’t have another experienced point guard on the roster — rookies De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo will provide depth at that spot after the team waived Shaquille Harrison this week.

[RELATED: Sixers Turned Down Suns’ Trade Offer For T.J. McConnell]

Besides Reed and Harrison, the Suns also cut Darrell Arthur, clearing the way for Crawford, Richaun Holmes, and Canaan to make the team. Holmes and Canaan both have non-guaranteed deals.

Crawford isn’t expected to be active for the Suns’ home opener against Dallas tonight, head coach Igor Kokoskov said today (Twitter link via Gina Mizell of The Athletic).

Sixers Turned Down Suns’ Trade Offer For McConnell

The Suns, who were on the lookout for a point guard for much of the offseason, approached the Sixers in recent weeks to inquire on T.J. McConnell, league sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. According to Pompey, Phoenix was willing to part with a second-round pick for McConnell, but the 76ers passed on that offer.

Philadelphia’s decision to turn down a second-round pick for McConnell comes as no surprise. The 26-year-old has developed into a regular part of the Sixers’ rotation, providing backup minutes at point guard and serving as one of the club’s only reliable ball-handlers. With the 76ers still unsure about what they’ll get from Markelle Fultz this season, it would take a strong offer to pry away McConnell, who is earning just $1.6MM.

It’s also worth noting that the Sixers probably don’t need to add any more second-rounders to their overflowing stash of draft picks. In addition to holding all its own selections, Philadelphia has also acquired two extra second-round picks for 2019, two more for 2020, and three for 2021. The team has even added the Pistons’ 2023 second-rounder for good measure.

The Suns have been linked to several point guard trade targets since sending Brandon Knight to the Rockets over the summer. Cory Joseph, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Patrick Beverley are among the veteran point guards the team has reportedly looked into, but Phoenix is said to be reluctant to part with a first-round pick in any deal.

Terry Rozier‘s name is another one that has been frequently connected to the Suns, and John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweeted this week that the club would have “loved” to acquire the Celtics point guard. According to Gambadoro, both Ryan McDonough and new interim GM James Jones attempted to make a deal for Rozier, but he’s “very unlikely” to be traded.

Suns Waive Davon Reed

The Suns have waived Davon Reed, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team was expected to either trade or waive Reed, as was reported on Monday.

Phoenix will incur a cap hit of $1.4MM this season unless another team claims the former second-rounder, as Bobby Marks of ESPN.com relays (ESPN now link). Reed was set to receive approximately $1.61MM during the 2019/20 season and $1.75MM during the following season. Each of those seasons has a July 10 non-guaranteed trigger date.

The move clears a roster spot for Jamal Crawford, who agreed to a deal with Phoenix earlier this week. The team is short on experienced options at the point guard position, so Crawford could see playing time right away.

NBA Teams With Most, Least Roster Continuity

As usual, the 2018 NBA offseason featured plenty of player movement, with new rookies entering the league, free agents changing teams, and a total of 31 trades being completed between the end of the 2017/18 season and 2018/19’s opening night.

Some teams were more involved in that summer carousel than others. The Hawks, for instance, will enter the season carrying only seven players who finished last season with the team. The Suns will also bring back just seven players from last year’s squad, and that number figures to drop to six once the team completes its reported signing of Jamal Crawford, assuming Davon Reed is the odd man out.

Because teams are permitted to carry 15 players on standard contracts and two more on two-way deals, the maximum number of players a club could have brought back was 17. No team got that high, but the Heat and Jazz are each bringing back 14 players from last year’s rosters. Impressively, all 14 players on Miami’s standard roster are returning players — only the club’s two-way players are new.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Roster Counts]

While many teams turned over their two-way contract slots entirely, several clubs are bringing back those players, either keeping them on two-way deals or promoting them to their active rosters. The Nuggets, Bulls, Pacers, and Lakers are among the teams who retained both of their two-way players from last season.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Listed below are the number of returning players for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, from most to fewest. Bringing back a significant number of players doesn’t necessarily lead to regular season success, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a few of the teams near the top of this list enjoy fast starts due to their players’ familiarity with each other, while teams near the bottom of the list may take some time to get used to their changes.

Here’s the returning-player count for each team:

  1. Miami Heat: 14
  2. Utah Jazz: 14
  3. Boston Celtics: 13
  4. Chicago Bulls: 12
  5. Denver Nuggets: 12
  6. New York Knicks: 12
  7. Cleveland Cavaliers: 11
  8. Indiana Pacers: 11
  9. Philadelphia 76ers: 11
  10. Portland Trail Blazers: 11
  11. Sacramento Kings: 11
  12. Toronto Raptors: 11
  13. Charlotte Hornets: 10
  14. Detroit Pistons: 10
  15. Golden State Warriors: 10
    • Note: Patrick McCaw remains a restricted free agent. The Warriors’ returning player count could increase to 11 if he re-signs.
  16. Los Angeles Clippers: 10
  17. Milwaukee Bucks: 10
  18. Dallas Mavericks: 9
  19. Memphis Grizzlies: 9
  20. Minnesota Timberwolves: 9
  21. New Orleans Pelicans: 9
  22. Oklahoma City Thunder: 9
  23. Orlando Magic: 9
  24. Washington Wizards: 9
  25. Brooklyn Nets: 8
  26. Houston Rockets: 8
  27. Los Angeles Lakers: 8
  28. San Antonio Spurs: 8
  29. Atlanta Hawks: 7
  30. Phoenix Suns: 7
    • Note: The Suns’ returning player count will drop to 6 if Jamal Crawford replaces Davon Reed on the roster, as is expected.