Channing Frye has reportedly turned down the final year of his contract with the Phoenix Suns, opting instead to test the unrestricted free-agent market.
Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski has the news:
Channing Frye has opted out of final year of his Phoenix contract and become a free agent, sources tell Yahoo. Suns were informed today.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 23, 2014
Frye, 31, had a player option for $6.8 million, but he will instead look to land a multi-year contract after a very solid 2013-14 season.
Just one year removed from sitting out the entire 2012-13 campaign due to a heart condition, Frye played all 82 games, averaging 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 0.7 steals and 0.8 blocks in 28.2 minutes per contest. The 6'11" power forward knocked down 2.0 three-pointers per game at a 37 percent clip, further reinforcing his unique value as a big man who can stretch the floor from the power forward position.
Moreover, as ESPN.com's Ethan Strauss argued, Frye might even be more valuable than the box scores suggest:
Very interested to see where Channing Frye lands. A more valuable player than counting stats would indicate— Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) June 23, 2014
The advanced numbers check out. According to NBA.com, the Suns averaged 110.4 points per 100 possessions and allowed just 104.4 while Frye was on the court, a net of plus-six points. Comparatively, when he was off the court, the Suns scored just 102.5 and gave up 103.0, a net of minus-0.5 points.
Frye isn't a sexy option, but he's a valuable role player who can create mismatches. While Wojnarowski notes the Suns would like to re-sign him, he won't be short on suitors.
ESPN's Marc Stein noted a few early candidates, while Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling argued the Miami Heat, fresh off their finals defeat, should enter the fray for Frye:
As stretch four with big role in Suns' surprising season, Frye said to be on radar of both Warriors & Cavs if he indeed opts for free agency— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2014
Channing Frye and Shaun Livingston are both free agents. And they're exactly who the Heat should go after. Could be too expensive though.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) June 23, 2014
A reunion with Steve Kerr and Alvin Gentry in Golden State certainly makes sense, especially if the Warriors miss out in the Kevin Love sweepstakes.
Of course, while Frye is indeed valuable, the Suns can probably afford to let him sign elsewhere if the price gets too high.
Markieff Morris looks ready to take over the 4 in what will be his fourth NBA season, while Ryan McDonough has three first-round picks in Thursday's stacked draft to fill any potential holes on the roster.