Ranking Phoenix Suns' 5 Most Believable 2014 NBA Free-Agency Rumors
From LeBron James to Eric Bledsoe, there are plenty of NBA free-agent rumors swirling around to rank. Although some may seem a bit far-fetched, the Phoenix Suns either have the assets or the cap flexibility to pull off all five of these.
Before we embark on a tour through the rumors, credit must be given to Suns general manager Ryan McDonough and new head coach Jeff Hornacek. The duo has done an amazing job of developing a system on the court and working together to bring in the players that fit said system.
Without the Suns' success last season, there is no chance acquiring Carmelo Anthony or James would be a possibility. The fans now have hope that the front office can sign, find and develop talent to compete in the tough Western Conference.
5. Signing LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony
While it might be a long shot, the Phoenix Suns have the cap space, flexibility and talent to attract both Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James, as Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports.
The Suns currently have around $33 million in cap space right now, but do have the flexibility and assets to clear the additional $10 million needed to offer James and Anthony max contracts. The appeal would be for both of them to team up with Goran Dragic and James’ buddy, Eric Bledsoe.
Not only would that form an elite core, but the franchise has a plethora of future picks and young talent to supplement the roster and is seeking out veterans willing to play for the minimum. Combine James’ passing, Anthony’s shooting, Dragic’s creativity and Bledsoe’s explosive defense and the Suns would surely be one of the best teams in the league.
The problem with this scenario is that LeBron would need to leave the Miami Heat and Pat Riley.
While Phoenix is certainly one of the better NBA destinations, James would have to play for an owner who helped lead the charge toward the lockout two years ago. This is also the same owner who notoriously sold draft picks instead of supplementing his championship-caliber roster with more talent.
Let’s just say that this is one of the more far-fetched rumors regarding the Suns, despite the financial possibilities.
4. Offering Gordon Hayward Max Offer Sheet
The Phoenix Suns have a massive hole at the small forward position and are preparing to offer Gordon Hayward a max contract, according to Jody Genessy. Outside of P.J. Tucker, whom the Suns might bring back, the team lacks a legitimate small forward.
Meanwhile, Hayward has developed nicely with the Utah Jazz and become a vital part of the Jazz rotation, despite wins not following. His ability to create off the dribble and shoot from three fits perfectly with Hornacek’s system.
However, in order for Hayward to change teams it will likely require a max contract offer. The Suns have plenty of cap space to throw at a player like Hayward, but will they? More importantly, would the Jazz match a max offer? This will be an interesting situation to follow, even if the Suns are not the ones offering the deal.
3. Signing Luol Deng
Luol Deng to the Phoenix Suns has been a rumor since before last season’s trade deadline. His name popped up again in an article by NBA.com’s David Aldridge. The partnership makes sense, because Deng is a good fit in Hornacek’s offense, but is also a versatile defender. Deng has consistently served as a good on-ball defender, while improving his team’s defense.
Deng will not provide elite outside shooting, but he is more than capable of being a solid spot-up shooter and can play as a small-ball power forward. He might not be able to put the Suns over the top in the conference, but he is a quality player in nearly every aspect of the game.
While a Deng signing seems plausible, it would not come for lack of suitors. Deng, while a second- or third-tier free agent, will be waiting to see how the landscape unfolds before agreeing to a contract with anyone.
Obviously, many of the teams will be targeting LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but Deng will surely serve as a backup option for many of those teams, including the Suns.
2. Signing Kent Bazemore
With the Suns hurting for guard depth, Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears mentions that Phoenix is interested in Los Angeles Lakers’ unrestricted free agent Kent Bazemore. While not a big name, Bazemore could fill a vital role for a small price, as he has proven to be a very good defender with an improving offensive game.
Bazemore earned his stripes playing limited minutes for the Golden State Warriors before being dealt to the Lakers last winter. Although he played only 13.6 minutes per game this season, he performed quite well, especially in an expanded role with the Lakers.
The main reason this makes sense for the Suns is because Bazemore is a young guard who can defend both point guards and shooting guards.
Considering the Suns played Gerald Green, Archie Goodwin and Leandro Barbosa at shooting guard last season, the Suns definitely need some more depth and another perimeter defender—not to mention, a defensive tandem of Eric Bledsoe and Bazemore would be quite fun to watch.
1. Matching Any Eric Bledsoe Offer Sheet
This has been a highly talked-about subject. After the Suns acquired Bledsoe last summer, many thought a high offer to Bledsoe would be too much for the Los Angeles Clippers to match.
Next, Bledsoe took the court and helped form one of the best backcourts in the league. Bledsoe’s emergence with the Suns drove his price up. However, is he worth a max contract? Would the Suns match a max offer?
After seeing how well Dragic and Bledsoe played together, it seems inconceivable that the Suns would let Bledsoe walk. While he might not be a superstar in the making, his effectiveness sharing the ball with Dragic made the Suns unique. Furthermore, his defense could push the Suns to another level, with more help of course.
The fact that the Suns have the flexibility to potentially offer two max contracts AND keep Bledsoe is all you need to know. The team has multiple options, and matching any offer to Bledsoe seems like a foregone conclusion.