Despite winning 48 games during the 2013-14 season, the Phoenix Suns missed out on postseason action for a fourth consecutive year. General manager Ryan McDonough will aim to end that playoff drought during free agency by upgrading the current roster—be it through signings or trades.
According to AZCentral Sports’ Paul Coro, the Suns have expressed a desire to retain their own free agents—Eric Bledsoe, Channing Frye and P.J. Tucker. Those guys made up three-fifths of the starting rotation and accounted for 15.5 combined win shares, per Basketball-Reference.com. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the front office wants to see them return.
Phoenix has also expressed interest in superstar free agents such as LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—who hasn’t?
Additionally, they’ve contacted Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng, Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Thomas, Ed Davis, Patrick Patterson, Josh McRoberts, Danny Granger and Marvin Williams, per Coro’s article.
Coro explained that the Suns’ interest in those names varies. It’s clear, however, that management is turning over every rock in search of gems that can vault the team into contention.
Signing players is an obvious priority, but what if the Suns decide to target talents via trade? Phoenix still has plenty of cap space, young assets and future draft picks to offer, so pulling off a “win now” swap equates to a viable plan B.
Assuming that the Suns intend to match any offer sheet extended to Bledsoe—and reports suggest that’s the case—the backcourt will remain the team’s biggest strength.
With Bledsoe, Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, Ish Smith and first-round pick Tyler Ennis, Phoenix has a plethora of guards capable of carrying the load. As far as the frontcourt goes, well, that’s a different story.
Tucker and Frye—two frontcourt starters—may not be back next season. Miles Plumlee played very well during his first year as a full-time NBA starter at center, but the interior is clearly an area Phoenix can stand to improve.
There aren’t any realistically available, All-Star-caliber bigs on the free-agent market—aside from an aging Gasol. As a result, the Suns' front office should consider a variety of trades that could provide upgrades and depth down low. But what big men fall into the category of potential targets?