David Zalubowski/Associated Press
The Phoenix Suns were nothing if not ambitious in their futile pursuit of LeBron James, but at what cost?
The Suns were fortunate to score a meeting in Cleveland with Rich Paul, James' agent, but saw Channing Frye fly to Orlando shortly thereafter. The 31-year-old's return from a heart condition played a pivotal part in Phoenix's surprising rise from the ashes of the Western Conference. According to NBA.com, the Suns scored nearly eight points more per 100 possessions with Frye, the team's chief pick-and-pop practitioner, on the floor.
With those bits of business beyond their control, the Suns must now hunker down in their efforts to re-sign Eric Bledsoe. That shouldn't be too problematic, given Phoenix's ability to match any offer for their restricted free agent, though finding the right mix of talent around Bledsoe and Goran Dragic will still be paramount to the Suns taking the next step into playoff contention out West.
General manager Ryan McDonough must have thought Isaiah Thomas qualified as "right."
Completing a sign-and-trade that sent the draft rights to Alex Oriakhi and a $7 million trade exception to the Sacramento Kings, the Suns landed the Sacramento Kings point guard on a steal of a contract—four years and $27 million, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
This does not preclude letting Bledsoe go, as Phoenix's notion of running out two floor generals at all times requires having three quality ones on the roster. Thomas just adds to one of the deadliest backcourts in the Association, making it awfully hard for opponents to run the floor with these Suns.
Don't allow the re-signing of P.J. Tucker to a three-year deal worth $16.5 million—per AZCentral.com's Paul Coro— to fly under the radar, though. The underrated small forward was a key cog in Phoenix's system last year, rebounding well for his position, thriving on the defensive end and providing contributions from the perimeter.
Phoenix might not have secured LeBron, but it certainly used its cap well thus far.