The Phoenix Suns made defensive-minded power forward Markieff Morris the 13th pick in the NBA draft and now they need to turn to free agency to shore up a spot or two. With the selection of Morris, the team is now probably not going to target a power forward in free agency. That leaves shooting guard as the main need. Of course, this all depends on if there is a lockout, and if so, how long it could last. Read on to see some free agent shooting guards who could help the Suns return to the playoffs and maybe more.
Nick Young had a breakout year and averaged 17.4 points per game. Young is a pretty athletic guard and he is only 26 years old. He improved his outside shooting last year and had a career best scoring year.
He is just the type of player the Suns could use, a young scorer. However, Young is a restricted free agent and Washington could counter any offer. That being said, it would probably take a contract in the range of four or five years and $20-25 million. That is a pretty good price for a young and improving shooting guard, but you never know with Suns owner Robert Sarver.
Jason Richardson was traded from the Suns to the Magic in the Hedo Turkoglu and Marcin Gortat deal and most people have forgotten how effective he was in Phoenix. He was a borderline 20 point per game scorer and was our primary offensive option, but faded once he went to Orlando.
J-Rich is an unrestricted free agent, and he probably will be looking to either join a contender or take the biggest paycheck he could find. I’m thinking that maybe he will take a discount to come to Phoenix since he had great success here and was well liked by the fans. It would probably take a deal in the two or three year range and $12-15 million. This deal is less likely since Richardson is going to be 31 next season and the Suns really need to get younger.
Michael Redd has been injury riddled for three seasons now and he will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Before his injuries, Redd was one of the best shooters in the league and a dynamic scorer. He was always in the 20 point range and could be counted on to shoot the lights out. Since then, he has gone from franchise player to gone from the franchise.
Redd is the definition of a low risk/high reward player. If healthy, he could dramatically improve a number of teams (including the Suns). He would be a great fit alongside Steve Nash and his outside shooting would be very welcome. Redd probably would come cheap, no more than $3 or 4 million a year and he’s bound to be hungry to prove he can still ball.
Jamal Crawford is probably the best free agent shooting guard and thus will get a bunch of attention from teams. Crawford is one of the better pure scoring shooting guards and has the potential to light it up any given game. He has deep range on his shot and can drive by his defenders at will. Crawford has embraced a sixth man role and become one of the best sixth men in the league.
Crawford should be looking to land on a team that needs a starting shooting guard and Phoenix fits the bill. Crawford would become the starting shooting guard and he would improve the team instantly. He probably is going to look for a deal of four or five years and $35-45 million and if this were the case, he would be out of the Suns' price range. But it doesn't hurt to contact Crawford and gauge his interest.
J.R. Smith is one of the NBA’s biggest enigmas. One game he looks like the best player on the floor and the next game, he looks like one of the worst players on the floor. He has a ton of talent but it seems like he always has times when he performs way under his talent level. I’m not sure if it’s focus issues or personal problems or something else, but when he is focused, he is one of the best scorers in the league.
He could easily average 15-20 points a game if he was focused, and the Suns could use a focused J.R. Smith. He has very deep range on his shot and incredible athleticism, just ask Gary Neal. Smith’s skill set would be perfect in Phoenix and he could improve his game dramatically with Steve Nash feeding him the rock.
Smith will no doubt be coveted by many teams in free agency, but the Suns have the ability to offer a starting job. It should take a contract around five years and $35-40 million to secure Smith’s services. The one problem is that Smith is a high risk/high reward player and $7 or 8 million a year is a lot to pay for a player who is so sporadic.