Suns News: Offseason

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Superbone
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Suns News: Offseason

Post by Superbone » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:05 am

https://theathletic.com/1992517/2020/08 ... eeklyemail
Holmes: Former Villanova star Mikal Bridges is shining in the NBA bubble

Mikal Bridges.

That’s it. That’s the column. Thanks for reading and continuing to support The Athletic.

Hilarious, I know. And obviously I’m kidding. But we have to talk about Bridges’ stellar play in the Orlando bubble since the NBA restart in late July. I mean, it feels as if everyone is beginning to learn of the former Villanova standout. In fact, late Monday night after the Phoenix Suns’ 128-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, when he scored 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from deep with six rebounds, “Mikal Bridges” was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the United States.

Random? Extremely. Was it still cool to see? Absolutely.



Apparently, the trend was started by Phoenix-based podcaster Mike Vigil, who can be found on Twitter @protectedpick. Bridges had no idea about the social media storm that awaited Tuesday morning.

“I wake up the next morning and my phone is kind of (blowing up), and I go on Twitter and the first thing trending is my name,” Bridges said on the Verizon Up Bubbleside chat live Twitter stream. “So I’m thinking, ‘What the hell did I do, man?’ And I’m like, ‘Listen, I’m a good dude. I didn’t do anything crazy.’ I click to (see what’s up) and it’s just tweets. It’s just, like ‘Mikal Bridges, Mikal Bridges,’ nothing else to it. It was like 7K tweets. I woke up so confused.”

I’m sure you remember his whirlwind of a draft day, June 21, 2018. Bridges, who played his high school ball at Great Valley in Malvern, Pa., followed by a decorated three-year career at nearby Villanova where he averaged 17.7 points and 5.3 rebounds as a junior, was selected 10th overall by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers — the team he grew up dreaming of playing for. His mother, Tyneeha Rivers, was a human resources executive for Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment, which handles hiring for the franchise. It just made sense. The stars had aligned. One of Philadelphia’s prominent sons was staying put. And needless to say, it was an emotional moment for Rivers and her son.


Mikal Bridges shakes hands with commissioner Adam Silver after the Sixers drafted him at No. 10. (Brad Penner / USA Today)
“It’s amazing, it’s an experience I’ll never forget,” she said on ESPN’s draft broadcast that day. “I’m so excited (Mikal) is coming home to be a part of our Sixers family.”

It was a dream come true for the then 21-year-old. It was perfect. Almost too perfect. Then, suddenly it wasn’t.

About 45 minutes later, Bridges was traded for Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, who was selected by the Suns with the No. 16 pick, and a 2021 first-round pick. Was it a disappointing moment for Bridges? Devastating is probably a more accurate emotion. But from a career perspective, it’s starting to work out for the former Wildcat. Smith’s rookie season was derailed by a series of setbacks and he’s spent most of his career in the G League. Bridges, on the other hand, is a blooming star in Phoenix alongside Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
The comments section on this article if funny. A whole bunch of Philly fans upset about the trade.
Wormwood/Superbone 2019/2020 season bet: Suns win < 30 games, Wormwood wins, else 'Bone wins. 1 month avatar shame starting July 1st of winner's choosing. ACCOMPLISHED! 34 wins in a shortened season!

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ShelC
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by ShelC » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:13 am

The Bridges trending thing was pretty funny. Suns Twitter was a lot of fun during the bubble and there are a lot of good accounts and fans out there. The players seem into it as well. Love that he's developing and his shot came around in Orlando.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Superbone » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:29 pm

http://arizonarepublic.az.newsmemory.co ... =3451f4fea
READY TO TAKE CHARGE
Suns eager to control own destiny in 2020-21

Caris LeVert had Phoenix’s play-in tournament fate in the palm of his hands as the final seconds ticked away. h Nearly unguardable all night, LeVert dribbled toward CJ McCollum, got a clean look on a 23-footer, but misfired to conclude Brooklyn’s

134-133 loss Thursday night to Portland. h “I just tried to read the defense,” said LeVert, who finished with a team-high 37 points. “I feel like they were playing for the drive. I got to watch it again. These are those shots I practice each and every day. I’ll live with that shot.” h The Suns lived and died with that shot. h They could only watch and hope LeVert connected to stun Portland so they could advance to the play-in tournament.That helpless feeling is something Monty Williams doesn’t want Phoenix to forget or experience again.

“We want to be the kind of team that controls your own destiny,” said Williams in his postgame speech to the players, which TNT aired after the Suns defeated the Mavericks earlier Thursday.
Wormwood/Superbone 2019/2020 season bet: Suns win < 30 games, Wormwood wins, else 'Bone wins. 1 month avatar shame starting July 1st of winner's choosing. ACCOMPLISHED! 34 wins in a shortened season!

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Superbone » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:32 pm

You know what? The Suns are probably better off the way things went. Seriously. This will give them extra motivation for next season.
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Nodack » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:47 pm

Someone might have gotten hurt. They would eventually get beat. Now they go out 8/0, healthy and full of confidence for next season.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Superbone » Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:55 pm

Nodack wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:47 pm
Someone might have gotten hurt. They would eventually get beat. Now they go out 8/0, healthy and full of confidence for next season.
More good points!
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by INFORMER » Sat Aug 15, 2020 1:40 pm

Superbone wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:32 pm
You know what? The Suns are probably better off the way things went. Seriously. This will give them extra motivation for next season.
I don't agree. Participating in the play-in game and then possibly facing off against the Lakers in the playoffs would have been huge for this team's development, and would tell us more about the players.
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by ShelC » Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:42 pm


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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by carey » Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:55 pm

The Phoenix Suns have made news for all the wrong reasons the past five years: four coaching changes, front-office turnover, missed opportunities in the draft and endless appearances in the lottery.

But now the Suns appear on the verge of ending a playoff drought that is at 10 years and counting. Led by All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker, the Suns made a hard challenge for a West playoff spot in the NBA's Florida restart, going 8-0 before being barely eliminated.

Let's take a look at the decisions Phoenix will face in the offseason, starting with their own free agents.

Note: The financials in here are based on the salary cap and luxury tax holding at the 2019-20 levels, as expected.

MORE: Biggest trade, free agency and draft decisions for every eliminated NBA team

Cap flexibility vs. retaining their free agents

The Suns' salary cap situation this offseason is fluid.

Phoenix can choose the known: Dario Saric, Aron Baynes and Frank Kaminsky. Or it can choose the unknown: potential cap space.

The unknown is filled with more uncertainty than usual because of the unusual nature of the NBA's current financial situation. Before the NBA hiatus, Phoenix was projected to have up to $23 million in cap room without bringing back Saric, Kaminsky and Baynes. That number could now decrease to $17 million if the 2020-21 cap comes in at $109 million (the same as in 2019-20).

Here are the options with their own players this offseason:

Dario Saric


Saric started 50 games before the season was halted. He moved to the bench in Florida, but that was because head coach Monty Williams experimented with a small-ball lineup. The move proved beneficial to the Suns, and Saric appeared to be comfortable as a sixth man, scoring 14.8 points a game and improving his shooting (57.4% field goals, 52.4% 3s, 87.9% free throws).

The Suns will tender Saric a $5.1 million qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. He also has a $10.4 million hold against the Suns cap. If the hold is released, making him an unrestricted free agent, the Suns would have only the $9.3 million midlevel exception to sign his replacement.

The list of free-agent power forwards includes Serge Ibaka (mostly a center now), Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green (if he declines his player option), the Morris twins (the Suns have already gone that route), Marvin Williams, Patrick Patterson, Carmelo Anthony and Jeff Green.

Considering that the pool of free agents is average at best and the cap is likely to decrease, the Suns should consider a two-year deal for Saric that includes overpaying him in Year 1 but making Year 2 a team option. For instance, a two-year, $26 million contract of that type would allow the Suns to evaluate Saric for another season while also creating flexibility for next summer.

Aron Baynes

The veteran provided a safety net early in the season when Deandre Ayton served a 25-game suspension. In the 28 games he started (including three in March), Baynes averaged 26 minutes, 14 points and 7 rebounds per game, with 49% shooting from the field and 37.5% from 3.

However, the workload did take a toll on his body, as he missed 19 games with assorted injures.

As with Saric, the Suns could give Baynes a two-year, $24 million contract that overpays him in Year 1 and has a team option for Year 2.

If the Suns do not sign Baynes, they will have the $9.3 million midlevel, $3.6 million biannual or minimum exception to find a backup to Ayton.

The free agent backup centers include Mason Plumlee, Christian Wood, Nerlens Noel, Bismack Biyombo and Jahlil Okafor.

Frank Kaminsky

Before he missed 33 games with a stress fracture in his right knee, Kaminsky was averaging 21.7 minutes, 10.6 points, 45.3% from the field, 33.3% from 3 and 4.8 rebounds. His 34 games all came in a sixth-man type of role.

When he returned in July, Kaminsky struggled -- seeing his minutes decrease to 8.5 per game, shooting 39.3% from the field and averaging only 3.7 points.

The Suns would have all three exceptions (midlevel, biannual and minimum) available if the option is declined.

Ricky Rubio

The Suns' starting point guard is not a free agent, but keep an eye on his future. One direction that Phoenix should look into is moving the veteran to another team -- perhaps a team like the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks are projected to have $40 million in room, but with an average free agent class to chase. Would the veteran Rubio and the $17.0 and $17.8 million remaining on his deal, plus a draft asset (a lottery protected first), entice the Hawks to use cap space? Atlanta is in need of a veteran point guard to both back up and complement All-Star Trae Young.

For Phoenix, moving off on Rubio could potentially open up $20 million in cap space -- enough to pursue Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors.

The expiring contract of Kelly Oubre Jr.

The failure to negotiate a long-term contract with Oubre in 2019 has now left the front office to ask themselves this question: Is Oubre part of the future in Phoenix?

On paper, that answer is a resounding "yes" considering that Oubre is coming off a season where he averaged a career-high 18.5 points, plays a position of need and is still only 24 years old. However, there are multiple reasons why the Suns are faced with a tough decision on what direction they go with their starting forward:

Oubre's $14.3 million expiring contract will see him become a free agent in 2021. He is not eligible for a contract extension because he signed a two-year contract

Surgery on his right knee in March ended his 2019-20 season prematurely.

His defensive real-plus minus ranks no. 84 among all small forwards.

The development of Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson creates positional redundancy.

Unlike in 2019 when the Suns took advantage of Oubre's restricted free-agent status, that will not be the case next year, when the forward will have the right to choose his next team without any restrictions. Nearly half of the NBA is projected to have cap flexibility in the summer of 2021, and Phoenix has to find a comfort level for a starting salary that could approach $20 million per season (comparable to his $21.5 million cap hold).

Also, Bridges and former No. 1 pick Ayton are eligible for rookie extensions in 2021, with their first year salary starting the following year.
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by INFORMER » Sat Aug 15, 2020 4:21 pm

Considering that the pool of free agents is average at best and the cap is likely to decrease, the Suns should consider a two-year deal for Saric that includes overpaying him in Year 1 but making Year 2 a team option. For instance, a two-year, $26 million contract of that type would allow the Suns to evaluate Saric for another season while also creating flexibility for next summer.
I agree with the approach of a 2-year deal, a team option on the second year, and frontloading the deal. But $26 million?! Saric is not getting more than the MLE on the open market, and I don't even think he'll get that. So why should the Suns give him a deal averaging $13 million a year?!
Ricky Rubio

The Suns' starting point guard is not a free agent, but keep an eye on his future. One direction that Phoenix should look into is moving the veteran to another team ...

For Phoenix, moving off on Rubio could potentially open up $20 million in cap space...
Thank you!
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Nodack » Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:30 pm

We had lots of cap space before Rubio when we sucked really bad. I wouldn’t want to move Rubio unless we KNEW we were getting someone better. Going back to a PG buffet would be demoralizing.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by AmareIsGod » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:34 pm

Nodack wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 6:30 pm
We had lots of cap space before Rubio when we sucked really bad. I wouldn’t want to move Rubio unless we KNEW we were getting someone better. Going back to a PG buffet would be demoralizing.
Agree. Who gives a rats ass about $20 million if we aren't parlaying that into a better PG.
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by virtual9mm » Sat Aug 15, 2020 8:46 pm

I don't get all this talk about moving Rubio.

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Nodack
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Nodack » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:33 pm

I’m not into moving Rubio. He’s doing great. Moving him out to make cap space without getting someone at least as good would be a big step backwards.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Aztec Sunsfan » Sat Aug 15, 2020 9:48 pm

Why moving TJ Warren for cap space was an awful move, but moving Rubio it’s a great idea?

Specially considering the impact each one got on the team.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by MightyMoog » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:31 pm

Would we consider moving Rubio, Oubre and Kaminksy for Chris Paul? I believe that would get us close enough salarywise, though might be wrong.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Split T » Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:41 pm

I don’t think Chris Paul is the right move for us. He was great this year, but he’s like 35 years old and gets paid 40 million a year the next few years.
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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Superbone » Sun Aug 16, 2020 12:22 am

Split T wrote:
Sat Aug 15, 2020 10:41 pm
I don’t think Chris Paul is the right move for us. He was great this year, but he’s like 35 years old and gets paid 40 million a year the next few years.
Yeah, no. He's too old for this team.
Wormwood/Superbone 2019/2020 season bet: Suns win < 30 games, Wormwood wins, else 'Bone wins. 1 month avatar shame starting July 1st of winner's choosing. ACCOMPLISHED! 34 wins in a shortened season!

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Drewsprocket » Sun Aug 16, 2020 1:14 am

I have to say I am quite pleased with Rubio’s year shooting the 3. He knocked down 36% and wasn’t a let down when left open as we had feared. And I don’t see this changing either next year as teams will still leave him open. If anything, with him playing alongside Oubre, Cam Johnson, and Bridges at the 3 and 4 positions he will have more open 3s. This month he was 11-25 from 3, 44%. Pretty damn good. Perhaps he won’t keep that % quite that high but it’s encouraging to see that this roster suits him well.

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Re: Suns News: Offseason

Post by Mori Chu » Sun Aug 16, 2020 7:27 am

Booker also makes a lot of money; we should really trade him to free up valuable cap space. Hooray!

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