The Phoenix Suns narrowly missed out on the postseason and will likely use this offseason to try to take the next step.
They have had their eyes on Los Angeles Lakers’ power forward Pau Gasol in the past and could pursue him once again, but could also pursue the cream of the crop in free agency. Nate Duncan believes the Suns could fit a max free agent, but they will have to get creative.
Anyway, let’s assume the Suns wait to re-sign Bledsoe and Channing Frye opts in to his $6.8 million player option for next year. (If he doesn’t, his cap hold would be 150% of $6.4 million, or about $9.6 million. They would have to either re-sign him or renounce his rights, meaning they could not exceed the cap to re-sign him except using another exception aside from the Bird Exception.) If he opts in, and including Bledsoe’s cap hold, the Suns would be at about $48 million including empty roster slots and PJ Tucker’s cap hold of $2.8 million. So that leaves about $15 million available under the cap to sign a free agent. Renouncing Tucker would get them to about $17 million in space, and if Frye opts out and is renounced that puts them at almost $24 million in space.
Carmelo Anthony’s individual max if he opts out is about $22 million. LeBron and Bosh are just a little below that. So yes they could potentially make it happen. Even if Frye opts in, they could dump one of the Morris twins or someone like Alex Len to open up the requisite space. There is also the matter of Phoenix’s first round picks this year. If they keep all 3 of them, that would eat up another $6 million or so in space (estimating on that, no time to look it up right now). So the room could be opened up, but do you want to give up all those assets to do so if it’s not certain those guys are coming? Probably not. They’d have to be really darn sure of that to do all those gyrations.
The Suns finished 48-34 and if they could land a player like that, they could become one of the league’s elite teams.