The Phoenix Suns find themselves in an awkward position on the court after the trade that sent Marcin Gortat and three others to the Washington Wizards.
Now the team is not only without its center from the better part of the last three seasons, but the Suns are also taking it slow with first-round pick Alex Len — something that could force Phoenix to start Channing Frye or go with a smaller lineup that includes Marcus Morris at center.
Frye is making his return after missing all of last season because of an enlarged heart, and hasn’t played in a regular season game since April 25, 2012.
“If (starting) is what’s best for the team, I’ll be ready to go,” Frye said. “It’s cool if it happens. If not, I’ll be ready to contribute.”
The Suns are easing the 7-foot-1 Len into the rotation after he underwent ankle surgery in July, and Miles Plumlee — the team’s other option at center — played just 14 games as a rookie with the Indiana Pacers.
“Obviously it depends what happens with Alex’s foot,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “But if it’s sore, he might [play] limited minutes.”
Hornacek said the Suns could also roll out a small lineup that includes the 6-foot-9 Marcus Morris at center, though that would likely only be sustainable for small stretches while getting either of the Suns’ centers a breather.
Frye said he’s typically someone who plays better as he finds a rhythm and gets used to playing with a group for an extended period of time. But that’s likely not a luxury the eighth-year pro out of the University of Arizona will be afforded as the Suns adjust to the trade of Gortat and ease Len onto the court.
“Channing’s going to have to play whether he’s in shape or not,” Hornacek said.