It didn’t take the Phoenix Suns long to respond to losing Amare Stoudemire to the New York Knicks.
Last week they inked free-agent power forward Hakeem Warrick to a three-year deal. And then Sunday night they used part of the trade exception they acquired from the Knicks in the Stoudemire deal to bring in small forward Josh Childress, who played in Greece last year but was property of Atlanta, and they acquired versatile power forward Hedo Turkoglu from the Toronto Raptors in a trade for Leandro Barbosa.
The Suns have been busy this off-season, remaking a roster that just lost a five-time All-Star in Stoudemire and trying to stay competitive in the Western Conference.
While Suns owner Robert Sarver will never be known as cheap, as he continues to spend money on his roster, there is always the debate as to how the Suns spend their money.
This off-season the Suns have given Warrick $12 million, Channing Frye $30 million, Childress $33.5 million and took in the contract of Turkoglu, which has almost $44 million remaining on it.
Let’s start with the Childress deal. Childress is a hustler. He is long, athletic, can finish around the rim, is a good offensive rebounder and is a good defender.
Consider him a poor man’s Shawn Marion. He won’t help in spacing the floor and he is not a good shooter, he is more of a slasher/cutter. He was not a primary player in Greece, only averaging nine points a game. He will be a good fit on the Suns bench likely backing up Turkoglu.
Sure $33.5 million is crazy money for a bench guy but that is the going rate these days, just look at some of the contracts being doled out this year to guys like Amir Johnson, Drew Gooden and Johan Petro, among others.
Childress will help Phoenix and make an already strong bench even stronger, but he did not come cheap.
Turkoglu is the key acquisition for Phoenix this season and could be the difference between a good year and a mediocre one. When he is right like he was for Orlando against Cleveland in the playoffs two years ago, he is awfully good. He is a complete player. A good passer, shooter, defender, has a high basketball IQ and has the moxy necessary to take the last shot.
The problem with Turkoglu is that he is not always right. After the 2008 playoffs Toronto won a bidding war over Portland for his services. They have been trying to dump his salary ever since. Kind of like how Phoenix has been attempting to dump Barbosa’s salary — so this is really a trade of two players who weren’t wanted by their current teams.
Turkoglu is a lot more talented than Barbosa and it’s now the Suns’ responsibility to get him and keep him right. He is old, 31, with a lot of wear and tear on his body and coming off a down year where he averaged 11.3 points and 4.7 rebounds.
Turkoglu wanted out of Toronto and will benefit from playing in the Suns up-tempo system and because of that he could have a big bounce back year. He will be the starter at power forward and the player that replaces Stoudemire with Warrick now backing him up.
Had Phoenix done nothing more that replace Stoudemire with Warrick and added a couple of veteran minimum role players, next season would have been a disaster. And while adding Warrick, Turkoglu and Childress is still not likely to get them back to the Western Conference Finals it should assure them of a successful season culminating in a playoff berth and it will at least make things interesting.