Last season was tough for everyone on the Phoenix Suns, but power forward Channing Frye may have had it the worst.
After being forced to sit out all year due to an enlarged heart, the team announced Frye’s return on Monday. While he said he’s excited about getting to play again, Frye added he’s just as enthusiastic about the Suns’ future.
“I’m very excited about where we’re going, what kind of opportunities that these young players have to grow,” Frye said. “This doesn’t happen very often.”
Frye was referring to the large amount of young talent the team acquired during the offseason, including first round draft pick Alex Len and point guard Eric Bledsoe, who was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Frye, the oldest player on the team at 30, said that while the team will go through some growing pains, he thinks the team is filled with good players and praised the athleticism on the squad. He compared the young nucleus to what the Oklahoma City Thunder had before they became elite.
“They kept a lot of the young guys and they let them grow together and they became a great team,” Frye said. “And they’re an awesome team and they love their fans and they love their city. I hope that’s what we can do.”
While Frye is optimistic about this season, he admitted that watching last year on the sidelines was more difficult for him than people might have realized.
“It was the worst,” Frye said. “I am a diehard Suns fan. I’ve been that way for a long time. So for me, to see us not playing to the potential that I think we could have played and just not being successful really hurts.
“And so for me, I was just like, ‘Man, I wish I could be out there just to help.’ At least if I’m out there, at least I could blame it on myself.”
The Suns are happy to add his 39 percent career shooting from three-point range as they lacked a deep threat last year.
“He’s a great shooter; a guy that can help us spread the floor,” head coach Jeff Hornacek said.
Frye isn’t in playing shape yet but will partake in some activities during the Suns’ training camp in Flagstaff. The Suns open their season against Portland on Oct. 30.