Once upon a time, Phoenix was a (pardon the pun) hot free agent destination for NBA players.
In 1988, Tom Chambers became the league’s first unrestricted free agent and signed with the Suns. During his five years in the desert, the 6-foot-10 forward averaged 20.6 points per game, was an All-Star three times and helped Phoenix to the 1993 NBA Finals.
And whether it was Danny Ainge, A.C. Green, Danny Manning, Wayman Tisdale or others in the mid-90s — or Steve Nash in 2004 — it always seemed like players wanted to come to Phoenix.
And all Nash did was win back-to-back MVP awards while leading the team to the 2010 Western Conference Finals.
However, it’s been a while since a big name free agent in the prime of his career has signed on the dotted line to join the Suns. One NBA analyst thinks that’s about to change.
“I think so, for sure,” ESPN’s Jon Barry told Doug and Wolf Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM when asked if Phoenix will once again be a free agent destination. “Jeff Hornacek makes it attractive now.
“Guys around the league talk and say ‘man, this guy’s fun to play for.’ He lets them play, they play a style that’s fun, they get up and down the floor. You have two point guards — (Eric) Bledsoe and (Goran) Dragic that are exciting and fun to play with. It’s an exciting brand of basketball.”
The Suns will have ample salary cap space in the coming offseason to attract players from a free agent class that will boast plenty of big names. Barry believes that the Suns’ resurgent season will also be a factor in beefing up the roster in the future.
“To me, it’s the story of the year. To come from where they were last year, and we were on all the time and we made fun of ‘hey, I’ll see you guys in three or four years when they get this thing turned around,’ and boom, they’ve done it already,” Barry said. “It’s only going to get better this offseason.
“It’s an incredible story, it really is. I didn’t see it coming.”