The Phoenix Suns won 48 games last season, surprising everyone and nearly reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
They didn’t, though, which means there’s room to improve.
Blessed with plenty of draft picks and ample cap space, the Suns would appear to be in prime position to do exactly that as the NBA’s free agency season has opened.
But what exactly, in a market filled with mega stars who they may not have a shot at and past-their-prime stars who they may not want to overpay, should the Suns do?
“It’s tough to say,” ESPN NBA writer Tom Haberstroh told Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “I don’t think they need anyone. I think they really don’t need to buy any free agents out there to make them necessarily that much better.”
Haberstroh said the Suns, for instance, could go out and try to sign a player like Trevor Ariza, but it would make more sense for them to re-sign restricted free agent P.J. Tucker, who brings similar skills to the table.
Of course, while Haberstroh’s idea — and perhaps the Suns’ plan — may be prudent, it’s not exactly sexy. It’s a lot more fun to see a team add big name talent, so standing pat and banking on continued improvement from a young team may not be enough to excite the masses.
But that doesn’t mean it would be the wrong approach.
“I really don’t think they need to make any big moves,” Haberstroh said. “Maybe get some more front-court depth but there are not a ton of names out there for that.”
One name he did mention was Josh McRoberts, a 27-year-old forward who has played seven NBA seasons and posted career averages of 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game with the Trail Blazers, Pacers, Lakers, Magic and Bobcats.
Last season he started 78 games, playing 30.3 minutes per contest and averaging 8.5 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
“Josh McRoberts could really look good in that offense,” he said. “That’s one name that they probably want to look at as a guy that can pass the ball and, obviously, in Phoenix where they’re such an unselfish team, that could be a really good fit. And he can spread the floor a little bit.
“So that’s a good name, not an expensive piece but he can probably help you a little bit, especially for some insurance for Channing Frye.”
Frye, unlike with the aforementioned Tucker, is not a restricted free agent, meaning the Suns do not hold a right to match any offer he signs with another team. If he wants to leave, he’ll leave.
Like Tucker, though, Frye has given little indication that he’s itching to skip town. The same can be said for Eric Bledsoe, who is a restricted free agent, though that doesn’t mean some aren’t nervous about the rising star’s intentions heading into the summer.
But Haberstroh says there’s no reason to worry about the team losing half of its dynamic backcourt.
“I really do believe that they covet him and they absolutely want to see this kid keep on developing,” he said. “He’s already a two-way force in this league and he’s just getting started. I don’t think they want to get rid of that just yet.”