LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Ample cap space and roster flexibility presented the Phoenix Suns the opportunity to potentially be big-time players in free agency, an enviable position to be in given such prized targets as LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
And while they may not have delivered any signed contracts, the Suns did step up to the plate and took their hacks.
“We took a swing for a couple of home runs, so that whole process was interesting,” managing partner Robert Sarver said in an interview with NBA TV. “But fortunately we’ve got a lot of good, young players that we’re developing and are getting better and better and last year a lot of them had good years. So we kind of swung for the fences and if we couldn’t get that then we were going to be a little patient.”
Sarver told Spero Dedes and Reggie Miller during the Suns Summer League game against Golden State Saturday that he and the Suns did meet with James’ agent Rich Paul.
“It was good for us to be invited to do that,” he said. “I thought we had a pretty good case. We had room for two max players to combine with Eric (Bledsoe) and Goran (Dragic) and also have some depth. So we thought it made sense for our team and made sense to take a swing at that.
“We did our best. We didn’t succeed but I thought we put forth a good effort and a good performance.”
The Suns had hoped to pair James with either Anthony or Bosh without sacrificing their core group of young, talented players who finished 2013-14 with 48 wins, one shy of making the playoffs.
“We took a big step forward, probably a little faster than I anticipated in terms of our rebuild. You know I think we kind of fast-forwarded it a couple of years,” Sarver said of what was a 23-win improvement over the previous season. “So I was extremely pleased and very satisfied.”
Moving forward, the plan, according to Sarver, is to continue to shape the roster without any so-called quick fixes. In other words, one or two veteran signees who may be able to help the Suns win a few more games, but at the expense of cap space and roster flexibility.
“We really want to put ourselves in a position to build a championship team. We’ve got a lot of good, young assets. We don’t have any bad contracts. We wanted to preserve that,” he said.
“So are we talking playoffs potentially?” Miller asked.
“I think so,” Sarver answered. “But you know the West is hard. It’s really hard. I was thinking if ‘Melo and LeBron, a couple of guys came West we were going to have to it like soccer, where they have the (UEFA) Champions League and the Premier League.
“The West is difficult, but the weather is good so I’m not moving.”