McDonough: ‘Timing’ wasn’t right in trade talks, Suns wait on Alex Len

Jul 26, 2017, 5:13 PM | Updated: Jul 30, 2017, 3:54 pm
(Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports)...
(Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports)
(Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports)
LISTEN: Empire of the Suns

PHOENIX — Hear a rumor about an NBA star changing jerseys, and the Phoenix Suns will likely come up.

At this point, it’s a natural law of the NBA.

General manager Ryan McDonough understands he’s in a favorable position with cap flexibility, plus a trove of assets in young players and draft picks. He also knows that his involvement in trade talks and the related rumors come with the territory.

“We’ll always look at anything that we think will improve our team,” he said Wednesday after introducing re-signed center Alan Williams at Talking Stick Resort Arena. “I always assume there is no deal until there is a deal.”

That the signing of Williams and McDonough’s contract extension have been the move of the summer shows the Suns’ commitment to patience.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be talking.

Most recently, the Suns were linked to Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving, who reportedly asked to be traded.

John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station reported Tuesday that the Suns weren’t going to meet Cleveland’s demands of trading Bledsoe, rookie Josh Jackson and an unknown addition or two for the 25-year-old Irving.

Beyond that, Phoenix has been linked to recently-traded All-Stars DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler and Paul George.

They’ve also been mentioned in trade talks involving Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis and now Irving.

“I don’t want to name names, but I think there have been like three All-Star players that have been traded in the last six months and we’ve had conversations with all those teams — and I think had the ability to do deals to get those players if we chose to do so,” McDonough said. “For whatever reason, some of them, we didn’t feel like the timing is right in terms of the cost for us and also the players’ contractual situations.”


Roster spots are dwindling in Phoenix, but the team continues to wait on the free agency process of center Alex Len.

The Suns extended a qualifying offer to Len at the start of the free agency period, and McDonough said he’s been in contact with Len and his agent while in Las Vegas since.

Will Len end up taking the qualifying offer?

“It’s up to Alex and his agent. Obviously, that’s on the table,” McDonough said. “We’d like to have him back.

“We’re certainly open to discussing different scenarios, potentially. But one way or another, we’d like to have him back.”

Len averaged 8.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in his fourth season while shooting 50 percent from the field, but he lost playing time to Williams down the stretch, when the Suns rested starting center Tyson Chandler.

Williams officially signed a three-year deal on Wednesday after holding off on making the signing official. McDonough said that allowed the Suns to pursue other potential options — they could have gone over the salary cap with an acquisition by signing Williams afterward.

Now that Williams is locked in, it seems less likely a big signing or trade is in the works.

It also would put Len in a tough spot in terms of earning minutes.

And it could be a while before the rest of the NBA landscape shapes up enough for Len and his agent to determine the best fit for him.

“Sometimes these deals get done right away on July 1 and sometimes they get done in late September,” McDonough said. “I hope it’s not the latter for my sanity and Alex’s sanity. You never know. It seems like free agency, in general, around the league is moving a little slower this year.”


Second-year point guard Tyler Ulis missed NBA Summer League after undergoing ankle surgery but is expected to be prepared for training camp. He should be cleared for five-on-five play in the next month, McDonough said.

Penguin Air

Phoenix Suns

Kevin Durant #7 and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets look on in the final seconds of their 109...
Jake Anderson

Kyrie Irving opts into $36.5 million option with Brooklyn Nets, per reports

All-Star guard Kyrie Irving will be opting into his $36.5 million player option with the Brooklyn Nets, according to multiple reports.
20 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on...
Jake Anderson

Odds of Deandre Ayton playing for Nets leap with Kyrie Irving uncertainty

With NBA free agency officially commencing on Thursday, oddsmakers are projecting where free agents will be playing next season.
20 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Frank Kaminsky (8) shoots over Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Suns free-agency focus: The center market after Deandre Ayton

The Suns will be hampered by the financial situation depending on if Deandre Ayton returns to Phoenix or not.
20 hours ago
Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns dunks against the Atlanta Hawks in the first half at State Fa...
Arizona Sports

ESPN’s Pelton: NBA Draft potentially removed RFA Deandre Ayton suitor

Analyst Kevin Pelton included Ayton's future on a list of impactful decisions this summer, noting Detroit may no longer fit after the draft.
2 days ago
A basketball on the court during the game between the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns at Ca...
Arizona Sports

Suns’ Ryan Resch becomes first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history

Ryan Resch, the Suns VP of basketball strategy and evaluation, became the first openly gay basketball operations executive in NBA history. 
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots over New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14)...
Kevin Zimmerman

Deandre Ayton still Suns’ priority, says GM: ‘We want to keep it together’

Suns general manager James Jones said nothing has changed on the Deandre Ayton front over the past several weeks, from his seat at least.
4 days ago
McDonough: ‘Timing’ wasn’t right in trade talks, Suns wait on Alex Len