Dudley ‘would be shocked’ if Suns don’t have roster overhaul
Suns’ owner Robert Sarver believed at the beginning of the season that he didn’t have a choice about following the 76ers lead of “trusting the process” as the Suns started to schedule its “timeline.” Now, Sarver may not have a choice about steering away from that initial plan in order to keep Phoenix’s top tier player.
All of the assets Phoenix has, combined with Devin Booker’s future and the team’s struggles could lead the organization to pursue a faster plan for success.
“I would be shocked to not have a totally different roster next year,” Dudley said Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta. “The Suns have a lot of cap space, they have a lot of picks. Maybe they might use one of them, maybe they might trade for vets. But this team is in need of about three to five vets to help these young guys (win).”
Losing consistently isn’t easy for players, especially when their team is getting blown out worse than all the other teams in the NBA.
“I am tired of losing,” Dudley said. “I’m hoping next year we can come back and we won’t be the laugh of the NBA.”
Dudley mentioned that the Suns’ third year star could be getting tired of it as well. However, Dudley believes Phoenix can offer Booker one thing that will keep him in Phoenix at least for the foreseeable future.
“You get tired of losing within two to three years the way we have,” Dudley said. “But, I think (Booker will) get a nice excitement this July when he signs his max contract.”
While Booker’s rookie contract doesn’t end for another year, he is eligible for a max extension for five years worth $156 million. At the moment, this contract would make Booker the fifth most well-paid player in the NBA. After Booker signs the dotted line this upcoming summer, Dudley believes Booker will be even more aggressive in pushing for improvement throughout the team.
“He has had three years of us having losing, bottom top-five worst teams in the NBA. (After he signs his contract) that’s when I think he’ll be even more vocal,” Dudley said. “He has already started because his game is all-star ready. When you’re that young and you’re all-star ready, and you putting your work and your time in, you now want the team to catch up with your skill.”
While Booker, the No. 13 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has nearly reached superstar potential, the same cannot be said about some of his young teammates. Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, both lottery picks in the 2016 NBA Draft, still don’t appear ready and haven’t reached their potential in the NBA.
“Booker is ready to go,” Dudley said. “When you have a star ready to go, you build around him as soon as possible. That being said, he needs to have other people with him. Josh Jackson is a great addition, you’re going to add a top-three pick most likely this season that is going to be ready to go. So when you have those three pieces, how much more young talent does one team need?”
With Phoenix’s surplus of young talent already on the team and the potential of having three first round picks this offseason, the team could be looking to make some moves.
“We’re playing what might be the youngest rotation in NBA history. We’re not interested in doing that again next year,” Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said. “We’re interested in significantly improving the team and advancing the team. I think we’ll have the ability and resources to do that.”
The team has plenty of opportunities to add three to five vets that Dudley believes the team needs to succeed with the amount of cap space and draft picks Phoenix has at the moment.
“There’s going to be competition next year, not only from the young players we bring in … from the draft but from the free agents we sign and guys we may trade for,” McDonough said. “Hopefully our guys are ready for that, it’s coming and nothing is guaranteed. Everything is open and everything is a competition.”