GM: Suns weighing decisions on Reed, Harrison and beyond
It’s so far been a relatively sluggish offseason for the Phoenix Suns considering a few things.
In April, general manager Ryan McDonough expressed the desire to make win-now moves to build around cornerstone Devin Booker. Armed with four 2018 NBA Draft picks, it was assumed that Phoenix would at least swing a deal on draft night to avoid taking on so many young players, thereby opening up roster spots that needed to be filled.
The Suns pulled off one win-now move, inking veteran free agent Trevor Ariza to a one-year deal that at up all of their available cap space. That signing came after the team indeed used four draft picks on rookies, three of whom will take up roster spots.
Roster decisions now loom.
Contracts owed to guards Davon Reed and Shaquille Harrison will become guaranteed over the coming weeks, and McDonough must gauge those decisions based on any other trades or free agent signings the Suns hope to make.
“I think we’ve certainly improved (this summer). We’ll look at some trade scenarios, we’ll look at some end-of-the-roster scenarios and keep going,” the general manager told Bickley & Marotta on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Reed and Harrison both used Summer League to their advantage last week.
Reed averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 25 minutes per game while shooting 49 percent and showing he has fully recovered from a knee injury that kept him out for most of his rookie year in 2017-18.
Meanwhile, Harrison manned the point guard spot, averaging 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game; he proved himself as an elite defensive presence as well.
“I think they were maybe our two most consistent players,” McDonough said. “We like both those guys. We haven’t made any final decisions yet. We look at these decisions individually but also how they fit into the bigger package in context to the team and what other roster moves we may have to make.”
Reed’s contract decision was pushed by the team to this Friday, according to 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro. A partially-guaranteed amount is owed to Harrison on Aug. 1.
— On Phoenix extending Devin Booker’s contract through 2024 during the Summer League: “It was an important thing, I think for us organizationally, to lock Devin in as long as we could,” McDonough said. “It was a two-way commitment. We had to commit to him and our owner, Mr. Sarver, stepped up and authorized us to spend that kind of money and commit to what I believe is the biggest contract in the history of the Suns franchise to Devin. And it took a commitment from Devin as well.”
— First overall pick Deandre Ayton averaged 14.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and a block per game while shooting 60 percent in Las Vegas. He did so to varied reviews. He was far from the most impressive lottery prospect in Summer League, and Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver went so far as labeling him as a loser for his performances that were dinged by lack of opportunity and, of course, his inexperience.
“I think the expectations for him coming in, externally anyway, were so high that they were probably unrealistic,” McDonough said. “He’s got some work to do on the defensive end. Offensively I thought we could have done a better job of getting him the ball in better spots for lobs and when he sealed and things like that.”
— McDonough on what he saw from new head coach Igor Kokoskov: “The ball movement and player movement is pretty high-level stuff, but it also takes some time to get comfortable with the timing and the execution of it. So I thought we were better defensively than offensively, although I liked our offensive system and how it looked.”
— The general manager on the poor performances from Dragan Bender (6.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 37 percent shooting in 22.2 minutes per game): “Overall we need more consistency from him. I think the whole key from Dragan is what I’ve said all along: it’s just confidence and aggression.”