Phoenix Suns GM: Would like to keep Brandon Knight, but no pressure to do so

Apr 1, 2015, 10:40 PM | Updated: 10:41 pm
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The Phoenix Suns gave up a considerable amount of assets to acquire guard Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks at the NBA trade deadline.

But with just seven games remaining, and Knight struggling with an ankle injury, time is running out on the Suns to learn more about what exactly they have in the 23-year-old.

It’s not an ideal situation, especially since the team was banking on seeing how Knight and fellow point guard Eric Bledsoe coexisted on the court.

“I guess that’s been part of our frustration,” Suns GM Ryan McDonough told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday. “We did want to see how it worked, we wanted to try to win games this year but also start building some chemistry and continuity between those two, hopefully for next year and a number of years to come.”

McDonough said he felt Knight was just starting to get comfortable and turn a corner before the ankle sprain, which makes his injury and the result all the more disappointing. But, he added they have seen flashes of what Knight can do and how he can fit on the team.

“We know what he’s capable of; he shot the ball extremely well in Milwaukee,” he said. “He’s a guy that we have the utmost confidence in, (he) will be a good player, a good shooter, a good ball mover the more time he has in our system, the more he gets comfortable.”

Making matters somewhat complicated for the Suns is Knight’s impending restricted free agency. Before the season, it was reported Knight turned down a contract offer from the Bucks that would have paid him $9 million per season. This summer, it will be up to the Suns to determine how much he is worth, albeit with a frustratingly small sample size to base their opinion off of.

Some see the Suns being in a tough spot, maybe even forced to pay Knight due to what they gave up to get him. If he leaves, their investment of Miles Plumlee, Tyler Ennis and a protected first-round pick owed to them by the Los Angeles Lakers would have given them fewer than 20 games in a season that ended without a playoff berth.

But if there is pressure to keep Knight based on what it took to get him, McDonough said he does not feel it.

“Let me put it this way,” he said. “We try to block out the outside noise, the pressure, this or that. We do whatever’s best for the team.

“We did give up a draft pick and a couple pretty good, young players for the opportunity to get him hopefully for the short and long-term. We’d certainly like to re-sign him, but we’re going to do what’s best for the team. Long-term, he’s a free agent, he’s going to do whatever’s best for himself and his family, and hopefully for the Suns as well. No, we don’t feel any immediate pressure, ‘Oh my gosh, we have to do this or that’ based on public reaction or based on what we gave up in the trade.”

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