ESPN’s Pelton gives Phoenix Suns ‘C+’ offseason grade

Aug 7, 2022, 9:05 AM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 8:18 am

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Gold...

Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns warms up before the game against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center on March 20, 2022 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Throughout the NBA offseason, the Phoenix Suns have been among the few teams that have dominated the news cycle.

Whether it was from Deandre Ayton’s contract situation to Devin Booker’s long-term extension and then of course the Kevin Durant trade rumors, the Suns remained a topic of conversation.

Despite the talk, Phoenix has been relatively quiet so far into the offseason, making the decision to match the Indiana Pacers offer sheet for Ayton as well as signing a couple of veteran depth pieces.

As a result, the Suns received a C+ grade from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton in his offseason grades.

Pelton’s main reasoning for this grade for the Suns was how the Ayton contract played out, with Phoenix making it tough to tell what the goal was throughout contract talks.

He did add that the Suns lucked out in the sense with Ayton’s contract not being more player-friendly.

The Suns were fortunate Ayton’s deal wasn’t more player-friendly, containing no player option or trade bonus. Still, the way Phoenix handled Ayton’s free agency could have long-term ramifications.

With the extension for the big man wrapped up, Phoenix finds itself in the luxury tax.

Ahead of committing to Ayton long-term, the Suns used the beginning of the free agency to add some depth pieces, including the likes of guard Damion Lee and wing Josh Okogie.

The Suns’ signing of Lee, who helped the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship, is one that Pelton is a fan of.

I liked the value for Damion Lee, who has quietly been productive for the Warriors during the regular season.

In 63 regular season games last year, Lee averaged 7.4 points per game which included shooting 33% from beyond the arc.

His role, however, diminished in the playoffs where he averaged just two points per game.

The Suns were active this past week, signing two players to two-way deals.

Phoenix brought back Ish Wainright, who played in 47 games for the Suns last season.

In addition, the Suns added guard Duane Washington Jr. to a two-way deal. The then-rookie played in 48 games last season for the Indiana Pacers.

While the Suns may have been given an average offseason grade, a blockbuster deal they’ve been heavily linked to with Kevin Durant would dramatically change things.

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