Report: Suns tender qualifying offers to Jock Landale, Saben Lee

Jun 28, 2023, 9:25 AM

Jock Landale, Phoenix Suns...

Phoenix Suns' Jock Landale, left and Houston Rockets' Josh Christopher, right, try to calm down Garrison Mathews, middle, after an altercation during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

(AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

Center Jock Landale and guard Saben Lee have been tendered qualifying offers by the Phoenix Suns ahead of NBA free agency, effectively making them restricted free agents when July 1 hits, reports Spotrac’s Keith Smith.

Notably, Smith added that Phoenix had yet to tender Darius Bazley and have until Thursday to do so.

Qualifying offers give the Suns the right of first refusal if another team offers a player a contract in free agency, just as Phoenix matched the max contract offer Deandre Ayton signed with the Indiana Pacers last year.

Players can choose to negotiate a new deal with their current team or sign the one-year qualifying offer to bet on themselves and head to unrestricted free agency the next offseason.

Bazley, the 23rd pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, would be owed $6.2 million for one year if that qualifying offer was extended and signed. Just that one year could be a hefty price before taxes for a player who last year couldn’t push himself into the rotation even after the Kevin Durant trade limited the team’s depth.

Bazley, 23, averaged 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in just seven regular season games for Phoenix after the Suns traded Dario Saric to Oklahoma City in exchange for the lanky, athletic forward.

As for Landale and Lee, the qualifying offers on the table are no-brainers.

Landale’s qualifying offer of $2.1 million would be a bargain, but it’s likely the Suns will try to lock him in for a long-term deal that pays more. That would give them insurance behind Ayton but also a tradeable contract that could help math work considering the team’s roster is filled with either max contracts on the very high end or rookie deals and veteran minimums on the low end.

Phoenix can sign him for up to approximately $11.9 million per season (105% of the average league salary) on a multi-year deal because it has Landale’s early Bird rights.

Lee’s qualifying offer is for a two-way contract and $1.8 million.

In 23 appearances last season, Lee averaged 6.3 points and 2.8 assists per game, flashing an attacking offensive style that helped him get to the rim and create for his teammates. He also showed upside as a disruptive on-ball defender.

As of now, Lee and Cameron Payne are the only true point guards on the roster, so long as the Suns retain the latter. Payne’s contract for $6.5 million becomes fully guaranteed on Thursday.

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