Welcome to “Inside the Suns”, your weekly in-depth analysis of the current Phoenix Suns Team.
First, The Fantable – a roundtable of Bright Siders giving their opinions on the latest Suns releases and news.
Great Questions of the Week
Q1 – The Suns have until October 17 to sign Cam Johnson to extend his contract or allow him to become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2022/23 season. In your opinion, what would be a fair extension offer for him and would you go up a bit to avoid the possibility of him losing (or having to overpay to keep) next summer?
GuarGuar: I personally don’t bother with him at the moment, I’d like to see how he does first as a full-time beginner. We have enough lid closed already. I want to be 100% sure that Cam is that guy for us going forward. The only way I can extend it now is to make a very friendly deal with the team around 10 million a year. I have complete confidence in Cam for the record, and I don’t think it’s wise to extend it now.
OldAz: I think I wrote in the comments section earlier this summer that CamJ should max out in the $15 million range where his current skill set can be traded in the $10-15 million range. Dave’s article earlier this week reflected some of my reasoning based on what Cam is currently offering and that he wasn’t a regular beginner (yet).
If Cam J wants more, I’ll continue this year and see if he shows that ability, even if it ends up costing a few million more. His “small” size makes it hard for me to commit to much more until I see him show it. It is better to pay a player more than $20 million annually when it is only $10-15 million. This is also why Cam J is so different from last summer’s DA. Demanding the Suns pay a top salary of 35-40 to a player who actually showed he was a better player from 35-40 (with the potential to improve on that) must have been mindless which is in the end where they ended up anyway. On the other hand, the Suns should lock him in the $20-22 million range very close to what Mikal got if they think Cam J is going to be a close Klay Thompson type, in which case it would matter. compromise.
Cliff 30: I think if Suns were going to run an extension with Cam it would have already happened. They are likely hesitant to know what LT implications an extension might bring. They already have 130 million committed to just five players next year. As for his contract, he probably deserves something in line with the 4/75 that Joe Harris got and Duncan Robinson 5/90, and yes I’ll go a little higher to lock him up now.
Jim C: Luke Kennard (25) led the NBA at 3P FG% last year with 44.9%… Cam Johnson finished fourth (42.5%) after faltering slightly at the end of the season after being injured. Cam gets more points averages, rebounds, and steals per game. Kennard averaged more assists and took free throws a little better (89.6% vs. 86.0%). Cam played 1.2 minutes less per game (27.4 to 26.2).
Kennard is a goalkeeper and a striker, but both were great players off the bench last season. Kennard signed a 4-year, $64 million deal with the team option last year in 2020. The inflation rate looks like around 4 years $80 million. Mikal Bridges earned $90 million for 4 years last year. If Suns views Cam as a potential starter, like me, that seems like a good starting point to me. The nodes of the bridges should be the ceiling. He’s a year behind Bridges, so Mikal is still ahead of him in the next big decade. Maybe if they push Cam the Mikal’s contract, they can add a team option or something to make the contract more friendly with the team.
Stick: I’d like to see the Suns sign Cam on a team friend extension (which I consider to be under $15 million) but that won’t really affect the cover until 2023/24 I can see them get past that. If you look forward to 2023/24, the total salary that the Suns have now committed is only a few miles off their expected cap and they could actually get the cap by waiving Cam Payne before his salary is fully guaranteed and well. You deal hereunder if they give up CP3 before it is fully secured. Of course things will definitely change between now and then, but this sun is not limited to the ever-decreasing amount of money they will have available to spend.
The effect of that on what Suns can do for the J Camera is that they don’t have to highlight it to keep it and can probably overpay a little bit now if they think it’s going to continue to grow and possibly turn out to be a start. Instead of the sixth man. Of course they can also go the way they did with DA and let the market determine its value next summer by letting it become an RFA. It’s also important to note that signing him for an extension now would effectively turn his contract into a toxic pill which would make it more difficult to trade until the extension begins in 2023/24.
Whatever the Suns decide to do, I would be very surprised if they offered Cam as much as they did Mikal Bridges. About $18 million a season would be my maximum, but James Jones would probably see a higher ceiling for a camera than I do.
Q2 – If the Suns start the season without any changes to the current roster, who will get your vote to be DA’s primary backup in the center?
GuarGuar: I haven’t seen Jock play but I would definitely say Piombo’s mission is to lose. He was strong for us last year and I expect him to be even better this year given the consistent playing time. Hopefully he’s worked his way around the basket this season.
OldAz: I vote for the proverb “Bullpen Committee”. Monte is very quick to set a closed spin, and going this way allows for more experiences and more opportunities for a new player like Landale. Anyone among Saric, Biz, and Landale who matches best or plays better at that time should get the minutes (or play some small ball minutes). At some point, one of them may be the obvious choice, but until then Monty has to play with all of them.
Cliff 30: I would say it depends on the match. Opposite the smaller units Dario for floor spacing, versus the larger units it will be bismak. I’d probably lean towards Bismack as the primary backup because we don’t have the necessary secondary and edge defenders to allow Dario to be alone on the ground defensively that often.
Jim C: I’d be tempted to say Sarik, but it might be Piombo hypothetically because he’s the only other person on the team.
Landale – 8.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. Sarik – 7.9 rebounds. Piombo – 11.9 follow up. Biyombo is also the best blocker on the team with a track record of effectively playing center position in the NBA and is strong enough to the body of most top players despite being smaller (6’8″ 255 lbs).
Ostensibly, the Suns should be able to use Saric on the Five, but with the team’s recoil it’s already getting superficial…
Stick: I think Pease will probably get the nod on most occasions, but Monty shouldn’t be inflexible because Dario is the first big guy to sit on the bench who might be the better option in certain situations. Pease is the best defender but Dario is the best offensive player so depending on the matches I won’t be strict with my player rotations.
Q3 – Regardless of what outcome you might have wanted in Sarver’s investigation, did you really expect anything different from what happened?
GuarGuar: I knew it would be difficult for Silver to force him to sell without getting into a huge legal battle. However, I expected the league to be more difficult for him. The majority of the allegations ended up being true although Sarver dismissed them all when the Baxter Holmes Report was released last year.
It’s not just racist remarks, it’s sexism in the workplace and female harassment. 18 years of a toxic work environment is too big. The fact that he can still contact the bullets but from his house for only one year is not enough for punishment. The League tried to give the impression that this stuff had a zero-tolerance policy but it really showed its status.
OldAz: It’s pretty much exactly what I expected (suspension of some length with maximum fine allowed). Admittedly, I didn’t follow any of this on purpose because I prefer watching sports as an escape from the noise and drama that seems to dominate every other aspect of society today. Unless there was a “smoke gun” video that surfaced, I never expected the owners to take a vote and thus set a new standard for when they might be forced to sell their franchises in the future. As such, this is more and less what I expected from it.
Cliff 30: I wasn’t expecting any punishment, I was expecting the NBA to say there is no concrete evidence and say they have no reasons to take action. And from the possible outcomes, this is what I thought was less likely. They found the allegations to be completely true, and they just put it on hold. I thought they would either wipe it under the rug or kick him out.
Jim C: This is a difficult question.
As I write this, I already know that the league messed it up royally and that Adam Silver looked like a third grader giving his first year speech in front of the entire school. I didn’t expect him to look so confused. It was a shocking look at the league.
Then we saw LeBron James, the NBAPA, Chris Paul, the mayor of Phoenix, the Najafi minority owner and PayPal appear in that order (I think) and I might have missed more…as they were all insinuating or explicitly asking for Sarver to be removed.
At this point I think it will be removed.
I had already heard about the comment before I read the report…so I couldn’t come to a conclusion on whether it should be removed before the comment was released. It would be a review for me to suggest that I expected more or less than what was presented.
Once I read the report, I was not at all surprised that there were so many people against Sarver. What he did was terrible… and a lot of people don’t like Sarver more than they do. He may be rich and powerful, but when he fell into this mess, it might have helped him to have more friends than enemies.
So… I guess I kind of expected this… because Sarver behaved horribly and people don’t like him… and he deserves it.
The caveat is that in this country/world…the rich and powerful usually get away with being scammers and we all know this.
Stick: Actually I wasn’t expecting as much as it happened. Since the other owners (23 out of 29 at least) would have to agree to such measures, I didn’t expect it to be so harsh although many of them may be concerned about when it might be their turn at some point in the future. If anything could actually force Sarver out, it might be all the bad publicity and notable people/organizations calling for him to be fired/leaved. I’m not sure he would although Sarver might be content with just dumping him for a year and coming back claiming to be a “changed person”.
As always, a big thank you to our awesome members for all their extra efforts this week!
Interesting suns stuff
Discussing the release of LeBron James and Chris Paul statements about Robert Sarver’s punishment | KJM
Adam Silver explains why Robert Sarver should not be forced to sell the Suns | NBA today
Last week’s poll results
Last week’s poll wasDo you think Monty Williams can coach the Suns to the NBA title?“
53% – Yes, I believe in Monty!
37% – Maybe, but things should go well.
10% – no.
A total of 337 votes were cast.
This week’s poll is…