Tag:Channing Frye
Posted on: December 14, 2010 2:35 pm
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Dec. 15 trade-eligible shopping list

The next milestone in the NBA season hits Wednesday when dozens of players signed as free agents over the summer become trade-eligible. ‘Tis the season for re-gifting. 

Don’t like the aging veteran you overpaid in your giddiness as GM of an undefeated juggernaut shopping for free agents? Dump him on some unsuspecing colleague who may be able to to make better use of his meager talents. Having a reality check about how good your team was going to be? Shed the contract you thought you were wise to execute back in July and start getting ready for another draft lottery. 

Under the collective bargaining agreement, players who sign as free agents cannot be traded for three months or until Dec. 15, whichever is later. So theoretically, any free agent signed prior to Sept. 15 can be shipped to a new destination beginning Wednesday. 

It’s not useful to look at this year’s crop of trade-eligible free agents as a free-for-all, because there are plenty of names on the list who will be traded about as soon as pigs sprout wings. (Forget the LeBron-to-New York trade rumors. I think he’s staying put.) Similarly, the Lakers aren’t trading Derek Fisher, the Celtics aren’t trading Shaquille O’Neal, and the Knicks seem mildly happy with MVP candidate Amar’s Stoudemire so far. 

What the Dec. 15 milestone does is expand the pool of assets and contracts available to GMs to make trades work under league guidelines that require salaries to be no more than 125 percent plus $100,000 when over-the-cap teams make deals. Sometimes, one more asset or another $2 million in tradeable contracts makes all the difference in completing a larger deal. 

Something else to keep in mind: Unless it’s a key player who’d fill a crucial need for a contender, executives say teams will be much less likely to take on multi-year contracts this year due to the expected work stoppage. Buyer’s remorse for Brendan Haywood, for example, isn’t going to be easy to assuage because he’s due $45 million over the next five years – when nobody can accurately predict where such a contract will fit into the new salary structure. But players on shorter deals with less than full guarantees could be moved if it helps complete a bigger deal – such as a Carmelo Anthony trade. 

So with that in mind -- and with the assumption that the Heat aren’t’ trading LeBron, the Hawks aren’t trading Joe Johnson, and the Celtics aren’t trading Paul Pierce or Ray Allen -- here are a few of the more interesting names who become trade-eligible Wednesday, based on the likelihood that they could be involved in a trade sometime before the Feb. 24 deadline: 

* Luke Ridnour, Timberwolves: At $12 million over the next three years, Ridnour won’t break the bank and his play-making abilities could be appealing to a team looking for point-guard depth. The Knicks, underwhelmed by Toney Douglas as Raymond Felton’s backup, are interested. 

* Tony Allen, Grizzlies: Allen’s strengths off the bench are wasted on a team like Memphis, which has plenty of other tradeable assets. If the Grizzlies decide to part with O.J. Mayo, for instance, Allen’s contract could help facilitate the deal. 

* Quentin Richardson, Magic: Nobody gets traded as much as Q-Rich, so he has to be on this list. If Orlando decides to pull the trigger on a significant deal -- say, for Andre Miller or Gilbert Arenas -- Richardson could be a throw-in. Complicating matters is the fact that his contract contains a 15 percent trade kicker, but that’s manageble since he’s only due $8 million over the next three years. 

* Anthony Carter and Shelden Williams, Nuggets: Denver is virtually assured of making a big deal for You-Know-Who, in my opinion, and these could be throw-in pieces. I’d include Al Harrington, but A) they’ll need someone to shoot a lot after they trade Melo; and B) nobody will want Big Al for five years at the full mid-level when we’re entering what could be the no-mid-level world of a new CBA. (Even though the last two years are only half-guaranteed.) 

* Anthony Tolliver, Timberwolves: Minnesota already has been fielding a lot of calls because they have draft picks, cap space, and young assets. Though injured at the moment, Tolliver is big and cheap and could be part of a bigger deal. 

* Josh Howard, Wizards: On a one-year deal, Howard has the right to veto any trade. But if he gets back on the court and proves he’s healthy before the deadline, his expiring $3 million contract could be used to sweeten a potential Arenas deal. 

* Chris Duhon and Jason Williams, Magic: Stan Van Gundy can’t decide which one is his backup point guard, and you know what they say: When you have two backup point guards, what you really have is none. 

* Jordan Farmar and Anthony Morrow, Nets: New Jersey is highly likely to make multiple trades between now and the deadline, and team officials continue to believe one of them will be for Anthony. With efforts under way to acquire additional assets Denver has requested, dangling either one or both of these names could help accomplish that. Reluctantly, I’ll include Travis Outlaw here, as well. While his five-year, $35 million deal will scare some teams, his salary is flat throughout with no increases -- a friendly feature as we enter the great CBA unknown. 

* Tyrus Thomas and Kwame Brown, Bobcats: When Larry Brown says his team has begun tuning him out, it’s time to start the stopwatch on LB blowing up the roster with trades. When Brown goes into teardown mode, no one is safe -- not even Thomas, who just signed a five-year, $40 million contract. Good luck peddling that deal amid labor uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean Brown won’t try. 

* Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Rasual Butler and Craig Smith, Clippers: The Clips are ravaged by injuries, underperforming, and owner Donald Sterling is heckling his own players. Who knows what the Clips will do? I do know they have one of the most sought-after first-round picks in the league -- Minnesota’s 2011 pick, which is unprotected in ‘12 -- and will be getting a lot of calls. Butler and Smith can veto any trade since their both on one-year deals. But why would they? 

* Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye, Suns: If Phoenix rapidly falls out of contention, keep an eye on Suns owner Robert Sarver, who is pushing as hard as any owner for a lockout. Warrick’s deal actually is fairly reasonable, with $4.25 million due each of the next two seasons and a team option for the same amount after that. Frye, however, is owed a poisonous $24.8 million over the next for years.
Posted on: May 30, 2010 2:36 am
 

Stoudemire's last game as a Sun?


PHOENIX – If this was Amar’e Stoudemire’s last game as a member of the Suns, it will be a tough one for both sides to carry with them into an offseason of uncertainty.

“I’m still not sure what the future holds right now,” Stoudemire said after scoring 27 points as the Suns were eliminated 111-103 by the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals. “I’m just going to take a couple of days, enjoy the family and enjoy the rest and start figuring out what the next move is.”

It was too soon, the pain from the loss too raw, for Suns president Steve Kerr to even contemplate Stoudemire’s future.

“We’ll deal with that later,” said Kerr, who once the sting dissipates will be able to walk away from this season feeling positive about the organization’s future.

“I’m just really proud of all our guys, every single one of them – coaches, players,” Kerr said. “It was a fantastic season. It ended a little too soon, but that’s the way it goes.”

Asked what will stick with him as he evaluates the season, Kerr said, “The togetherness, the unity, the complete and total unselfishness. It’s just a great mix of youth and veterans and it was a lot of fun watching them try to work together. They have fun every day and they couldn’t wait to get to work.”

The future is bright for the young core of Goran Dragic, Jared Dudley, Robin Lopez, Channing Frye, Louis Amundson and even first-round pick Earl Clark, who didn’t play in the series. But everything the Suns do between now and the start of next season will be predicated on Stoudemire’s imminent leap into the unrestricted free-agent market. Stoudemire has said he will opt out of his contract, and reiterated Saturday night that there’s only a 50-50 chance that he stays in Phoenix.

“Absolutely still there,” he said. “But I’m pretty sure there will be a conversation between myself and the organization and my family and we’ll figure out what the best scenario is and make a smart decision.”

Dialogue between the Suns and Stoudemire’s agent, Happy Walters, remains open. But Kerr wasn’t ready to focus on the most important aspect of the Suns’ offseason – not this soon.

“A year ago, nobody knew how good Dragic would be, how good Lopez would be,” Kerr said. “Jared Dudley and those guys stepping up and delivering for us really has solidified our future – which is important because two years ago, we were looking old and we were looking like we could be in some trouble. So it’s been gratifying to watch those guys grow.”

Now comes the hard part: Keeping them together.
Posted on: May 24, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Channing Frye: Mr. Sensitive

PHOENIX – Channing Frye moved around the 3-point line, draining shots from every spot on the floor. No, it wasn’t a dream. Just practice.

But still …

Frye then strolled over to a crowd of reporters waiting to discuss with him one of the most obvious storylines in the Western Conference finals – his incredible 1-for-20 shooting slump, punctuated by 17 consecutive misses. But instead of talking about how he’s going to shoot better in Game 4, Frye went with the defensive approach instead – lecturing the media and urging them to go find a better story.

No thanks, Channing. This one will do just fine.

“You know what guys, to be honest I’m kind of disappointed,” Frye said. “First you said we couldn’t beat them and now you’re talking about a lot of negativity. I think we need to look at how well Robin [Lopez] is playing, how well Amar’e [Stoudemire] is playing. My baskets – yeah, they would’ve helped. Yeah, I haven’t been shooting very well. But I feel like I’m doing other things better, helping out defensively and getting as many boards as I can. So for you guys to talk about me shooting, that’s kind of – there’s better stories to write about than me shooting.”

With all due respect, that’s for me to decide. Your job is to make shots.

Now I say this with all the requisite disappointment and astonishment that I felt as Frye kept going farther down this road in a hyper-sensitive rant Monday after practice. I know Frye as one of the most thoughtful, approachable players in the NBA – one of the nicest guys you could ever present with a question and a digital recorder.

But to ask for positive coverage in the midst of an epic shooting slump – one the Suns won’t recover from if Frye doesn’t snap out of it – was a little much. I could go back and watch video of the one shot he’s made in the series and write positive things about that, but it was so long ago it might have been purged from the YouTube archives by now.

“I think you guys make a bigger deal out of it than I do,” Frye said. “Shots just aren’t going in. All of them are good shots. I’m shooting them the same way and they’re just not going in. … Like I said before, it’s not a story or anything to write about. It’s kind of frustrating that we win a game and you guys talk about something negative again. So for us and for me personally, I just need to continue focusing on what the team wants and focus on what’s really important and that’s playing defense and getting boards.”

I tried to help Frye out by putting a positive spin on my question: The uproar over his slump stems from the fact that he was so good during the regular season – making 172 3-pointers after making only 20 in the first four years of his career – that it’s obvious Phoenix needs him to shoot better to have a chance to beat the defending champion Lakers.

“I totally understand that,” Frye said. “I like that question. You know what, I like that. Yeah, we need to hit shots – not just for me but for everybody else. I don’t think we’ve been shooting particularly well. It’s just one of those things.”

That’s one way to look at it. Another way is this: Subtract Frye’s 1-for-20 shooting, and the rest of the Suns are shooting 52 percent in the series (117-for-224).

There’s no question shooting a basketball is mental, and Frye is stuck in a mental rut as much as anything. He said he studied video of his shots, and didn’t see anything mechanical going wrong. It’s not for lack of practice, either. Frye told me earlier in the season that he held marathon shooting sessions last offseason that transformed him from the so-so mid-range shooter that the Suns thought they were getting into a 3-point threat who became a major part of Phoenix’s 54-win season and surprising journey to the conference finals.

“As shooters, we’re kind of emotional like that, sensitive about stuff like that,” teammate Jason Richardson said. “You don’t really want to say too many things to him. You kind of want to help him get out of his own funk and at the same time don’t put any added pressure on him. He knows there’s pressure on him with you guys talking about his shooting percentage. We’re still confident in him, and every time he’s open we want him to shoot the ball. That’s what he does best and that’s what made him successful on the court.”

As for coach Alvin Gentry, he still believes in Frye and won’t hesitate to use him in Game 4 Tuesday night.

“He’s a great shooter and he’s had a great year for us,” Gentry said. “He’s going through a tough time right now, but we still believe in him and that’s why I still play him. That’s what I told him: ‘You should just go out there and just shoot it and not worry about it. They’re not gonna get on your __, they’re gonna get on my __. And I don’t really care.’ I’m going to try to use him because I think he’s an important guy to our team. We’re not about to give up on him.”

Even though Frye is 1-for-14 on 3-pointers in the series, he isn’t the only culprit. In a way, it’s amazing that the Suns are still in the series given that only Richardson (10-for-20) and Jared Dudley (6-for-12) have hit more than one 3-pointer in three games. Take out Dudley’s numbers, and the Suns’ reserves are 2-for-24 on 3-point attempts in the series.

Alas, all of this was too negative for Frye’s taste.

“Why don’t we focus on what we’ve done?” Frye said. “We were down 0-2 – a lot of negativity, a lot of guys saying we’re going to get swept and we can’t compete with them. And we come out and play a great game and now we’re talking about me not being able to shoot well. I think it’s such a small part of the game. I don’t think we should focus on this. And now I’m getting upset, and I usually never get upset. But we played so hard and everybody left their heart out on the court and we’re just going to talk about something little like this. It’s something I’m kind of amazed about. I think we should focus on some of the good stuff.”

In the end, that’s what Frye did, predicting that his slump will be coming to an end in Game 4. From the Suns’ perspective, it better.

“That’s the funny thing about basketball,” he said. “You can shoot it today and it doesn’t go in, and you can shoot it tomorrow and it does. It’ going to go in tomorrow, I can tell you that. It’s going to go in tomorrow.”

Category: NBA
Posted on: November 11, 2009 11:50 am
Edited on: November 11, 2009 2:01 pm
 

Checking in with the Suns

The Suns have risen again -- there, I said it, I couldn't help myself -- by matching the franchise's best-ever start at 7-1. It's early, but they've gone from being a dysfunctional team on the verge of blowing up to one of the best stories early in the 2009-10 season.

GM Steve Kerr readily admits that he's to blame for the failed Shaq experiment, but he's erased that mistake and reinvigorated the roster faster than many thought possible. He resisted the temptation to blow it up and start over, something that would've clinched Steve Nash's departure and devastated the organization's ability to remain financially viable. With a meddling owner, Robert Sarver, whose proverbial eggs are in the ruinous banking and real estate baskets of the economy, this was no time for a rebuilding project. So Kerr signed Alvin Gentry, a Mike D’Antoni disciple, to a three-year deal, re-signed 37-year-old Grant Hill, and signed Nash to a two-year, $22 million extension.

"The most important thing to us was that we had good leadership and good mentors for all our young guys," Kerr told me. "So re-signing Grant and signing Steve to the extension was by design. First, they're still really good players. In Steve’s case, he's still an All-Star and in Grant's case, he’s still close to it. So not only do we have two good players, but they're as professional as they come. So we feel like we're making this transition towards the future in a really healthy way."

Here's what else you need to know about the resurgent Suns:

The stars

At 37, Hill is averaging 13.2 points per game and a team-high 8.6 rebounds. He and Jason Richardson (5.2 rebounds per game from the two-guard spot) have answered Gentry's call for the wing players to make up for Phoenix's lack of front-line size by crashing the boards.

Amar'e Stoudemire is still feeling his way after offseason eye surgery, but he's averaging 19 points and 8.5 rebounds while vowing to commit himself on the defensive end. Nash is, well, Nash; he already has five games with a dozen or more assists, including the 20 he dished out against Philadelphia on Monday night.

The bench

One of the byproducts of a soul-searching, 46-win, non-playoff season was the development of some reliable depth. Leandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic, Louis Amundson, and Jared Dudley form a versatile and effective second unit. Dudley already has made 11 3-pointers, nearly a third of his total in 68 games last season with Charlotte and Phoenix. The Suns have high hopes for first-round pick Earl Clark, whose locker has been strategically placed next to Hill's.

The newcomer

After wandering aimlessly through the first four years of his career in New York and Portland, Channing Frye has been a revelation. The Suns knew he could shoot when they signed him to a two-year, $3.8 million deal. They didn’t know he'd shoot with this kind of range. Frye is 22 for 50 from 3-point range and says the Suns' coaches "get mad when I don’t shoot."

Kerr, not a bad marksman himself back in the day, recalls being blown away in August when Frye showed up for workouts and pickup games.

"His first couple of years in New York, he was great from 21, 22 feet," Kerr said. "That would've been fine for us, too. What happened was, he came in and started working out and playing pickup games and was draining 3s from the wing and the top. We were like, 'Wow, this is more than we bargained for.'"

Frye's hard work paid off. He was up at 5 a.m. for weeks at a time during the early part of the summer, working on ball-handling and mid-range shots on the move from 6-9 a.m. He was back in the gym from 5-6 p.m. to shoot "nothing but 3s." Now he’s hitting nothing but net.

The numbers

It’s way too early to draw conclusions, but through eight games, the Suns are back to playing the style that made them so entertaining and successful under D'Antoni. It's not exactly seven seconds or less, but Phoenix is getting 39 percent of its attempts in the first 10 seconds of the shot clock, according to 82games.com. That's comparable to the 43 percent achieved in 2006-07, the last time they got past the first round.

The Suns are averaging a league-high 110.9 points per game -- 114 per 100 possessions -- which is virtually identical to the 110.2 and 114 in '06-'07. Yes, defense is still an issue. Phoenix is allowing 105.8 points per game, which is sixth-worst in the league and nearly three points more per game than in D'Antoni’s next-to-last season before bolting for New York.

What's next

After a 4-1 road trip that included wins over Miami and Boston, the Suns return home Wednesday night to face the struggling Hornets. Then, it's off to L.A. to face Kobe and the Lakers on the back-end of a back-to-back.

The Suns ultimately will struggle against teams with size, and their style still doesn't translate to playoff success. But given the cards Kerr dealt himself when he reached for Shaq, Phoenix's resurgence is nothing to scoff at. At least the Suns are relevant and fun again.

Having played for Phil Jackson, Kerr believes that basketball teams take on a certain "life force." After a lifeless 2008-09, the Suns have been resuscitated.

"We got panned by a lot of people for not going young and breaking it up and starting over," Kerr said. "But we've seen a lot of teams do that and fail, too. If you go too young in this league, then you’re rudderless. You have guys fighting over shots and minutes, no hierarchy, no totem pole, and that's a recipe for disaster."
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com