Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: July 13, 2011 11:46 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 11:47 am

Aaron Brooks wants to return to Phoenix

Posted by Royce Young

The last year has been a bit bumpy for guard Aaron Brooks. He was named the league's most improved player in 2009-10 with the Rockets, but after a number of things got in the way -- including the rise of Kyle Lowry -- Brooks was traded to the Suns at the deadline last season.

He's a restricted free agent and with the Suns obviously still built around Steve Nash, it's reasonable to think Phoenix might not be bullish on re-signing Brooks. But if Brooks has anything to do with it, he'll be back with the Suns.

"All signs point to me going back to Phoenix," Brooks told HoopsWorld. "I had a good time. I like the organization and it's a great city. I would love to continue playing in Phoenix. I would love stay with this team. This summer, I'm going to get more comfortable with the guys. I want to get to know everyone a little bit better and then hopefully we have a better season than we did last year."

If the Suns do re-sign Brooks long-term, it would certainly signal that he's the heir apparent to Nash. But even still, with Nash being 37 and often one that battles nagging injuries throughout a season, Brooks will see his fair share of time anyway. He had his own bothersome ankle injury last season but said it's all healed and not a problem.

"Coming off of an injury-plagued season, I need this time," Brooks said. "It's a blessing and a curse for me. I want to get back to playing, but now I can use all of this extra time to make myself better."

When the deal went down at the deadline, I certainly saw it as a long-term move for the Suns. But that only happens if Phoenix commits to Brooks this summer, or whenever free agency starts. The Suns gave up some quality assets to get Brooks and likely don't just want to see him be a half-season player for them, especially when the team wasn't making a push.

Brooks wants to be back in Phoenix and I would assume the Suns have him in mind for the future as well.

Category: NBA
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:24 pm

What teams risk in a lockout: Pacific Division

Posted by Matt Moore

Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and, more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect every NBA franchise.

Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central DivisionSouthwest Division, and Northwest Division.  We finish our series with the Pacific Division.

Los Angeles Lakers

The quick answer here is: it depends. A lost season would remove what could be the final year of this Laker core together. Kobe Bryant will be 34 in the summer of 2012. Bryant will be able to play until he's 40 thanks to conditioning. But his body is already showing significant wear and tear at age 32. Losing another year of Bryant, along with 30+ players Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol guarantees the end of meaningful contention, most likely. That doesn't mean it's not possible. It just becomes more difficult.

But on the other hand, if the team's already moving toward the future, making the requisite good faith effort to keep this core together but planning around Andrew Bynum (as rumors have suggested), then the lockout doesn't affect things much. The question is whether the team believes the run is over. It probably doesn't, but their actions over the last few months haven't exactly spelled confidence. They haven't indicated an "abandon ship" attitude either. Far from it. But there's enough there for it to be confusing.

Some other good news from a lockout for L.A.? Matt Barnes comes off the books, Lamar Odom enters a non-guaranteed year, and Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and Steve Blake enter contract years, so their contracts finally become easily movable. The bad news? Bynum enters a contract year without a fully healthy season in four years. Good times.

Phoenix Suns

The lockout would probably be a good thing for Robert Sarver's organization, based simply on the fact that the Suns' salaries will drop by close to $40 million from 2011-2012 to 2012-2013. (Note: Vince Carter and his bought-out contract make up $18 million of that, so it's kind of a fake $40 million. But still!) They lose the last year of Steve Nash's contract, which is a bummer. But considering most of us think Nash deserves to be freed from a sinking ship like the Suns, it's not that terrible. Plus the Suns manage to clear off Mickael Pietrus and Aaron Brooks (assuming they decline to match him in free agency, which they may not, but it's a nice thought) and Hakim Warrick and Robin Lopez could both enter contract years depending on if the Suns elect to pick up or not pick up various options.

That would leave just Jared Dudley, Channing Frye and Josh Childress as their only long-term contracts. And don't get me wrong, those contracts are horrible. But if the Suns want to rebuild (and they need to rebuild), they'll be in a great position to do so. The Suns are unlikely to improve next season, so there's no big risk in losing next season. Imagine paying no salary for a year plus the money Sarver will make when he sells his 2012 first-rounder! (A joke, and a bad one. Sorry, Suns fans.)

Sarver may actually sabotage the negotiations.

Golden State Warriors

Lacob and Guber spent a pretty penny on this franchise. So you can imagine they'd want to get started early. On the other hand, after spending that much, they need the profit-guaranteeing, value-increasing measures the lockout is geared toward. They're likely to commit to a full-season lockout, especially since it chops off $20 million they'd have to pay David Lee and Andris Biedrins for what will naturally be a losing season.

And hey, it's taken them two years to figure out what to do with Monta Ellis. They could use another twelve months.

But the Warriors still have a lot to fix, and they need to get on it. Time's a wastin'.

L.A. Clippers

The Clippers would see their payroll drop by $20 million dollars if they lost the entire 2011-2012 season. They've already activated Blake Griffin's 2012 option, naturally. Mo Williams would be entering a contract year, taking the sting out of the money they paid to get rid of Baron Davis (now about that draft pick...). Eric Gordon would have to get paid, but the fact remains that the Clippers would only have six players on roster, and two of them would be entering expiring deals.

Thanks to their market, the Clippers make a profit no matter what happens, so this wouldn't harm them tremendously. But for a franchise with so much promise, they need to get started. Because otherwise Griffin could enter restricted free agency in 2014 (if restricted free agency exists) with only one year to convince Griffin to work with them on a reasonable extension. Fun stuff.

Sacramento Kings

It's another year for the Maloofs to figure out how to get out of Sacramento. It's a year to take out the full-blown momentum of the fan uprising. But it's also a year that loses all that young talent, and a small-market team like Sacramento can't really survive losing an entire year of revenue. The Maloofs may have to fake a death to cover debts otherwise.

This could get awkward.

Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 7:30 pm

Former No. 2 overall pick Armen Gilliam dies

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver.

Armen Gilliam, a former No. 2 overall pick of the Phoenix Suns in 1987, died Wednesday. He was 47.

Police say Gilliam collapsed of a heart attack while playing basketball at LA Fitness in Collier Township, Penn. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.

Gilliam, nicknamed "The Hammer," starred at UNLV on the 1987 team that won a record 38 games and made it to the Final Four.

Over at CBSSports.com's Eye on College Basketball, Matt Norlander notes that he leaves a big legacy in Las Vegas.
At Vegas, Gilliam was the seventh-highest scorer in school history. He put up 1,855 points in his three-year career, and scored a still-standing record of 903 points in the Final Four season of 1986-87. The team was 93-11 while he was there. He averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds as a Runnin' Rebel.

"I'm all shook up," former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian told the Las Vegas Sun today. "He was such a great person. He would take the shirt of his back for you."

Besides the Suns, he also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz. He retired in 2000.

On Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Suns president Lon Babby issued the following statement.
“On behalf of the entire Phoenix Suns family, I’d like to express our sadness at the news of the passing of Armen Gilliam and offer our condolences to his family.  Armen will always have a place in Suns history as only the second No. 2 overall pick for the franchise, but the rugged, tough enforcer known as ‘The Hammer’ on the court will be remembered by his former teammates and our fans for his easygoing nature off the court.”
Gilliam briefly ended his retirement, playing for the Pittsburgh Xplosion (Gilliam is from Pittsburgh), an expansion team in the American Basketball Association, in the 2005-2006 season. He was also the team's coach.
In his 13 NBA seasons, Gilliam, a 6-9 forward, averaged 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was always one of the most powerful, physical players in the league, hence the nickname "The Hammer." He was a strong dunker, and while he never really lived up to his draft position, he had a solid 13-year NBA career.

And finally, a did you know: Gilliam's first name was spelled Armon in college and first few years in the NBA, but he later changed it to Armen.

Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:27 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:08 am

NBA Draft: Five biggest surprises

Posted by Royce Young

The build-up to this year's draft had a pretty wild feel to it. With the chance of a lockout ahead, teams appeared to be frantically positioning for a crazy night of trading and movement. A lot went according to plan. Kyrie Irving went No. 1 overall to Cleveland. Derrick Williams was taken right after by Minnesota. Enes Kanter went to Utah third.

There were some surprises though. Some players that dropped a bit farther than expected or climbed up the ladder to get taken four or five spots ahead of expectation. For instance, Josh Selby fell all the way down to 49 to Memphis, which is pretty remarkable. But the 49th overall pick is pretty unremarkable. So here are my biggest five draft night surprises:

1. Tristan Thompson, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers (4): Some prognosticators saw the Cavs going either with Jonas Valanciunas or Thompson here, especially with Kanter coming off the board to Utah at No. 3. But Thompson was mostly slated on big boards somewhere in the 7-10 region. The Cavs didn't necessarily reach on him, as they need more front court depth, but Thompson might've been available a couple slots lower as well.

I imagine the Cavs wanted Kanter and took their second choice with Thompson, but passing over Valanciunas is a bit surprising. The buyout issue for Valanciunas probably had a lot to do with it.

2. Iman Shumpert, PG, New York Knicks (17): The Knicks were hoping homegrown point guard Kemba Walker would somehow free fall to them at 17, but instead, New York picked up Shumpert, a junior guard out of Georgia Tech. The Knicks contingent in the building promptly said, "Who?" and commenced booing.

It's not a bad pick by any means, as the Knicks need a player to groom behind Chauncey Billups, plus, he does offer a little size and athleticism. Shumpert is 6-6 and already a terrific defender, something the Knicks need more than a good scorer. But 17 is a bit high for Shumpert since most saw him as a late first-round guy. Chris Singleton, Kenneth Faried and Marshon Brooks were still on the board at 17,  so some are curious why New York passed them over for Shumpert.

3. Markieff Morris, F, Phoenix Suns (13): Sort of a minor surprise here, but most figured younger brother Marcus was the higher ranked prospect of the two. Naturally, I had to wonder if maybe Lon Babby and the Suns just mixed the two up here. (Twin joke!) It is relatively interesting that Markieff, born seven minutes ahead of Marcus, was picked one spot ahead, almost exactly seven minutes earlier. Some things are just meant to be.

4. Jordan Hamilton, SF, Denver Nuggets (26): Hamilton was taken by the Mavericks and, after mass confusion, ended up being part of a three-way trade that sent him to Denver. But most had the Texas swingman pegged in the 15-20 range. And when he dropped past Houston at 23, it looked like almost a certainty that Oklahoma City would snatch him up at 24.

Yet, he was passed over. There was word that Texas coach Rick Barnes warned teams that Hamilton is uncoachable and that's the reason he slipped. A couple weeks ago he was a borderline lottery pick, but on draft night he barely survived the first round.

5. Corey Joseph, PG, San Antonio Spurs (29): Once the Spurs pushed the button on a trade to send George Hill to Indiana for Kawhi Leonard, you knew San Antonio was going to look to restock its depth. Just not many saw them targeting Joseph.

Joseph played one year at Texas and was a nice, highly-recruited defender, but didn't really impress many. He was pegged as a middle second round guy, so when David Stern called his name with the 29th pick, some were a bit shocked. He has the same frame as George Hill and might be able to settle into that exact some role. Plus, with the Spurs, everything they do seems brilliant. They're sort of like a new Radiohead album in that way. They escape the critics even when something doesn't quite add up because they've earned it with a glowing reputation.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 11:07 am

Knicks still trying to get Nash?

Posted by Royce Young

It's a dance that's been going on ever since Mike D'Antoni took the head coaching position in New York.

Steve Nash to the Knicks.

It's never really heated up to a boiling point, but always stayed at a whisper. And there's a new whisper via the New York Post.
"There have been renewed whispers the Knicks have inquired about Nash, who lives in SoHo in the offseason. The Knicks have talked internally about trading Chauncey Billups for Nash as both have expiring contracts. But there does not appear any reason for Suns owner Robert Sarver to make a move and give Mike D'Antoni a chance to reunite with his favorite son."
The Suns have strongly denied every rumor of trading Nash and Nash himself has always said he's extremely happy in Phoenix. But he's 36 years old and his contract expires after next season. What comes then for Nash? Does he re-up with Phoenix or look elsewhere? Or does Phoenix look to dangle a very attractive trade piece at the deadline?

You can be sure if they did, the Knicks would be the first team placing a call. Despite the idea to play better defense, Nash is the perfect maestro for the Knicks. He's already great with Amar'e Stoudemire and with a scoring wing with talent like Carmelo Anthony, that would be a pretty lethal trio.

But the trade proposed here -- a straight swap for Billups -- makes zero sense for the Suns. They aren't just going to give away Nash. Billups is a nice player and their salaries line up, but Phoenix will be looking for a future rebuilding move if Nash is moved. Not something like aging point guard for aging point guard.

With Nash expiring next season though, prepare yourself to read this rumor at least two thousand more times. The New York media wants Nash there almost as much as D'Antoni and the fans do. It doesn't seem like Nash is just going to finish his career in Phoenix on an average team. It seems like he'd give a title shot one good last swing.

And maybe that comes in New York.
Posted on: June 19, 2011 7:36 pm
Edited on: June 20, 2011 9:54 am

Report: Phoenix Suns to buy out Vince Carter

The Phoenix Suns will reportedly buy out Vince Carter. Posted by Ben Golliver. vince-carter

Vince Carter got old.

This isn't a particularly complicated reality. The explosive wing leaper who took the NBA by storm a decade ago has entered that stage of his career where we all talk far more about his contract than his game. 

As a member of the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns in 2010-2011, Carter, 34, put up career-lows in every important category: 28.1 minutes per game, 14.0 points per game, 12.2 shots per game, 2.4 free throws per game, 3.8 rebounds per game and 2.0 assists per game.

That's the bad news. The worse news? Carter is on the books for $18.9 million in the 2011-2012 season.

But, wait, there's good news! That final year of his contract is only partially guaranteed. Rather than pay the aging wing scorer who is clearly in decline and was never much of a winner anyway, the Suns can simply buy out of his contract and be done with him.

The Arizona Republic reports that's exactly what the team plans to do.
They won't trade Vince Carter's contract, opting instead to buy him out for $4 million in the coming days.
This is about as obvious as offseason moves get. The Suns are coming to terms with the fact that the Steve Nash era is ending and it's time for a massive youth movement. That almost always requires a liquidation of big contracts, and Carter's is by far the biggest on their books. Trading his salary would likely require Phoenix to take back mismatched parts or long-term salary commitments that would wind up slowing down the rebuilding process. Better to just be done with him and move on.

What's in Carter's future?

Well, he's reached the "Shaquille O'Neal 30+ Vagabond" stage of his career where he will need to hope someone, hopefully a contender, takes a chance on him as a scorer off the bench.

Will he be able to command more than the veteran's minimum?

It's possible, but that could depend on what the new CBA looks like, as most of this year's contenders spent big to get there and won't be in the position to hand out additional contracts.

There's a spot in this league for Carter still, but it's certainly not at center stage. Retirement can't be too far down the road. 
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:51 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:56 pm

Report: Jimmer Fredette invited to green room

BYU guard Jimmer Fredette has reportedly been invited to the green room for the 2011 NBA Draft. Posted by Ben Golliver. jimmer-fredette

Jimmer Fredette apparently isn't all hype.

The much ballyhooed guard was a national sensation as a senior at BYU, but many questioned how his game and physical tools would translate to the NBA level.

The early indications are that Fredette will translate at the lottery-pick level.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Fredette has been extended an invite to the green room for next week's 2011 NBA Draft.
Former Brigham Young guard Jimmer Fredette has been invited to the famed green room for the 2011 NBA Draft, which is scheduled next Thursday in Newark, N.J. 

Only draft picks expected to be taken with selections 1-14 are normally allowed in the green room.
A green room invite isn't a total guarantee that you'll be picked in the first half of the first round, but those invites aren't handed out lightly. 

This news will certainly fuel speculation as to where Fredette will land. Teams that have reported interest in him include the Sacramento Kings at No. 7, the Utah Jazz at No. 12, the Phoenix Suns at No. 13 and the Indiana Pacers at No. 15.

At this point, given all the buzz surrounding his draft workouts, it would be very difficult to see him falling past the Pacers, and the public pressure for the Jazz to take him at No. 12 is immense.
Posted on: June 10, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2011 8:28 pm

Charles Barkley wants to own NBA team

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley says he is interested in owning an NBA team. Posted by Ben Golliver. charles-barkley

First you get the money, then you get the power.

Former NBA star and current television personality Charles Barkley is arguably the league's most prominent media voice. But Barkley says he has set his sights higher.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Barkley is interested in joining an ownership group of an NBA team, something that he has considered in the past.
"I don't have enough money to be like a Michael [Jordan] and take complete control of an organization," he said, alluding to Jordan's role as majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. "But it would be fun to, like whether it was in Philadelphia or Phoenix, to put a few million dollars in and be not a speaking owner but just a fun, good investment." 

When asked if he had ever been invited to be part of an ownership group to buy the Sixers, Barkley said there were preliminary talks a few years ago.

"The last group that tried to put something together, but that fell through, I had preliminary conversations with them," he said. "I don't know anything about the new group."
Barkley uses the word "fun" to describe this dream of his, and that's all it would really be. Without majority control, he or any part-owner doesn't have final say on the direction of the franchise, plans for a stadium, roster moves, the hiring and firing of executives, and the like.

But NBA ownership is an elite club, and being able to refer to yourself as a part-owner is still an amazing bragging right, something reserved for the Michael Jordans and Magic Johnsons of the world. Would it meaningfully change Barkley's life? Who knows. He already enjoys a monstrous amount of fame, plays golf whenever he wants and is one of the most well-respected voices in the sport. But his decades of playing basketball, talking basketball and pitching products gives him the luxury of pursuing his every whim.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com