Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Suns taking interesting approach to attract top free agents

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have three star players, a championship-caliber team, arguably the best weather during the NBA season, a championship-winning coach and some of the best fans in the NBA. However, they are taking one more interesting approach to attract free agents to Phoenix.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

Josh Okogie became the sixth player to officially sign with the Suns on a two-year veteran exception deal with a player option on the second year yesterday, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

His contract was originally reported to be a one-year deal. However, these two-year deals Phoenix has signed players to have allowed them to beat out other contenders offering one-year deals.

Phoenix has now reportedly signed Okogie, Damion Lee, Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks, Keita Bates-Diop and Eric Gordon to two-year deals with player options.

According to Marks, the signings of these players have cost the Suns an additional $11 million towards the luxury tax. He adds that when a player is signed a two-year deal, the NBA reimbursement is eliminated on the cap hit.

The deal also gives the players more leverage, as they can pick up the second year should something go wrong in the first year, or they just want to stay. Additionally, they essentially have a no-trade clause on that first year, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst alluded to on the Old Man & The Three Podcast earlier this week.

“They won battles for some of these guys that had two or three offers by being like, ‘Hey listen we’ll give a player option,'” Windhorst said. “If you have a player option on a minimum contract, it means you can’t be traded without your permission. Functionally, Eric Gordon (and the others) has a no-trade clause. So, if the Suns come to him mid-season and say, ‘Hey we want to trade you to the Charlotte Hornets for so and so,’ he could be like, ‘Nope.'”

Windhorst continued: “If you’re trying to weigh like where you’re gonna go and you’re like, ‘Wait a minute I can go play in Phoenix for a title in good weather with 2% state income tax, and I can block a trade,’ I could see the strategy what they were doing. And it made sense to me and I respected it.”

With the Suns going to be over the second tax apron when the new CBA kicks in, they have been basically limited to signing players to veteran minimum contracts. Yet, owner Mat Ishbia, general manager James Jones and the rest of the front office have found a loophole with these deals.

Ishbia has said that he is willing to spend as much money needed to create the best team possible. These contracts cost the Suns more money, but they are legal in the very limited threshold that they’re in and allow them to attract more players.

The Suns have gotten the exact players they have wanted through these deals and the other factors. Ishbia told the Arizona Republic that Phoenix has become “a destination” for free agents. He added that he thinks their depth “is significantly superior to what it was last year and at the same time, better than anyone would have imagined.”

These smart moves are not something that should be overlooked. It is clear that Ishbia is willing to do anything to bring a championship to Phoenix.

See all the free agents Phoenix has signed and their deals below:

Suns free agency signing tracker

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on Twitter via @Brendan_Mau 

More in Phoenix Suns