The best self-care for a post-Finals hangover is to think about how the Phoenix Suns will get even better next year!
The obvious get-betters are the further development of young players under long-term team salary control like Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. Every one of them improved in 2021 and, at age 25 or younger, none have reached their athletic or basketball primes yet.
It’s everyone else on the roster that, if you’re James Jones, you have to consider because either they are free agents in 10 days or they could be used as trade bait for a bit more balance in size, rebounding and/or free throw drawing.
First, let’s peak at the salary cap situation. We all need to be talking from the same baseline.
- Option 1: Bring all but one free agent back + the 29th pick. This one won’t happen, but it’s our starting point for discussions. The salaries in red next to the free agents is their ‘cap hold’ which is what is charged to the Suns cap sheet unless they are renounced, which is a foregone conclusion. I only added this option as the most vanilla. Won’t happen.
- Option 2: This version is the most likely on Day 1 of free agency on August 2 (which is only 10 days from now!). The Suns will let all of the minimum-salary free agents enter the market, and start the offseason with…