When Channing Frye signed with the Phoenix Suns back in 2010, he was coming back home to a great situation as a stretch-4 who fit perfectly with the team’s offense. Last year with the Suns, these skills quietly made him one of the best free agents on the market. Despite early reports that he’d likely re-sign with the Suns after opting out of the final year of his contract, it now appears that Channing Frye has will be leaving home after being snagged by the Orlando Magic.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first dropped the (Woj)bomb on Suns fans, reporting that the Magic had agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal.
Channing Frye has agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Magic, source tells Yahoo Sports.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 7, 2014
Last season in Phoenix, Frye averaged 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 43 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range. After missing the entire 2012-13 season due to a heart condition, Frye playing in all 82 games was an inspiring and happy comeback for Frye, the Suns and Suns fans everywhere.
Frye was one of the league’s most effective pick and pop players last year, working flawlessly with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. While the Dragon and Bledsoe were busy drawing in help defense out of a Channing Frye screen, Frye would roll backward toward the top of the key or the wing, where he knocked down 38 percent of his threes (148-of-386).
Don’t hate $8 million a year for Frye, either. They’re so far below the salary floor it doesn’t matter, and he fills a need.
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) July 7, 2014
Frye opted out of the remaining $6.8 million on his contract and was not expected to make more than the mid-level exception. Giving $8 million per year seems like a lot of money for Frye, but his services as a stretch-4 are valuable and he’ll provide veteran leadership to a young team. The Magic also had to spend to reach the salary floor, so it’s not like Frye’s deal kills them in any way. However, the power forward position is also pretty crowded now after drafting Aaron Gordon and with Andrew Nicholson on the roster.
As for the Suns, it seems like Markieff Morris could be moving into the starting rotation. Phoenix will also have more cap room to work with now. The Suns have been included as one of the three finalists in the LeBron James sweepstakes, although they are still considered a long shot. Frye isn’t a huge loss for the Suns, but his services may have been underrated until now.