Phoenix Suns: 5 steps to the ‘ideal’ 2019 offseason

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Phoenix Suns
Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images /

Step 5: Re-sign Kelly Oubre Jr. and Richaun Holmes

From that point, the Suns would need to address their own free agents. A large offer for restricted free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. would throw a giant wrench in the works, but since this is an “ideal” summer for the Suns, we’re going to assume that doesn’t happen.

Oubre was a revelation in Phoenix last year, not only for his averages of 16.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game on 45.3 percent shooting, but also for the way he changed the culture and vibe in the locker room. He takes pressure off Booker on offense as a slasher and driver, and though he sometimes gets tunnel vision and needs to improve his 3-point shooting, he’s worth keeping around — especially since he wants to stay in Phoenix.

The question then becomes how much it will take to retain his services. The Suns can go over the cap to re-sign him, but something in the $12-16 million range will probably be his annual price range. Paying him a four-year deal worth $60 million feels like a lot, but again, the Suns need to keep good players around who actually want to be in Phoenix. They have little leverage on this front.

Assuming Oubre settles in at $15 million a season, and that the Suns can convince Richaun Holmes to accept something in the two-year, $10 million range to stay on as Deandre Ayton‘s high-powered backup, the Suns would still be $4 million below the luxury tax (not including the mid-level exception or other signees after Russell and Aminu).

Here’s what a tentative depth chart would look like, assuming Phoenix can acquire another backup wing without moving past that luxury tax threshold:

  • PG: D’Angelo Russell, De’Anthony Melton, Elie Okobo
  • SG: Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, George King
  • SF: Kelly Oubre Jr., Darius Miller/Thabo Sefolosha, Dylan Windler
  • PF: Al-Farouq Aminu, Brandon Clarke, Grant Williams
  • C: Deandre Ayton, Richaun Holmes, Ray Spalding

Again, all of this is wishful thinking that will likely come undone on draft night when the Suns take Coby White at No. 6 or something like that. Aminu at $11 million a year could be a touch optimistic, as could the prospect of Russell even considering Phoenix, let alone the Suns actually being able to dump T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson without taking any salary back.

However, since the goal here is an “ideal” summer, emerging from the offseason with Brandon Clarke, Grant Williams and Dylan Windler in the draft, then scoring D’Angelo Russell, Al-Farouq Aminu and a replacement-level backup wing like Thabo Sefolosha or Darius Miller in free agency, might be pretty close to the best-case scenario.

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Now we wait and see what the Phoenix Suns actually do.