Phoenix Suns begin their rebuilding process
by Paul Coro, USA TODAY Sports
The Phoenix Suns have purged bad contracts, cleared salary-cap space, accumulated draft picks and made general manager and head coach hires that inspire hope — and patience.
The Suns began draft workouts Monday, but their No. 5 pick in the June 27 draft will not come with a cape to rescue a last-place team. While Dwight Howard and Chris Paul might be power-team shopping, the Suns look to be a year away from attempting a bigger step when the draft and free-agency classes are better.
Suns managing partner Robert Sarver relates to this progression. Before this three-year franchise playoff recess, Sarver’s primary businesses in banking and real estate were hit by a recession.
“All the good teams have to go through a rebuild process,” Sarver said. “Some have taken a long time. Some have gone short. It’s the same process we envisioned a year ago. It’s just that first year is pretty tough. It was tough but you refocus on smaller successes and smaller gains. Is this player getting better? Are we executing better? You find your joy through small wins and small successes rather than, ‘Is our team in the playoffs?’ and ‘Can we compete for a championship?’ In many ways, the recession of the last four or five years helped me in terms of my patience and rebuilding.”
The Suns could renounce rights to Wes Johnson, Shannon Brown, Hamed Haddadi and Diante Garrett to make a major free-agency move, but Sarver said the timing for using his green light will be one of GM Ryan McDonough’s greater decisions. McDonough was with Boston when it was rebuilding through the draft until Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen became available. The current $6.5 million of cap space will not land a franchise changer (see: Michael Beasley attempt).
“You have to be prepared for a longer term, in terms of developing through the draft, but you maintain flexibility so if opportunity comes your way, you can do it in the short term,” Sarver said. “I knew we were charting … [For more on Phoenix Suns begin their rebuilding process, click here.]