The Phoenix Suns have completed a trade with the Indiana Pacers for James Jones. The Pacers were significantly over the salary cap this year and had too many bodies on the roster anyway. Phoenix gets Jones for a 2nd round draft pick in 2008.
Full story - Suns acquire James Jones, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports
The Phoenix Suns have resigned coach Mike D'Antoni for 2 more years. The reigning Coach of the Year for 2004 will now be under contract through the 2008-2009 season. This is a good move on the Suns part - it lets the players know that the organization is committed to winning and playing D'Antoni's style of basketball.
Full Story - Suns sign coach to two-year extension, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports
It's being reported that the Phoenix Suns sent an entourage of 6 players/staff on Tuesday to meet with Michael Finley. Among the players were Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Raja Bell - staff included team president Bryan Colangelo, coach Mike D'Antoni and owner Robert Sarver. Steve Nash, who played with Finley in Dallas did not attend, but has been contacting his buddy by phone in an attempt to sign w/ Phoenix.
Finley was drafted by the Suns over 10 years ago and a return is not out of the question. He has reportedly narrowed his choices to Miami, San Antonio and Phoenix. Miami can offer the most money, but with all the moves they've been making, they're pretty stacked as it is. Phoenix probably presents the best opportunity for Finley to start and to showcase his talents - he would fit in nicely with Steve Nash and the uptempo offense. Read more on Yahoo Sports
Recently released from the Los Angeles Lakers by way of the one-time amnesty clause, Brian Grant has reportedly accepted a 2-year, $4 million offer from the Phoenix Suns. This helps bolster the Suns inside presence, particularly in the defense and rebounding areas, which they lacked in the playoffs against the Spurs this year.
Brian Grant is still owed more than $29 million by the Lakers, so he was willing to sign with the Suns for a very low amount. While Grant doesn't have the athleticism of Steven Hunter (recently signed by the 76ers), he will be a valuable addition on the bench backing up Amare Stoudemire and/or Kurt Thomas. Grant has been hurt the past few years, but is reportedly in good shape right now, so it will be interesting to see how well he fits in with the run 'n gun Phoenix Suns.
Full details on the signing can be found here: http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/3893558
Update 8/22/05 - The Atlanta Hawks were able to remove Steve Belkin as the team's NBA governor and they bought out his share of the ownership group. All of this was done to finalize the trade for Joe Johnson. There is now a lot of extra pressure on Johnson to perform - he could make Belkin look like a genious (or an idiot). Johnson trade finalized - FoxSports.com
Update 8/12/05 - From the guy at the top... NBA commissioner David Stern submitted an affidavit Thursday supporting the efforts by the majority of the Atlanta Hawks owners to remove Steve Belkin as the team's NBA governor. This is big news, as we doubt the judge would have told the ownership group to get Stern's approval if he didn't plan on ousting Belkin if Stern thought it should be done. We expect Belkin to be removed as the governor, which should clear the way for the Joe Johnson deal to be finalized tomorrow. If the judge overrules the rest of the owners again tomorrow and allows Belkin to remain governor, the Hawks might as well fold up shop and prepare to be contracted one day, as Belkin reportedly does not want to put any money into the team. - Courtesy FoxSports.com
I can't believe it's gone this far, but once a trade is made this public and everything's almost done, the league has to step in and make sure it gets done. Joe Johnson will end up in Atlanta as soon as the court drama is resolved.
Update 8/4/05 - Apparently Atlanta is having second thoughts on this deal. One of the owners is not 100% sure about it and hasn't given his approval. With all the fuss caused by this trade, it has to go through... one way or another.Original Post - 8/2/05
$70 million - Not bad for a player the Boston Celtics didn't even want one and a half years ago...
“According to the Arizona Republic, Suns restricted free agent swingman Joe Johnson is Atlanta-bound. The Hawks will reportedly send Boris Diaw and two future first-rounders in a sign-and-trade deal to acquire the 24 year old. This comes after published reports indicated Johnson asked Phoenix not to match a five-year offer from Atlanta, prompting the Suns to explore trade possibilities with the Hawks.“ - Source NBA.com Blog
Scott (Lakers blog) summed up the Joe Johnson trade pretty well...you can read his comments here.
My opinion on this whole deal is that someone wasn't being honest throughout the offseason, whether it was the Suns publicly stating that they would match any offer, or if it was Joe pretending like he wanted to be in Phoenix. I find it hard to believe that Johnson just barely indicated that he had issues w/ Suns management in regards to his contract negotiations and/or their offers.
After trading Quentin Richardson to the Knicks, the Suns are currently without a quality shooting guard. Yes, Raja Bell and Jim Jackson are decent, but they were expected to come off the bench, not start. I'm not sure if Diaw will start, but I don't think that would be a good idea.
The Suns were very close to being a title contender and this latest incident is really going to affect those chances. With a healthy Joe Johnson in the 2004 Playoffs, they might've been able to match San Antonio; without him, they couldn't keep up. Add Kurt Thomas, Raja Bell and another decent bench player and maybe the 2005 NBA Finals become a reality. Now though, that's a far reality.
Here's hoping that the Suns make a trade and/or find a good replacement for Joe Johnson. Michael Finley would be a great addition if the Mavericks unload him, but it's not looking like that's going to happen as several teams may be interested in trading for him.