Tuesday night is like Christmas in July for some NBA teams.
The Phoenix Suns are hoping to find that big present under the tree after the NBA sleigh of goodies took a detour around Planet Orange last summer.
Since taking over as general manager Ryan McDonough promised improvement and re-establishing the Valley as simply a leverage point for the game’s top free agents. Last summer the Suns cast their net in hopes of landing the game’s biggest fish.
One year later it appears the franchise’s philosophy remains steadfast despite the results the recent past has produced.
“We have some cap space and Ryan has said that we can figure it out how to get a max contract guy in,” head coach Jeff Hornacek told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “We’re hoping to get one of these max guys…everyone is looking for that star.”
Nobody knows it quite like the Suns who are constantly jockeying for position in a loaded Western Conference. Phoenix doesn’t want to appear desperate but missing the playoffs for five-straight seasons has put a premium on fixing the mis-managed roster which never had a chance when the team reported to training camp.
Hornacek admits adding one star likely won’t lead to a championship but the Suns have other chips they can use in the free-agent recruiting process.
“If you want to have a guy who’s a leader of guys who are up-and-coming,” Hornacek explained. “Next year the salary cap balloons up…then maybe you can add another all-star. Then maybe you have a championship team. We feel that one of those guys might want to do that.”
Those guys mainly include talented young forwards Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Hornacek knows the Phoenix must be smart not deal pieces away in order to make the numbers work unless they are certain a top-tier free-agent is headed to the Valley.
“Ryan will keep tweaking and keep adding,” he explained. “There’s nothing better than taking a team that only won 25 games [in 2012-13]…and build, build, build.”
Part of the building was re-signing restricted free-agent guard Brandon Knight. It appears McDonough can cross that off his summer to-do list after he reportedly has agreed to a new five-year, $70 million deal.
Free-agency officially opens at 9:00 Arizona time Tuesday night.