Brandon Knight played only 11 games with the Phoenix Suns during the 2013-14 season after being acquired via trade from the Milwaukee Bucks on February 19th. In that short time, which saw Knight miss some time due to an ankle injury, both Knight and the Suns sure made the most of their time together.
Ryan McDonough and company clearly was very high on the eighth overall selection in what they did and also what they risked bringing him to the organization. The Suns traded one of the faces of the franchise in Goran Dragic and acquired a player that was a restricted free agent at the end of the season and was looking for a big deal.
On the other side, Brandon Knight was on his way to being an All-Star in the Eastern Conference before being dealt to the Suns. On the surface it seemed like it was a hard transition at first for Knight as he needed to get acclimated with the two point guard system with Eric Bledsoe and then just 11 games in, went down with an ankle injury that finished his season.
We came to find out on Monday when the Suns officially announced the re-signing of Knight that the time with the Suns, all be it short, made a lasting impact and once July 1st came around and free agency began, Knight knew he wanted to make Phoenix his home long term.
“It was very quick,” Knight said. “These guys made me an offer, a very fair offer, so with what I had been through and being here for half a season or a little bit less than half a season I didn’t play much but I got to be around. I got to see how things were done, I got to see the direction things were going in and I didn’t really entertain many other teams.”
“One of the things that was reassuring for us when we sat down with Brandon and went through the office and made our offer is that they said that ‘we didn’t need to talk to anybody else,'” mentioned Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “He said ‘Phoenix is where we want to be,’ and he said what else could he do to help the team.”
The meeting between Knight and the Suns was held in Los Angeles to make it easier for the Suns to then meet with Tyson Chandler and then LeMarcus Aldridge who were meeting in L.A. as well. Knight accommodated the Suns with that and then asked to be a part of the meeting which ultimately landed Chandler in a Suns uniform and then made the Suns right there in contention for Aldridge though he ultimately chose the San Antonio Spurs.
“We were able to hit the ground running (after having Knight on board so quickly) and that reflected well on our organization,” mentioned Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.
The question then comes up, which has been the same question for three years now, can the Suns succeed long-term with the two point guard rotation. Knight and Eric Bledsoe are now both signed to play together for the next four years. They have the Kentucky connection and Knight has said in the past that he does like to have the ball in his hands in the past.
“Throughout my career, I have always played with a guy who can handle the ball,” Knight stated. “Even when I was in Milwaukee I had that, when I was in Detroit I had that so it’s not anything that I am not used to. Me having such a great relationship with Eric, it made that decision easy for me. We’re going to make it work.”
“I’ve been told continuously by these guys, it’s not about who on the ball and whose off the ball, it’s about making the right play,” he added. “And when it comes down to winning, whose on the ball and whose off the ball, the right play will be made.”
Knight’s deal with the Suns is worth a reported $70 million and along with Bledsoe and new piece Tyson Chandler, the organization now has stability with their key players that they have not yet had since McDonough and Jeff Hornacek joined the team.
“No we’re at a point where we have a lot of guys under long contracts,” said Hornacek. “I think it will be pretty stable from this point on and to have Brandon who is locked in for five years with us and just from what we saw at the end of the season last year, he only played 11 games but we really liked what we saw.”