Channing Frye has been with the Phoenix Suns for the last six seasons, though he only played in five of them due to a heart condition that sidelined him for the 2012-13 campaign.
He bounced back after being medically cleared last season, however, and started all 82 games for the first time in his career while being a key part of a team that won 48 games in the West, especially on the offensive end of the floor.
Frye went to school at the University of Arizona and attended high school in Phoenix, so staying with the Suns as he entered free agency this summer may have seemed like a foregone conclusion. But Frye and the team were fairly far apart from a contract standpoint, so he took the offer from the highest bidder for his services — which happened to be the Orlando Magic.
Some believe that Frye should have taken less to stay “home,” but he couldn’t possibly disagree more with that assertion.
“The question I always ask is ‘would you take a hometown discount?'” Frye told Burns and Gambo Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “People say that, it’s just absolutely ridiculous. Because the thing that happens is someone takes a discount. Let’s say the market says they’re worth $10 million and they take $5 million. The next day they get traded, so they’re like ‘well dang, why did I take $5 million if you’re just going to trade me?’
“Think about it, our careers are short-lived. So why not go somewhere where you’re going to be extremely appreciated, where you’re going to be part of the future? People just say ‘take a discount,’ why? I’m 31. Why would I do that? I’m not asking for $15 million a year — I’m not crazy. The market dictated what was going on and I took the best deal.”
Frye admitted he was a bit surprised the Suns didn’t do more to keep him in Phoenix, but you honestly can’t blame him for taking the money Orlando chose to offer. This might be his last chance at a high-dollar contract at age 31, and the health scare he had the season before last may have (rightfully) impacted his decision.
But Frye is on to something that goes beyond his personal situation. It’s along the lines of people saying that guys should take less money to join a winning situation.
Nothing is guaranteed from a basketball standpoint; the Heat went to four straight Finals by assembling their group of stars, but lost as many championships as they won before LeBron James bolted back to Cleveland in free agency. Players should do what’s best for them in each one’s individual situation, and Frye is among those who realize it.