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Suns GM James Jones: ‘We need to add guys in their prime’

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The Suns have accidentally struggled their way into a strong young core.

That’s the marvel of the NBA’s system, which rewards bad teams with high draft picks.

Phoenix nailed a mid-round pick in Devin Booker then accidentally stumbled into No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton and a top-seven pick in the upcoming draft. The Suns might even get another high draft pick or two while those young players are still developing.

That sets up Phoenix to really surge at some point in a couple years.

Of course, this organization hasn’t shown that type of patience.

Suns general manager James Jones:

We need to add guys in their prime. We need to raise the floor of our team. And you only do that with NBA players – not prospects, but NBA players. So, we’ll focus on acquiring those guys via all the channels we can.

This is a bad plan, one Jones has talked about before.

Yes, NBA players in their prime make far more of an immediate difference than prospects. But it’s unlikely Phoenix can attract, this summer, veterans who’ll lead to meaningful winning.

The Suns could acquire veterans who help them win 15 more games next season. That’s a ton! That’d still mean going 34-48 and missing the playoffs. Would Phoenix really feel good about that?

Those veterans would be expensive, maybe for years to come. They’d help the team get a worse draft pick. If acquired in a trade, they’d probably cost young players and/or draft picks.

The Suns aren’t close enough to winning to take this approach. They need to nail their first-round pick and develop their young players.

Those veterans Jones wants all started as young players. Group enough of them in the same age range, and they peak together. That’s when real winning happens. But just adding a couple marginal veterans to an otherwise-unready team doesn’t help enough.

Maybe Phoenix can land a true difference-making star. That’d be a completely different story. It also seems highly unlikely the Suns can lure a player like that.

This sounds like Phoenix is trying to be good both now and later, which rarely works. The Suns are going everywhere, therefore nowhere.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.