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Report: Trevor Ariza leaving Rockets for one-year, $15 million contract with Suns

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Trevor Ariza played a supporting role on the Rockets, who had the NBA’s best record last season.

Now, he’s going to become the highest-paid player on the Suns, who had the NBA’s worst record last season.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Phoenix has a bright future with Devin Booker and No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton. The Suns even traded up on draft night for small forward Mikal Bridges, one of the most polished rookies in this class-.

But that wasn’t enough for Phoenix, which has missed the playoffs the last eight seasons. That long of a drought can push teams into shortcuts when patience should take priority. Maybe that came from direct pressure from owner Robert Sarver. Maybe general manager Ryan McDonough just felt he needed to make a splash to save his job.

Ariza, 33, will help the Suns next season. Enough to make the playoffs? Doubtful. Enough to worsen their draft pick? Probable.

Even as a win-now move, this was odd. Phoenix needs a point guard. Second-round pick Elie Okobo probably isn’t ready. Brandon Knight hasn’t been good and healthy in years. And now most of the Suns’ cap space is gone.

Report: 76ers trade Mikal Bridges to Suns for Zhaire Smith, future first-rounder

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Update: Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

Again, that is a ton to give up to move up six spots.

 

The 76ers drafting Mikal Bridges No. 10 was a dream come true. He was born in Philadelphia and grew up rooting for the 76ers. He stayed home for college, playing at Villanova. His mom even worked for the 76ers, and she was PUMPED when Adam Silver announced the selection tonight.

But the NBA is cruel.

Philadelphia has already traded Bridges – to the Suns for No. 16 pick Zhaire Smith and a future first-rounder.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

That 2021 Heat pick was unprotected for the Suns and potentially quite valuable. It’s always difficult to forecast that far into the future, but Miami – with an expensive and not-young roster – could drop considerably by then.

Did Phoenix add protections to the selection before flipping it? If not, that is a huge price to move up six spots, and I say that as someone who likes Bridges a lot. DeAndre Ayton and Bridges comprise a heck of a haul for the Suns, who are adding talent around Devin Booker.

But there are complications. Josh Jackson isn’t good enough to stress over, but he and Bridges could be a strange fit. Can either natural small forward play up or down a position?

And that Heat pick looms large. It’s reminiscent of Phoenix trading a future Lakers pick – which, incidentally, became Bridges – for Brandon Knight. That backfired. Perhaps, this works better.

Smith is a solid prospect, but maybe a strange fit in Philadelphia. He has big-man skills in a guard’s body. There’s nothing wrong with betting on the hard worker and athletic marvel developing, but he must to fit with Ben Simmons. Otherwise, the 76ers won’t have enough shooting.

Bridges was an easier fit, but apparently Philadelphia preferred Smith and the extra asset.

Report: Magic trade Elfrid Payton to Suns for second-rounder

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Former Magic coach Scott Skiles gave up on Elfrid Payton. Former Orlando general manager Rob Hennigan, who believed in Payton, got fired. And now Hennigan’s successor, Jeff Weltman, has given up on Payton.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is a tremendous buy-low move by the Suns at a position of need. Brandon Knight‘s ghost wasn’t getting the job done at point guard. Payton might.

The 23-year-old has shown promise, but his clunky outside shot is a severe limitation. Still, his defense and penetrating ability could complement franchise player Devin Booker in the backcourt.

Orlando clearly didn’t want to pay Payton in restricted free agency next summer. Better to get a second-rounder for him now rather than just let him walk for nothing.

Suns sign guard Isaiah Canaan

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Isaiah Canaan after receiving an injury hardship exemption from the NBA.

Canaan will be available Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors.

Under the exemption, the Suns added Canaan because they have four players on the roster out for two weeks or more. Star guard Devin Booker is out with a groin injury, and Alan Williams, Davon Reed, and Brandon Knight have serious knee injuries.

The 6-foot Canaan has averaged 8.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 20.2 minutes in 186 games in five seasons with Houston, Philadelphia and Chicago. He appeared in one game for the Rockets this season. On Tuesday night in Prescott Valley, Canaan had 18 points and six assists in the Northern Arizona Suns’ G League victory over Santa Cruz.

Canaan was a two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year at Murray State.

Report: When Eric Bledsoe requested trade, Suns told him they underperformed with him as starting PG

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Suns general manager Ryan McDonough has been extremely harsh publicly to Eric Bledsoe.

The organization apparently wasn’t much kinder privately when Bledsoe requested a trade before the season.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

The 27-year-old point guard had met with Suns owner Robert Sarver and McDonough during the preseason and requested a trade, sources told ESPN. Frustrated with the direction of the team, its whiffs in free agency and questionable personnel moves during his four years with the franchise, Bledsoe expressed that it was time he moved on, sources said. Bledsoe was then told by management, according to sources, that the team had underperformed ever since he was given starting point guard responsibilities.

The Suns have struggled since trading Goran Dragic to make Bledsoe the clear starting point guard, but they mainly got draft picks that have yet to convey for Dragic. They also traded Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris and Isaiah Thomas for primarily draft picks. Their expensive acquisitions – Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler and Jared Dudley – have underwhelmed. Their young players, even Devin Booker, haven’t yet learned the nuances necessary to contribute to winning. They’ve finished seasons tanking.

In other words, Phoenix has given Bledsoe a supporting cast ill-equipped to win then apparently blamed him for not winning.

This report appears to be coming through the lens of Bledsoe’s camp. McDonough and Sarver might portray the conversation differently.

But if this is a glimpse of how Bledsoe feels, no wonder he wants out.