The Phoenix Suns are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to build a championship-winning team. With three star players, a highly regarded coach, and devoted fans, they have everything a player could desire. However, the Suns are not content with just that; they have employed an intriguing strategy to entice free agents to join their ranks.
Recently, Josh Okogie became the sixth player to officially sign with the Suns, inking a two-year veteran exception deal with a player option on the second year. This unique contract structure has given Phoenix an edge over other contenders who offer traditional one-year deals. In addition to Okogie, the Suns have successfully secured commitments from Damion Lee, Yuta Watanabe, Drew Eubanks, Keita Bates-Diop, and Eric Gordon, all under similar two-year deals with player options.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks reported that this savvy approach has cost the Suns an extra $11 million toward the luxury tax. Nevertheless, the benefits seem to outweigh the costs. By offering player options, the Suns empower their signings with more control over their destiny. If things don’t go as planned in the first year or they genuinely enjoy the team and city, they can extend their stay for another season.
Notably, this arrangement also grants players an implicit no-trade clause during the initial year, a significant advantage that ESPN’s Brian Windhorst acknowledged. It means that should the Suns decide to trade a player, they require the player’s consent. This newfound leverage is undoubtedly appealing to potential signings, especially when combined with the allure of competing for a title in a city renowned for its agreeable climate and favorable tax conditions.
The mastermind behind this shrewd strategy is Suns owner Mat Ishbia, who has expressed a willingness to spare no expense in crafting the most formidable team possible. Despite the additional cost incurred, these deals remain within the limited threshold they operate, allowing them to circumvent the constraints of signing players to veteran minimum contracts only. The front office, led by general manager James Jones, has skillfully capitalized on this opportunity to attract top talent.
In a recent interview with the Arizona Republic, Ishbia proudly declared that Phoenix has now become a “destination” for free agents. The team’s depth has significantly improved compared to previous years, a testament to their successful recruitment efforts. The Suns’ ability to secure the players they desire and build an enticing roster demonstrates the effectiveness of their approach.
Such astute maneuvers cannot be underestimated. The Phoenix Suns’ unwavering commitment to bringing a championship to their city is evident in every move they make. The two-year deals with player options have become a powerful weapon in their arsenal, and it showcases the organization’s determination to create a winning culture.
The Phoenix Suns’ innovative approach to attracting top free agents through two-year deals with player options has proven fruitful. Owner Mat Ishbia’s willingness to invest in the team’s success and the front office’s adeptness in executing these contracts have elevated the Suns to a new level of allure in the eyes of potential signings. As they continue to build a formidable roster, the Suns remain steadfast in their pursuit of an NBA championship.