A little over two months ago after the Suns acquired Eric Bledsoe along with Caron Butler from the Clippers, I mentioned that Butler was going to be a very important piece for the Suns.
Well joke is on me, I guess they didn’t see it that way.
Not that I am up in arms about the Suns dealing Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks for another point guard, Ish Smith, another center, Slava Kravtsov and another draft pick. I just believed that Butler being there to continue to be the big brother, mentor-type for Eric Bledsoe as he becomes a focal-point for the first time in his NBA career would be the exact guidance the young guard needed to take the next step in his career.
But then I see what the Suns get in return for Butler from Milwaukee and I definitely get it.
According to Paul Coro, the Suns gain $5.65 million in cap space as a result of this deal. Smith has a team option in his contract after this season (which is worth less than a million this season) and Kravtsov is an expiring contract after this season. Team options and expiring contracts mean one thing, flexibility.
That is exactly the thing the Suns need during this rebuilding process and who knows, maybe some of that new cap space can be put toward Michael Beasley getting out of town. Or it can help not only with bringing in top draft picks but also add a key player via free agency or trade. Flexibility in the NBA is a wonderful thing and with each move that Ryan McDonough makes, I become more and more of a believer.
Every move has a had a purpose.
People were mad about the Alex Len pick 5th overall. I was a little shocked too, I won’t lie. But then I see that pick paired with Archie Goodwin, plus see what he is made of in the Vegas Summer League and get excited about what that tandem can be capable of. Eric Bledsoe was one of the hottest names on the NBA market, the Suns have him. The get a first round pick for Luis Scola. The average age of this team is now 23 and yet they are as talented a team potentially as we have seen in a number of years.
It makes me think that this rebuilding process may not be as long as some might think
Mix that with players that couple players that MAY hit the open market next offseason: Avery Bradley (restricted), Kyrie Irving (not happening/team option), Dwayne Wade (has early termination option), Lance Stephenson (unrestricted), Kobe Bryant (unrestricted/Haha), Austin Rivers (team option), Bradley Beal (team option), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (team option), Lebron James (double haha/has early termination option), Danny Granger (unrestricted), Paul George (restricted), Paul Pierce (unrestricted), Dirk Nowitzki (unrestricted), Pao Gasol (unrestricted), and Chris Bosh (has early termination option).
I want to reiterate that a lot of these players MAY be on the market. I am just giving you an idea of what could happen next summer. Not telling you who the Suns should or shouldn’t go after. No, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki or Kyrie Irving will not be in a Suns uniform any time soon. Throwing the max at Paul George and making the Pacers sweat a little bit definitely sounds intriguing though.
Flexibility! It makes me think that this rebuilding process may not be as long as some might think. They only thing now is for it to translate onto the floor over the next couple of seasons because on paper, this train is moving in the right direction.
The following is the statement from Suns GM Ryan McDonough on Caron Butler deaing dealt to the Bucks in which he used the word flexibility:
“We would like to thank Caron for his professionalism and wish him the best with the Milwaukee Bucks,” he said. “This deal gives us significant cap space as well as the flexibility to trade for another exciting player, which is how we were able to acquire Eric Bledsoe. It also provides us with two young players in our efforts to build a team capable of sustainable success.”