Archive for the ‘ Phoenix Suns Blog ’ Category

Suns waive Shaquille Harrison and Darrell Arthur

The Phoenix Suns have waived guard Shaquille Harrison and forward Darrell Arthur.

Harrison initially signed with the Suns on Feb. 21, 2018, and averaged 6.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 23 games last season, the first of his NBA career.

Arthur was acquired by the Suns in a trade from Brooklyn on July 20, 2018; the nine-year veteran holds career averages of 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 503 games.

Phoenix Suns fire general manager Ryan McDonough

The Phoenix Suns have fired general manager Ryan McDonough.

It’s surprising that this happened in preseason. It’s an unusual time for any team to fire their GM. Logically it’s done during a key stretch of the regular season, or perhaps at the end of the season, as offseason for the team begins. To do it right in the middle of preseason is unusual.

In the interim, general manager duties will be handled by Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones and Assistant General Manager Trevor Bukstein. Jones will manage basketball operations including oversight of coaches, players and staff, while Bukstein will be the primary contact for player transactions.

“After much thought and a long evaluation of our basketball operations, I have decided to relieve Ryan McDonough of his duties as general manager of the Phoenix Suns,” said Suns Managing Partner, Robert Sarver. “Our focus in the short term is to prepare for the upcoming NBA season and to continue pursuing opportunities to strengthen our roster. Over the course of the season, we will explore both internal and external options as we look to restructure our basketball front office leadership. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank Ryan for his efforts and contributions during his five-plus years with the Suns. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Devin Booker undergoes hand surgery

The Suns signed young star scoring guard Devin Booker to a big extension this summer. But he reportedly has something important to take care of before starting the 2018-19 NBA season. Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting:

The Phoenix Suns will likely start training camp without Devin Booker, whose injured hand is inflamed and may require surgery, a source close the Republic reports.

Booker, the Suns’ leading scorer and highest paid player, was bothered by the right-hand injury throughout the closing months of last season, missing the last 12 games.

At the time, Booker and the Suns took criticism, with some suggesting it was a tactic to improve the team’s position in the draft.

Full article

UPDATE: Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker today underwent successful surgery to repair an injury to the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint in his right hand. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steven Shin at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Booker’s expected recovery time is approximately six weeks.

The Houston Rockets have traded forward Ryan Anderson and guard De’Anthony Melton to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Marquese Chriss and guard Brandon Knight.

“We are excited to welcome Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Ryan has established himself as one of the league’s best shooters and we think he’ll be a great fit in our offensive system. De’Anthony is a talented young guard who stood out for us throughout the pre-Draft process and at the NBA Summer League.”

“We’d like to thank Brandon and Marquese for their contributions to the Suns franchise over the past few seasons. We wish them the best of luck as they begin the next chapter of their careers with the Rockets.”

Knight (6-3, 195) was originally the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2011 NBA Draft. In six seasons played, he has averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Knight also hit at least 100 3-pointers in five of those six seasons.

Over a three-season span from 2013-14 through 2015-16, Knight was one of 11 players to have averaged at least 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.00 steals. James Harden and Chris Paul were two of the other players on that list.

Chriss (6-10, 240) was the eighth overall pick by Sacramento in the 2016 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by Phoenix. He appeared in all 82 games with 75 starts in 2016-17 and earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.

In two seasons with the Suns, Chriss averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. He joined Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the only players under the age of 21 by February 1st of their second season to have totaled at least 1,300 points, 700 rebounds, 100 blocks, 100 steals, and 100 3-pointers made within their first two seasons.

Anderson, a 6-10, 240-pound forward, is a 10-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while making 2.1 three-pointers per game on 38.2 percent shooting from long range. He has played in 622 career games with New Jersey (2008-09), Orlando (2009-2012), New Orleans (2012-2016) and Houston (2016-2018), in addition to 46 career playoff appearances. One of the most productive “stretch fours” in NBA history, Anderson’s 1,315 career three-pointers are the third-most ever by a player 6-10 or taller, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki and Rashard Lewis.

The 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player Award winner, Anderson is one of just two players to average at least two three-point makes per game in each of the last eight seasons, joined only by Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Last season, the 30-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while making 2.0 three-pointers on 38.6 percent three-point shooting in 66 games (50 starts) to help the Rockets to a franchise record 65 wins and a berth in the Western Conference Finals.

Anderson entered the NBA after being selected by New Jersey with the 21st overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Sacramento native played two seasons collegiately at the University of California, earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007-08 after leading the conference with 21.1 points per game.

​Melton, a 6-4, 200-pound guard, was selected by the Rockets with the 46th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 20-year-old tied for the lead at NBA Summer League 2018 with 3.0 steals per game, in addition to averaging 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He was the only rookie, and one of just three players overall, to average at least 15 points, seven boards and four assists at NBA Summer League 2018. Melton’s best performance came on July 9 against the LA Clippers when he posted 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while making 5-of-10 three-point attempts.

Melton played one season at the University of Southern California before entering the NBA. As a freshman in 2016-17, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks while leading the Pac-12 and tying a USC freshman record with 69 steals. Melton became the first freshman in all of Division I basketball to record at least 300 points, 150 rebounds, 100 assists, 60 steals and 35 blocks since Dwyane Wade did so for Marquette in 2001-02.

A native of North Hollywood, California, Melton led Crespi High School in Encino, California to back-to-back state titles in 2015 and 2016.

Sixers trade Richaun Holmes to Suns

The Philadelphia 76ers in a trade today received cash considerations from Phoenix in exchange for the player contract of forward-center Richaun Holmes.

In three NBA seasons with the 76ers, Holmes appeared in 156 games (20 starts) and averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game.

Holmes was selected by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft after three seasons at Bowling Green.

Suns complete trades with Sixers, Nets

The Phoenix Suns today completed two trades, one with the Philadelphia 76ers and one with the Brooklyn Nets.

From Philadelphia, the Suns acquired forward/center Richaun Holmes in exchange for cash considerations.

From Brooklyn, the Suns acquired forward Darrell Arthur in exchange for forward Jared Dudley and a protected 2021 second-round pick.

Holmes has played each of his first three NBA seasons with the 76ers, averaging 7.4 points on 54.7 percent shooting, 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 16.9 minutes over 156 career games. This past season, the 6-10, 235-pound post player appeared in 48 games and averaged 6.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes, shooting a career-high 56.0 percent from the field. The 24-year-old had his best statistical season in 2016-17 when he averaged career highs of 9.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 20.9 minutes while appearing in 57 games (17 starts).

Originally the 37th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Holmes holds career averages per 36 minutes of 15.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks; he and No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns are the only players in the Class of 2015 to be averaging at least 15 points, nine boards and one block per 36 minutes. A native of Lockport, Illinois, Holmes played the final three seasons of his collegiate career at Bowling Green State University, earning MAC Defensive Player of the Year and All-MAC First Team honors in 2015.

Arthur has played nine NBA seasons, the last five with the Denver Nuggets before being dealt to the Nets on July 13. Arthur has appeared in 503 career games with Denver and the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds in 17.8 minutes.

Dudley, an 11-year NBA veteran who has played seven seasons overall with the Suns including each of the last two, departs Phoenix ranked seventh in franchise history with 543 three-point makes and fourth in franchise history with a 40.4 percent mark from three-point range. In his seven seasons with the Suns, Dudley holds averages of 8.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 468 games. Dudley appeared in 48 games this past season, averaging 3.2 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 14.3 minutes.

The Brooklyn Nets have acquired forward Jared Dudley and a protected 2021 second round draft pick from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Darrell Arthur.

Dudley has appeared in 788 career games with Phoenix, Washington, Milwaukee, the Los Angeles Clippers and Charlotte, recording averages of 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 23.4 minutes per game.

Arthur was acquired in a trade with the Denver Nuggets on July 13.

Suns sign Trevor Ariza

Suns sign Trevor Ariza

The Phoenix Suns today signed forward Trevor Ariza.

The deal is reportedly a one-year, $15 million contract.

“We are excited to have Trevor join the Suns franchise,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough about the 14-year NBA veteran. “Trevor is a talented two-way player who will bring defensive versatility, shooting and leadership to our organization. He has played a big role on a lot of successful teams and we think he will have a tremendous impact on our club, both on and off of the court.”

Ariza is a veteran leader and proven winner who possesses nine years and 102 games of playoff experience in his 14 NBA seasons, including an NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009. An ideal ‘3-And-D’ wing known for his shooting ability and defensive versatility, Ariza has averaged at least 2.0 three-point makes and 1.5 steals in each of the last five seasons—the only other NBA players to average these amounts or better in each of the past five seasons are Stephen Curry and James Harden.

The 6-8, 215-pound forward joins the Suns after playing the last four seasons with Houston, where he twice helped the Rockets reach the Western Conference Finals while averaging 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.4 three-pointers and 1.8 steals in 310 games. In 2017-18, Ariza made a career-high 2.5 three-pointers per game and shot a career-best 85.4 percent from the free throw line to help Houston win a franchise record 65 games.

For his career, the 33-year-old has averaged 10.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 35.3 percent from three-point range in 942 games with six teams: New York (2004-2006), Orlando (2006-2007), the L.A. Lakers (2007-2009), Houston (2009-10; 2014-2018), New Orleans (2010-2012) and Washington (2012-2014). Ariza ranks 42nd in NBA history with 1,313 career three-pointers made and 52nd with 1,424 career steals.

The Phoenix Suns signed their 2018 NBA Draft acquisitions today: No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton, No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges (pronounced Mick-EL), No. 31 pick Élie Okobo (pronounced EL-ee oh-KO-bo) and No. 59 pick George King.

Ayton is the Suns’ first No. 1 overall selection in franchise history and is the first No. 1 pick in NBA history to be drafted by a team in the same state where he played in both college and high school. The University of Arizona product is a rare combination of size and skill, possessing uncommon athleticism, footwork and shooting touch for a player at 7-1, 250 pounds. The 19-year-old center averaged 20.1 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his one season with the Wildcats, earning Consensus First Team All-America honors and winning the 2018 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. A native of the Bahamas, Ayton played in high school at Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep where he earned numerous All-America distinctions prior to his collegiate career.

Bridges, a versatile defender and exceptional shooter, helped Villanova University win two NCAA Championships (2016, 2018) in three seasons at the school. The 6-7, 210-pound wing won the 2018 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award after averaging 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals while shooting 51.4 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from three-point range (18th best in the nation) and 85.1 percent from the free throw line for the champs. Expanding his role in each of his three seasons with Villanova, Bridges was a co-winner of the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016-17 and created havoc defensively for Villanova’s title-winning team in 2015-16. The Philadelphia native was selected by the 76ers with the 10th overall pick before being acquired by the Suns on draft night.

Okobo, a natural scorer who has made strides running the point, had a breakout 2017-18 playing for Pau-Lacq-Orthez of France’s top tier league, LNB Pro A. In 34 games this past season, the 20-year-old led his team with averages of 12.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.7 steals, keying an 11-5 stretch to close the season and qualify for the playoffs. In the playoffs, Okobo scored 44 points including eight three-pointers in the opening game against top-seeded Monaco, the second-highest scoring game in the history of the French league’s playoffs. The native of Bordeaux, France is a leading contender for LNB Pro A’s Most Improved Player Award and was a 2017-18 All-Star selection, recording 17 points and a game-high 17 assists in the All-Star Game.

King, an active defender and tough rebounder from the wing position, ranks second in University of Colorado history with a career three-point mark of 40.1 percent. The 6-6, 225-pound forward averaged 12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds over his final three seasons with the Buffaloes, named to the 2017-18 All-Pac-12 Second Team as a senior and winning the 2015-16 Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year award as a sophomore. The 24-year-old ranks fifth in CU history in three-point makes, 14th in rebounds and 18th in scoring. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina before attending high school in San Antonio, King elevated his draft stock following his senior season, being named East MVP at the 2018 NABC College All-Star Game before being named to the All-Tournament Team at the 2018 Portsmouth Invitational.

Suns waive Alan Williams

The Phoenix Suns have waived forward/center Alan Williams.

Williams averaged 6.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 13.6 minutes in 62 appearances over the past three seasons with the Suns, the first three of his NBA career. He initially signed with the Suns on March 8, 2016.

Suns announce assistant coaching staff

The Phoenix Suns today announced Head Coach Igor Kokoskov’s coaching staff, naming Joe Prunty, Corliss Williamson, Jamelle McMillan and Jason Staudt assistant coaches, Cody Toppert director of player development and Devin Smith player development coach.

The Suns have also added Alex Zampier as head video coordinator and retained Brandon Rosenthal as assistant video coordinator.

“Proudly, I would like to announce the Suns’ coaching staff is complete,” said Kokoškov. “Our main criteria was to find high character people who will bring positive energy and enthusiasm to the team day in and day out. I strongly believe that we have extraordinary teachers of the game who are capable of helping our talented team grow. As a staff we believe that we control our own preparation, so we will give our best to prepare ourselves and our team to play on the highest possible level, one game at a time.”

Bringing 22 years of experience in the NBA to Phoenix, Prunty joins the Suns after most recently working as interim head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Prunty went 21-16 over the final 37 games of the season at the helm of the Bucks before pushing the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs. He began 2017-18 as an assistant coach, his fourth season with Milwaukee which also included 17 games as interim head coach in 2015-16.

Williamson joins the Suns following two seasons as an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2016-2018), and he has also worked three seasons as an assistant with the Sacramento Kings (2013-2016). Before joining the NBA coaching ranks, Williamson was head coach at the University of Central Arkansas for three seasons from 2010-2013. His coaching career began with three years at Arkansas Baptist College, the first two as an assistant before serving as head coach during the 2009-10 season.

A 12-year NBA veteran as a player, “Big Nasty” averaged 11.1 points on 49.0 percent shooting plus 3.9 rebounds in 822 career games with Sacramento (1995-2000; 2005-2007), the Toronto Raptors (2000-01), Detroit (2001-2004) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2004-05). In 2003-04, Kokoškov was an assistant coach on Hall of Famer Larry Brown’s coaching staff in Detroit while Williamson averaged 9.5 points on 50.5 percent shooting to help the Pistons win the 2004 NBA Championship. Over the 12 seasons that comprised Williamson’s career, no NBA player totaled more points when coming off the bench and he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award with the Pistons in 2001-02.

McMillan joins the Suns following six seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans (2012-2018), serving as one of the NBA’s youngest assistant coaches in his final two seasons with the Pelicans. The 29-year-old began with the Pelicans (then the Hornets) as a coaching intern in 2012 before working as a player development coach with the team for three seasons from 2013-2016. While a member of Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff, McMillan served as the Pelicans’ head coach at NBA Summer League 2017 in Las Vegas.

Staudt joins the Suns after most recently spending the 2017-18 season as Orlando’s pro personnel scout. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in various positions with five different NBA teams. Prior to his most recent tenure with the Magic, Staudt served as advance scout for Portland (2016-17) and the Houston Rockets (2012-2016). He spent seven seasons as video coordinator for Milwaukee from 2005-2012, which followed a brief stretch as an advance scout for Cleveland. Staudt began his NBA career as an intern with the Magic in 2001, elevating to video coordinator and advance scout in three seasons during his first tenure with Orlando before spending one season as an assistant coach with the Idaho Stampede (2004-05), then of the CBA.

Toppert remains in the Suns organization after spending the 2017-18 season as head coach of the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. Under Toppert, the NAZ Suns led the G League with five GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, in addition to leading the league in three-point makes, ranking second in scoring and winning a team-record 23 games.

Smith joins the coaching ranks following a decorated playing career overseas, spending his final six seasons with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv where he played a key role in the club’s 2014 EuroLeague Championship. An All-EuroLeague Second Team selection in 2014-15, he helped Maccabi to two Israeli League titles, six Israeli Cups and the 2012 Adriatic League crown, in addition to the 2014 EuroLeague title. Smith retired in 2017, leaving Maccabi ranked ninth in club history in scoring in European competitions with 1,539 points, and he was inducted into Maccabi’s Hall of Fame earlier this year. Smith was a teammate of Suns forward Dragan Bender with Maccabi for the 2015-16 season.

After selecting Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the first No. 1 overall pick in franchise history, the Phoenix Suns added Villanova forward Mikal Bridges (Mick-L), the No. 10 overall pick, in a trade with Philadelphia and also selected French guard Élie Okobo (EL-ee oh-KO-bo) with the No. 31 pick and Colorado forward George King with the No. 59 pick.

Bridges, a versatile defender and knockdown three-point shooter, won the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award in 2017-18 while helping Villanova win their second NCAA Championship in his three seasons at the school. A 6-7, 210-pound wing, he averaged 17.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals for the champs, while shooting 51.4 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from three-point range (18th best in the nation) and 85.1 percent from the free throw line. The 21-year-old earned Third Team All-America honors and was named to the All-Final Four Team after averaging 17.2 points in the NCAA tournament including 19 in the title game victory over Michigan.

Expanding his role in each of his three seasons at Villanova, Bridges averaged 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 116 total games, shooting 52.5 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from long range and 84.5 percent from the stripe. After redshirting the 2014-15 season, his length created havoc defensively on the Wildcats’ 2015-16 NCAA Championship team before he was a co-winner of the Big East Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016-17. A native of Philadelphia, Bridges starred at Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

The Suns acquired the rights to Bridges from the 76ers in exchange for the rights to the 16th overall pick (Zhaire Smith) and Miami’s 2021 first-round pick.

Okobo, a natural scorer who has made strides running the point, had a breakout season playing for Pau-Lacq-Orthez of France’s top league, LNB Pro A. In 34 games this past season, the 20-year-old led his team with 12.9 points, 4.8 assists and 2.7 steals, shooting 47.5 percent from the field, 39.4 percent from three-point range and 81.9 percent from the free throw line. The 6-2, 180-pound guard scored a career-high 44 points including eight three-pointers on May 23 against top-seeded Monaco in the first round of playoffs. A contender for Pro A’s Most Improved Player Award, he was a 2017-18 All-Star selection, recording 17 points and a game-high 17 assists in the All-Star Game.

A native of Bordeaux, France, Okobo began playing for Espoirs Pau-Lacq-Orthez, the training center for the senior team in the Pro A league, at age 16 in 2014. He made his LNB Pro A debut in 2015, playing eight games in France’s top league in 2015-16 and 22 games in 2016-17 before his breakthrough 2017-18 season. Okobo has also represented France in international competition, leading the French to a bronze medal at the 2017 FIBA U20 European Championship in Greece, and ranking third in scoring at the 2016 FIBA U20 European Championship in Finland with 18.9 points per game.

King, an active defender and tough rebounder, ranks second in Colorado history with a career three-point percentage of 40.1 percent. The 6-6, 225-pound wing averaged 12.5 points and 6.4 rebounds over his final three seasons in Boulder, named to the 2017-18 All-Pac-12 Second Team as a senior and winning the 2015-16 Pac-12 Conference Most Improved Player of the Year award as a sophomore. After playing as a freshman in 2013-14 then redshirting in 2014-15, King was one of the Pac-12’s most versatile players the past three seasons, able to defend multiple positions, rebound from the wing and make three-pointers.

The 24-year-old’s draft stock soared following his senior season when he was the East MVP at the 2018 NABC College All-Star Game, finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. He then stood out at the 2018 Portsmouth Invitational, named to the All-Tournament Team after averaging 18.0 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent from the field. Raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina, before attending high school at Brennan in San Antonio, Texas, his mother is a 25-year veteran of the Air Force.

The Suns added Bridges, Okobo and King after making Ayton the first No. 1 overall pick in franchise history earlier in the evening. Ayton, who played collegiately at Arizona and in high school at Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep, is the first No. 1 pick in NBA history to be selected by a team in the same state where he played in both college and high school.

A rare combination of size and skill, the 7-1, 250-pounder possesses uncommon athleticism, footwork and shooting touch for a player with his length and strength. During his one season in Tucson, the 19-year-old was a Consensus First Team All-America selection and won the 2018 Karl Malone Award given to the nation’s best power forward. Ayton averaged 20.1 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Arizona, becoming the first to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in the same season.

He set a Wildcats record and Pac-12 freshman record with 24 double-doubles, and became just the sixth freshman nationally in the past 25 years to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds (two of the others were Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony). Ayton set Arizona freshman season records in points (704), rebounds (405), blocks (66) and field goal percentage (.612) while also being named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Ayton played the final two seasons of his high school career at Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep. As a senior in 2016-17, he led the Bruins to a 33-6 record and The Grind Session National Championship, averaging 26 points, 15 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Among his many honors, he was a McDonald’s All-American, Naismith Trophy High School All-American, USA TODAY ALL-USA First Team selection, and played in the Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.

Born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, Ayton began seriously pursing basketball at age 12 after attending the Jeff Rodgers Basketball Camp, the Bahamas’ premier summer basketball program. Ayton flashed his immense potential and later that summer moved to San Diego to attend Balboa City School. He would later transfer to Hillcrest Prep and move to Phoenix to live with his family.

Selecting No. 1 overall for the first time in franchise history, the Phoenix Suns today selected University of Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the first pick in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft in New York.

“This is a historic day for the Phoenix Suns franchise,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Deandre is a special player and we are thrilled to welcome him home to Phoenix. It is extremely rare for a player with his size, length and athleticism to be able to not only finish around the rim but also step away from the basket and make shots. At 7-1 and exceptionally strong, he is uniquely gifted with his hand-eye coordination and footwork. In addition, he has strong ties to this area and we can’t wait to see him in a Suns uniform.”

“It means a lot to me because you know the fans out there are amazing—they’re the best fans in the world,” said Ayton, shortly after being selected on ESPN’s broadcast of the Draft. “I’m really happy to be a part of the Phoenix Suns now and we can really start a winning legacy with Devin Booker and Josh Jackson and all those other guys. We’re a young team and we’re ready. I’m just happy to be a Phoenix Sun.”

Having played collegiately at Arizona and in high school at Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep, Ayton is the first No. 1 overall pick in NBA history to be selected by a team in the same state where he played in both college and high school. He is the first Arizona Wildcat to be taken with the No. 1 pick of the NBA Draft and is also the first No. 1 pick to have played high school ball in Arizona. Ayton is the 13th player born outside the United States to be drafted first overall and the second from the Bahamas, joining Mychal Thompson by Portland in 1978.

A rare combination of size and skill, the 7-1, 250-pound center possesses uncommon athleticism, footwork and shooting touch for a player with his length and strength. During his one season in Tucson, the 19-year-old was a Consensus First Team All-America selection and won the 2018 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Ayton averaged 20.1 points on 61.2 percent shooting, 11.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks for Arizona, becoming the first to win Pac-12 Player of the Year, Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and Pac-12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors in the same season.

He set a Wildcats record and Pac-12 freshman record with 24 double-doubles, and became just the sixth freshman nationally in the past 25 years to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds (two of the others were Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony). Ayton set Arizona freshman season records in points (704), rebounds (405), blocks (66) and field goal percentage (.612) while also being named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.

Ayton played the final two seasons of his high school career at Phoenix’s Hillcrest Prep. As a senior in 2016-17, he led the Bruins to a 33-6 record and The Grind Session National Championship, averaging 26 points, 15 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Among his many honors, he was a McDonald’s All-American, Naismith Trophy High School All-American, USA TODAY ALL-USA First Team selection, and played in the Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.

Born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas, Ayton began seriously pursing basketball at age 12 after attending the Jeff Rodgers Basketball Camp, the Bahamas’ premier summer basketball program. Ayton flashed his immense potential and later that summer moved to San Diego to attend Balboa City School. He would later transfer to Hillcrest Prep and move to Phoenix to live with his family.

The Suns, drafting for the 51st time this year, had never before picked higher than second overall, most recently selecting Armen Gilliam with the No. 2 pick of the 1987 NBA Draft. The Suns also used the second overall pick to select Neal Walk in 1969, given the No. 2 pick on March 19, 1969, after losing a coin flip with Milwaukee to determine which team received the No. 1 pick and, eventually, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The list of players selected first overall features some of the most legendary names in NBA history, including Abdul-Jabbar, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon. All-time, 11 first overall picks have become NBA MVP award winners and 17 are Hall of Famers, not counting several more who are certain to be inducted once eligible. In the Lottery Era (since 1985), nearly half of the players to be selected No. 1 have gone on to win NBA Rookie of the Year and 22 have become All-Stars at some point in their careers with a combined 136 All-Star appearances.

In Arizona professional sports history, the Phoenix Mercury have drafted first overall on three occasions and those three No. 1 picks have directly contributed to the team’s three WNBA Championships: Diana Taurasi, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, was taken first overall in 2004 and has won three titles with the Mercury; the first pick in 2007 was used to acquire Tangela Smith who helped the Mercury win titles in 2007 and 2009; and Brittney Griner was taken first overall in 2013, helping the Mercury to the title in 2014. The Arizona Diamondbacks have twice selected first overall in MLB’s draft, taking Justin Upton in 2005 and Dansby Swanson in 2015. Neither the Arizona Cardinals nor Arizona Coyotes have selected first overall in the NFL Draft nor NHL Draft since the franchises moved to the state.

The Suns were awarded the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history after winning the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery on May 15 in Chicago. The Suns had a 25.0 percent probability of winning the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, highest of any team participating in the Lottery.

The Suns’ draft night continues as the team owns three more selections in the 2018 NBA Draft. In addition to the No. 1 overall pick, the Suns possess the No. 16 (via Miami), No. 31 and No. 59 (via Toronto) selections.

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to terms with Igor Kokoškov (kuh-KOS-kov) to become the team’s new head coach, making him the first head coach born and raised outside North America in NBA history. Kokoškov will begin his duties as Suns head coach following the conclusion of the Utah Jazz season.

“We are thrilled to bring Valley resident Igor Kokoškov back to Arizona as head coach of the Phoenix Suns,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Igor has been a pioneer throughout his basketball career and he brings a wealth of high level coaching experience to our club. He was one of the first non-American born assistant coaches at both the NCAA and NBA levels and his most recent head coaching stint includes leading the Slovenian national team to the 2017 EuroBasket title, which was the first European title in the history of the country. Igor’s teams have always had a player development focus, a creative style of play and a track record of success.”

Kokoškov, 46, will be the 19th head coach in franchise history. He is currently in his third season as an assistant coach with the Jazz and 18th season overall as an NBA assistant coach since becoming the first non-American assistant coach in league history in 2000. Kokoškov has helped the Jazz reach the Western Conference Semifinals in each of the past two seasons as the team’s lead assistant coach.

According to the Arizona Republic, “Kokoskov, 46, has many of the qualities General Manager Ryan McDonough is looking for in his next coach. He’s had success as a head coach – albeit not in the NBA – having led Slovenia to the EuroBasket 2017 championship. One of the star players on that team: Guard Luka Doncic, who could be the Suns’ choice if they get the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s had extensive NBA coaching experience; in addition to his five years as an assistant with the Suns, Kokoskov also worked for the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic and the Jazz.”

Kokoškov previously worked with the Suns as an assistant coach from 2008-2013 and was on the bench for the team’s 2010 Western Conference Finals run. In addition to his time as an assistant with the Jazz and the Suns, he has been an assistant coach with the Orlando Magic (2015), Cleveland Cavaliers (2013-14), Detroit Pistons (2003-2008) and Los Angeles Clippers (2000-2003). Kokoškov has been on the coaching staff of seven teams to reach the Conference Finals, two teams to reach the NBA Finals and won an NBA title as an assistant coach with the Pistons in 2004, becoming the first non-American assistant to be an NBA Champion.

A native of Belgrade, Serbia, Kokoškov is an accomplished international coach on top of his extensive NBA experience. As head coach of the Slovenian national team from 2016-2017, Kokoškov guided the nation to a gold-medal finish and perfect 9-0 record at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 as Slovenia captured its first-ever European Championship. He also was head coach of the Georgian national team from 2008-2015, qualifying for EuroBasket three times which Georgia had never accomplished previously.

In 1999, Kokoškov became the first European coach to hold a full-time position with an NCAA Division I basketball program as an assistant coach at the University of Missouri under Quin Snyder, whose coaching staff Kokoškov has been a member of with the Jazz for the past three seasons.

The Suns today signed guard Shaquille Harrison to a multi-year contract. This after previously signing him to 10-day contracts on February 21 and March 3.

Harrison has appeared in nine games with the Suns, the first nine games of his NBA career, averaging 4.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 13.4 minutes. Per 36 minutes, Harrison has averaged 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 3.6 steals and 1.5 blocks in his nine games. Making his first career start in the Suns’ most recent game at Charlotte, Harrison scored a career-high 14 points in addition to recording four assists and two steals in 21 minutes. Harrison snagged four steals in two of his first four career games as he joined Alvan Adams as the only players in Suns history to record multiple performances of at least four steals through four career games.

A 6-4, 190-pound guard, Harrison was originally called up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League. In 36 games with the NAZ Suns this season, he averaged 11.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals (10th in G League). In five games after taking over the starting point guard role on February 2, Harrison averaged 14.0 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 9.2 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals, guiding the NAZ Suns to a 4-1 record in those games. On February 9 at the South Bay Lakers, Harrison scored 25 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists.

The 33rd GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and league-high fourth from the NAZ Suns, Harrison has averaged 10.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 84 career G League games, all with the NAZ Suns over the past two seasons.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Tulsa. In addition to two seasons with the Suns’ NBA G League affiliate, Harrison participated in Phoenix’s training camp prior to the 2016-17 season and played for the Suns’ Summer League team in 2017, averaging 10.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting in three games.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Harrison left Tulsa as the only player in Golden Hurricane basketball history to start every game in a four-year career. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 133 games for his career, finishing second in program history with 461 career assists and third with 244 steals.

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Shaquille Harrison to a second 10-day contract.

Harrison signed his initial 10-day contract with the Suns on February 21.

Harrison has appeared in five games with the Suns, the first five games of his NBA career, totaling nine points, 10 rebounds, eight steals and seven assists in 43 minutes. In Wednesday’s win at Memphis, Harrison recorded seven points, five rebounds, four steals, two assists and a block. Harrison also had four steals in his NBA debut on February 23 against the LA Clippers; he and Alvan Adams are the only players in Suns history to record multiple performances of at least four steals through four career games.

A 6-4, 190-pound guard, Harrison was originally called up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League. In 36 games with the NAZ Suns this season, he averaged 11.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals (10th in G League). In five games after taking over the starting point guard role on February 2, Harrison averaged 14.0 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 9.2 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals, guiding the NAZ Suns to a 4-1 record in those games. On February 9 at the South Bay Lakers, Harrison scored 25 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists.

The 33rd GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and league-high fourth from the NAZ Suns, Harrison has averaged 10.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 84 career G League games, all with the NAZ Suns over the past two seasons.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Tulsa. In addition to two seasons with the Suns’ NBA G League affiliate, Harrison participated in Phoenix’s training camp prior to the 2016-17 season and played for the Suns’ Summer League team in 2017, averaging 10.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting in three games.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Harrison left Tulsa as the only player in Golden Hurricane basketball history to start every game in a four-year career. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 133 games for his career, finishing second in program history with 461 career assists and third with 244 steals.

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Shaquille Harrison to a 10-day contract, calling him up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League.

Phoenix has also released guard Josh Gray.

The team’s roster remains at 17 players.

Harrison, a 6-4, 190-pound guard, will be making his NBA debut when he first appears for the Suns. In 36 games with the NAZ Suns this season he averaged 11.0 points, shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals (10th in G League). In five games after taking over the starting point guard role on February 2, Harrison averaged 14.0 points on 48.3 percent shooting, 9.2 assists, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals, guiding the NAZ Suns to a 4-1 record in those games. On February 9 at the South Bay Lakers, Harrison scored 25 points and dished out a career-high 12 assists.

The 33rd GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and league-high fourth from the NAZ Suns, Harrison has averaged 10.3 points on 45.8 percent shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 steals in 84 career G League games, all with the NAZ Suns over the past two seasons.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of the University of Tulsa. In addition to two seasons with the Suns’ NBA G League affiliate, Harrison participated in Phoenix’s training camp prior to the 2016-17 season and played for the Suns’ Summer League team in 2017, averaging 10.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting in three games.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Harrison left Tulsa as the only player in Golden Hurricane basketball history to start every game in a four-year career. He averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals in 133 games for his career, finishing second in program history with 461 career assists and third with 244 steals.

Gray first signed a 10-day contract with the Suns on February 2 and averaged 6.4 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals in 17.2 minutes over five games.

Harrison will wear uniform No. 10

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Josh Gray to a second 10-day contract after initially signing him on February 2.

Gray made his NBA debut against Utah on February 2 and has averaged 6.8 points, 3.0 assists, 2.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 17.5 minutes in four games with the Suns. He has eight steals, including four on Wednesday against San Antonio and three on Saturday against Denver, becoming the first Suns rookie to total at least eight steals through his first four career games since Richard Dumas in 1993.

A 6-1, 180-pound guard, Gray was originally called up him up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League. In 31 games with the NAZ Suns this season he averaged 17.9 points, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three-point range, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals (t-1st in G League). The NBA G League Player of the Week for games played Jan. 1-7, Gray has four games scoring 30-plus points this season including a career-high 32 points in a win over the Agua Caliente Clippers on Jan. 26.

The 29th GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and sixth in NAZ Suns history, Gray is Northern Arizona’s all-time leader in points (1,228), assists (410), field goals made (474), field goals attempted (1,065), steals (148), games (81) and minutes (2,250). Overall in 81 career NBA G League games, all with Northern Arizona over the past two seasons, Gray has averaged 15.2 points, 5.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals. On Nov. 27, 2016, he recorded the only triple-double in NAZ Suns history with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 11 steals and five steals against Sioux Falls.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Louisiana State University. Gray tried out for the NAZ Suns prior to their inaugural season in 2016-17, earning an invite to training camp where he made the team and went on to have one of the better seasons by a local tryout in G League history.

A native of Lake Charles, La., Gray began his collegiate career at Texas Tech University in 2012-13 before transferring to Odessa College for the 2013-14 season then completing his career with two seasons at LSU from 2014-2016.

The Phoenix Suns today waived guard Isaiah Canaan, then completed a trade to acquire point guard Elfrid Payton from the Orlando Magic in exchange for a 2018 second-round pick via Memphis.

“We are excited to add a player of Elfrid’s caliber to our young core,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Elfrid is an athletic point guard who has good size, length and a feel for the game. We think he’ll be a great fit with our team and we look forward to seeing him in a Suns uniform.”

In his fourth NBA season, Payton is averaging a career-high 13.0 points shooting career bests of 52.0 percent from the field (23rd in the NBA) and 37.3 percent from three-point range. In addition, he is averaging 6.3 assists (14th in the NBA), 4.0 rebounds and 1.45 steals (24th in the NBA) in 44 games. Payton is one of just three players in the NBA this season averaging at least six assists while shooting over 50 percent from the field along with LeBron James and Ben Simmons, and also joins James and Simmons as the only three players to rank in the top 25 in assists, steals and field goal percentage.

Payton holds career averages of 11.1 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.36 steals in 281 games, starting 234. The Magic’s all-time franchise leader with eight career triple-doubles, he scored a career-high 30 points earlier this season on December 23 at Washington. Currently exceeding six assists per game for the fourth straight season, Payton is the first NBA player since Chris Paul from 2005-2009 to average at least six assists in each of his first four NBA seasons.

The 6-4, 185-pound floor general was originally the 10th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers before being traded to the Magic on draft night. Named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2015, Payton twice participated in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend.

A native of Gretna, Louisiana, Payton starred collegiately at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for three seasons from 2011-2014. He won the 2013-14 Lefty Driesell Award given annually to the nation’s top defensive player and represented USA Basketball at the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championship in Czech Republic, starting all nine games to help lead the U.S. to a 9-0, gold-medal finish.

The second-round pick heading to Orlando was originally secured by the Suns along with guard Troy Daniels in a deal with the Grizzlies on September 22, 2017. The pick to be conveyed will be the second most favorable selection of Memphis, Charlotte or Miami’s 2018 second-round picks.

Payton will wear uniform No. 2.

“We still consider Isaiah to be a member of the Phoenix Suns family,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “In speaking with Isaiah and his agent, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to help him with his rehab and recovery from his injury. This move is being made strictly to create a roster spot with Isaiah being out for the remainder of the season.”

In his fifth NBA season, Canaan initially signed with the Suns on December 13 and averaged 9.1 points and 4.0 assists in 19 games with the team. He recorded 10 games scoring in double digits with the Suns, including a season-high 17 points in a win at Dallas on December 18. On January 31, Canaan sustained a fractured left ankle in the first quarter against the Mavericks then underwent successful surgery in Phoenix on February 1.

The Suns’ roster stands at 17 players

Suns sign Josh Gray to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Josh Gray to a 10-day contract, calling him up from the Northern Arizona Suns of the NBA G League.

Gray, a 6-1, 180-pound guard, has yet to make his NBA debut. In 31 games with the NAZ Suns this season he averaged 17.9 points, shooting 44.7 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from three-point range, 6.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals (4th in G League). The NBA G League Player of the Week for games played Jan. 1-7, Gray has four games scoring 30-plus points this season including a career-high 32 points in a win over the Agua Caliente Clippers on Jan. 26.

The 29th GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and sixth in NAZ Suns history, Gray is Northern Arizona’s all-time leader in points (1,228), assists (410), field goals made (474), field goals attempted (1,065), steals (148), games (81) and minutes (2,250). Overall in 81 career NBA G League games, all with Northern Arizona over the past two seasons, Gray has averaged 15.2 points, 5.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals. On Nov. 27, 2016, he recorded the only triple-double in NAZ Suns history with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 11 steals and five steals against Sioux Falls.

The 24-year-old went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Louisiana State University. Gray tried out for the NAZ Suns prior to their inaugural season in 2016-17, earning an invite to training camp where he made the team and went on to have one of the better seasons by a local tryout in G League history.

A native of Lake Charles, La., Gray began his collegiate career at Texas Tech University in 2012-13 before transferring to Odessa College for the 2013-14 season then completing his career with two seasons at LSU from 2014-2016.

Gray will wear uniform No. 14.

Phoenix’s roster now stands at 17 players.

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