Archive for the ‘ Phoenix Suns Blog ’ Category

Suns sign Eric Moreland

Suns sign Eric Moreland

The Phoenix Suns yesterday (Monday) signed forward/center Eric Moreland.

A 6-10, 240-pound post player, Moreland has played in 78 games over three NBA seasons with Sacramento and Detroit. With the Pistons last season, Moreland appeared in a career-high 67 games and made the first three starts of his career, averaging 2.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.0 minutes per game. In the season finale at Chicago on April 11, Moreland recorded career highs of 16 points, 17 rebounds, four blocks and four steals in addition to four assists; he joined Andre Drummond as the only players in the NBA last season with a performance of at least four each of blocks, steals and assists.

Recently, Moreland played in two games for USA Basketball’s World Cup Qualifying team coached by Jeff Van Gundy. Moreland had 10 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and three steals for the U.S. in a 78-70 win over Uruguay on Dec. 2 and posted two points and eight rebounds in an 81-63 loss to Argentina on Nov. 29. He spent training camp with Toronto prior to this season.

Moreland began his NBA career with the Kings, appearing in three games as a rookie in 2014-15 and eight games in 2015-16. He played the 2016-17 season with the Canton Charge of the NBA G League, earning All-NBA G League Third Team and NBA G League All-Defensive Team honors in addition to being a 2017 NBA G League All-Star. Moreland averaged 12.8 points on 56.1 percent shooting plus 12.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 44 games with Canton. He also appeared in 12 G League games with the Reno Bighorns over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons while on assignment from Sacramento.

The 26-year-old went undrafted in 2014 following a four-year career at Oregon State University. Moreland finished his career as the Beavers’ all-time leader in blocked shots (184) and blocked shots per game (2.07) while ranking fifth in rebounds (762) and sixth in rebounding average (8.6 per game). His hometown is Houston, Texas.

Moreland will wear uniform No. 23

The Phoenix Suns today signed guard Jawun Evans (pronounced Juh-WAN) to a two-way contract.

Evans has played in 14 games this season with the Suns’ NBA G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns.

A 6-0, 190-pound guard, Evans played in 48 games as a rookie with the LA Clippers last season and averaged 4.8 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes. He recorded five games scoring in double figures including two games with a career-high 15 points. On Dec. 15 of last season at Washington, Evans set career highs with 15 points and five steals in addition to recording six rebounds and six assists.

The seventh GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season and ninth in Northern Arizona Suns history, Evans leads the NAZ Suns with 18.5 points per game in addition to averaging 4.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 14 appearances. Over his last seven games, Evans has the second most total points in the NBA G League (173). Evans has three 30-point games with NAZ this season as he scored 30-plus in three straight from Nov. 27-Dec. 1, including a career-high 33 points on Dec. 1 at Iowa and on Nov. 27 vs. Memphis.

The 22-year-old was initially the 39th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by Philadelphia before being traded to the Clippers. Evans played two seasons at Oklahoma State University, earning All-Big 12 First Team in 2017 and Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2016. Evans averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 assists in 54 career games with the Cowboys, and averaged 19.2 points and 6.4 assists in 2016-17. Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Evans was a 2015 McDonald’s All American after he completed his career at Kimball High School in Dallas, Texas.

Evans will wear uniform No. 0.

Suns waive Isaiah Canaan

Suns waive Isaiah Canaan

The Phoenix Suns waived guard Isaiah Canaan today.

Canaan re-signed with the Suns on August 3 and appeared in 19 games this season, averaging 7.5 points and 3.3 assists in 26.5 minutes.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 14 players

The Phoenix Suns and Tyson Chandler have reached an agreement to buy out the veteran center’s contract. Chandler has now been officially waived.

According to the Arizona Republic, “Chandler is in the final year of a four-year deal in which he is guaranteed to make $13.6 million.”

“We want to thank Tyson for his contributions to the Suns over the past three-plus seasons,” said Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones. “With respect for Tyson’s accomplished career, today’s move gives him the chance to pursue a new opportunity while allowing our younger players to continue developing. Tyson is a consummate professional and we wish him all the best.”

“I am grateful for my time in Phoenix and want to thank my teammates, my coaches, the front office and the fans for an amazing experience.” said Chandler. “I wish them the best and I am excited for the next stage in my career.”

More from the Arizona Republic: “ESPN is reporting Chandler plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after clearing waivers with the Suns. The 7-footer is from Compton, Calif.”

Chandler initially signed with the Suns as a free agent on July 9, 2015, and played in four seasons with the club. He averaged 7.2 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 62.8 percent from the field in 166 games during his time in Phoenix. On Jan. 23, 2016, Chandler tied the Suns’ single-game record with 27 rebounds vs. Atlanta, matching Paul Silas’ mark which had stood untouched for over 45 years.

The Phoenix Suns today signed guard Jamal Crawford. The team has also waived guard Davon Reed.

The Suns are young, rebuilding team that is focused on the future. In a limited role off the bench, Crawford can help the team’s second unit. He’s also a positive influence, has a good head on his shoulders, and other signed as a player definitely should be able to help coach young teammates progress in the right direction. He just needs to be more cautious about his shot selection, now more than ever.

Crawford, an 18-year NBA veteran, is the only three-time winner of the Sixth Man of the Year Award (2009-10, 2013-14, 2015-16) and also won the NBA’s Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award in 2017-18. Crawford ranks fifth in NBA history with 2,153 career three-pointers, 30th with 1,262 games played and 57th with 18,906 career points; his 10,766 career points in a reserve role are second-most in the NBA over the past 35 years behind only Dell Curry. Crawford is the NBA’s all-time leader with 53 career four-point plays.

For his career, the 38-year-old has averaged 15.0 points, 3.4 assists and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 34.9 percent from three-point range in 18 seasons with seven teams: Chicago (2000-2004), New York (2004-2008), Golden State (2008-09), Atlanta (2009-2011), Portland (2011-12), the LA Clippers (2012-2017) and Minnesota (2017-18). A career 86.2 percent shooter from the free throw line (37th-best in NBA history), Crawford led the league by shooting 92.7 percent from the stripe with the Trail Blazers in 2011-12. He owns three career games scoring 50-plus points, including a career-high 52 points with the Knicks against Miami on Jan. 26, 2007, and is one of four players in NBA history to score at least 50 points with three different teams along with Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Bernard King and Moses Malone.

The 6-5, 185-pound guard joins the Suns after playing last season with Minnesota where he helped the Timberwolves reach the NBA Playoffs for the first time in 14 years. Crawford was Minnesota’s leading scorer off the bench, averaging 10.3 points in 80 appearances during the regular season and 11.8 points in five postseason games.

Crawford has appeared in the postseason eight times for his career, including each of the last six seasons, averaging 14.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 74 playoff games. He has been a member of four teams that have reached the Conference Semifinals.

Originally selected with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2000 NBA Draft by Cleveland, Crawford joined the NBA following one season at the University of Michigan. Born in Seattle, he attended Rainier Beach High School and remains active in giving back to the community in his hometown and beyond.

Reed was selected by the Suns with the 32nd overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft and averaged 3.0 points and 1.9 rebounds in 21 games as a rookie last season.

The team’s roster currently stands at 16 players.

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.

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