Archive for the ‘ Phoenix Suns Blog ’ Category

Suns sign Ronnie Price to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Ronnie Price to a second 10-day contract.

Currently in his third tenure with the Suns, Price has not yet appeared in a game this season since initially signing a 10-day contract with the team on Jan. 27.

An 11-year NBA veteran out of Utah Valley University, Price most recently played last season with the Suns when he averaged a career-best 5.3 points while appearing in a career-high 62 games. In addition to 2015-16, he averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 assists in 36 games with Phoenix in 2011-12. For his career, the 6-2, 190-pound point guard has averaged 3.8 points and 1.8 assists in 530 games with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the NBA’s 2016-17 GM Survey, the 33-year-old floor general tied with Suns forward Jared Dudley as each received the second-most votes in response to the question, “Which active player will make the best head coach someday?”

Suns sign Ronnie Price to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Ronnie Price to a 10-day contract.

An 11-year NBA veteran, Price most recently played last season with the Suns when he averaged a career-best 5.3 points while appearing in a career-high 62 games. This is Price’s third tenure with the Suns as in addition to 2015-16, he averaged 3.6 points and 1.9 assists in 36 games with Phoenix in 2011-12. For his career, the 6-2, 190-pound point guard has averaged 3.8 points and 1.8 assists in 530 games with Sacramento, Utah, Phoenix, Portland, Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the NBA’s 2016-17 GM Survey, the 33-year-old floor general tied with Suns forward Jared Dudley as each received the second-most votes in response to the question, “Which active player will make the best head coach someday?”

Undrafted out of college in 2005, the Friendswood, Texas native was a four-year performer at Utah Valley State College (now Utah Valley University) and the first player to enter the NBA directly from that school.

Price will wear uniform number 14. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15

Forward/center Johnny O’Bryant III of the Northern Arizona Suns today was named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 9 through Sunday, Jan. 15.

O’Bryant (6-9, 257, LSU) averaged 24.0 points and 17.0 rebounds (second in the NBA D-League) for the week as the Phoenix Suns’ NBA D-League affiliate went 2-0. He opened the week with 22 points, 17 rebounds and three steals in a 94-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Blue on Jan. 10. In his next game, O’Bryant made a season-high four three-pointers on his way to 26 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and handed out three assists in a 121-90 win against the Grand Rapids Drive on Jan. 14.

For the season, the 23-year-old O’Bryant is averaging 17.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in 22 games. O’Bryant, the 36th overall pick in NBA Draft 2014 presented by State Farm, played a total of 100 games with the Milwaukee Bucks over the previous two seasons.

Other players considered for the NBA Development League Performer of the Week were Canton’s Eric Moreland, Fort Wayne’s Alex Poythress, Los Angeles’ Vander Blue, Rio Grande Valley’s Darius Morris, Santa Cruz’s Phil Pressey, Texas’ Pierre Jackson and Windy City’s Alfonzo McKinnie.

Suns waive John Jenkins

Suns waive John Jenkins

The Phoenix Suns have waived guard John Jenkins.

Jenkins has averaged 1.8 points and 3.3 minutes in four appearances this season, and averaged 5.0 points and 13.0 minutes in 22 games with the Suns in 2015-16. A 6-4 guard in his fifth NBA season, Jenkins initially joined the Suns after being claimed off of waivers on Feb. 24, 2016.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 14 players

Devin Booker ejected, then squeezes in a quick autograph signing

Usually, NBA players are reprimanded for not leaving the court in a timely manner.

Suns guard Devin Booker received nationwide praise for how he did it after receiving his first career ejection Wednesday night at Denver.

Booker was caught off guard when he was ejected for receiving his second technical foul of the game – and the season. Official Eric Lewis gave Booker and Denver power forward Kenneth Faried a double technical foul with 17.8 seconds remaining in the Nuggets’ 120-104 victory at Pepsi Center.

Booker thought he was about to shoot a free throw before being told he was being ejected after also getting a technical foul late in the second quarter from official Kevin Cutler. Booker gave the official a thumbs up as he walked off the court. As security escorted him toward an exit tunnel, Booker stopped to give a boy an autograph and fist-bumped a man.

Arizona Republic Quick Take: We dig it.

The Phoenix Suns have exercised their 2017-18 options on guard Devin Booker and forward T.J. Warren.

Booker ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring this preseason, averaging 19.6 points in five appearances, including a 34-point performance at Portland on October 7. An NBA All-Rookie First Team selection in 2015-16, Booker ranked fourth among rookies with a scoring average of 13.8 points in 76 games, averaging 18.5 points over the season’s final 44 games after permanently joining the starting lineup on Jan. 8. By eclipsing 1,000 career points at an age of 19 years, 162 days old on April 9 of last season, he became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 1,000 points with only LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant doing so younger.

Warren started all six of the Suns’ preseason games, averaging 12.5 points on 46.6 percent shooting from the field and 4.2 rebounds. In his second season with the Suns in 2015-16, Warren averaged career bests of 11.0 points and 3.1 rebounds through 47 games before a right foot fracture caused him to miss the season’s final 34 contests. By shooting 50.1 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from behind the three-point arc last season, he was one of only three players in the league, along with Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard, to shoot at least 50 percent on field goals and 40 percent on three-pointers among those who made at least 25 threes.

Suns waive Archie Goodwin

Suns waive Archie Goodwin

The Phoenix Suns have waived guard Archie Goodwin.

Goodwin averaged 7.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in four appearances this preseason and 8.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 57 games in 2015-16. The 29th overall pick of the 2013 NBA Draft, Goodwin played each of his first three professional seasons with the Suns, averaging 6.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in 150 total games.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 15 players.

Suns waive Shaquille Harrison, Derek Cooke Jr and Gracin Bakumanya

The Suns waived guard Shaquille Harrison, forward Derek Cooke Jr. and center Gracin Bakumanya today. Their roster now stands at 16 players.

Bakumanya, Cooke and Harrison originally signed with the Suns on Sept. 25. The three players did not appear in any of the team’s first three preseason games. It’s no surprise that they were waived.

All teams must trim their rosters to 15 or fewer players before the start of the regular season, which begins October 25.

The Suns are built around guards Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and Brandon Knight. Up front they have veteran center Tyson Chandler, and mostly either young players who still need improvement or role-playing veterans.

Suns add four to training camp

The Suns on Sunday signed center Gracin Bakumanya (pronounced Gra-SOH BAH-koo-MAHN-yah), forward Derek Cooke Jr., guard Shaquille Harrison and forward Derrick Jones Jr., bringing the club’s roster to 19 players.

Bakumanya, a 6-11, 220-pound center, went undrafted in 2016 as an international early entry candidate. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the 19-year-old played the 2015-16 season with Antibes Espoirs, the training center for Antibes Sharks of LNB Pro A, the top-tier league in France. He averaged 14.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 30 games with Antibes Espoirs, in addition to playing in two games with Antibes’ Pro A team. At NBA Summer League 2016, Bakumanya saw action in two contests with Houston.

Cooke, a 6-9, 220-pound forward, spent the 2015-16 season with the Suns’ NBA D League affiliate, then the Bakersfield Jam. In 47 games with the Jam, he averaged 4.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, including 3.1 offensive boards which tied for sixth in the league, in 23.4 minutes. Cooke was also a member of the Suns at NBA Summer League 2016, appearing in three games in Las Vegas. Prior to going undrafted in 2015, Cooke played three seasons at the University of Wyoming where he helped the Cowboys to a Mountain West Conference tournament title and NCAA tournament berth in 2014-15. As a senior in 2014-15, he averaged 8.1 points on 72.0 percent shooting and 5.8 rebounds.

Harrison, a 6-4, 185-pound guard, went undrafted this past summer following a successful four-year career at the University of Tulsa. A starter in all 133 games in his four years, he averaged 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.8 steals for his career, finishing second in program history with 461 career assists and third with 244 steals. As a senior in 2015-16, Harrison averaged career-highs of 15.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists as he was named the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Scholar Athlete of the Year. Harrison earned All-AAC Second Team honors in both his junior and senior seasons at Tulsa.

Jones, a 6-7, 190-pound forward, went undrafted in 2016 after playing one season at UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels’ second-leading scorer in 2015-16, he averaged 11.5 points on 58.9 percent shooting and 4.5 rebounds in 30 games during his freshman season. Jones recorded four double-doubles at UNLV, including a career-high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds against Chaminade at the Maui Invitational. The 19-year-old was named the 2015 Southeastern Pennsylvania Player of the Year following his senior season at Archbishop John Carroll High School in Radnor, Pa.

Suns forward P.J. Tucker underwent lower back microdiscectomy procedure today. He is expected to be out approximately six to eight weeks.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Dennis Crandall.

Preparing for his sixth NBA season and fifth with the Suns, Tucker is a four-time winner of the team’s Majerle Hustle Award. In 2015-16, he averaged 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds, a career-high 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals while playing all 82 games (80 starts).

Suns hire Mehmet Okur and Jason Hervey

Suns hire Mehmet Okur and Jason Hervey

The Suns on Tuesday added Mehmet Okur as a player development coach and Jason Hervey as an advance scout.

Okur, a 2007 NBA All-Star, will specialize in the skills development of the Suns’ post players. A former 10-year pro in the NBA, Okur averaged 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 37.5 percent from three-point territory as a 6-11 forward/center in 634 games with the Detroit Pistons, Utah Jazz and New Jersey Nets. Okur played most his career with the Jazz, averaging 15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds over seven seasons with the team (2004-11), earning an All-Star nod in 2007 to become the first native of Turkey to be named an NBA All-Star. In Okur’s final season with the Jazz in 2010-11, he was a teammate of Suns Head Coach Earl Watson and they played for current Suns assistant coach Tyrone Corbin.

Originally the 37th overall pick of the 2001 NBA Draft by Detroit, Okur played his first two seasons with the Pistons (2002-04) and was a member of their 2004 NBA Championship team. Since his playing career came to an end, Okur has worked as a team ambassador for Utah where he was a fan favorite nicknamed “The Money Man” for his clutch shooting.

Hervey joins the Suns after spending the past two seasons as an NBA and college personnel scout with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Prior to his time with the Timberwolves, Hervey spent two seasons as director of basketball operations for the Pistons and held positions of advance scout and video coordinator with the Washington Wizards from 2009-12. His NBA career began as the assistant video coordinator for the Pistons from 2005-09.

Suns coaching staff announced

Suns coaching staff announced

The Suns have announced Head Coach Earl Watson’s coaching staff, naming Jay Triano associate head coach, Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches, Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.

“As a family we are excited with the additions we have made into our program,” said Watson. “Each coach possesses a unique passion to teach, and the chemistry of our staff is as important as the structure of our roster. We are very lucky to have this creative group assembled.”

Triano comes to the Suns following four seasons as an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers including in Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. Formerly the head coach of the Toronto Raptors from 2008-11, Triano was the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history. Prior to his three seasons as head coach of the Raptors, he was an assistant coach with the team for six seasons from 2002-08.

In addition to his NBA coaching experience, Triano is head coach of the men’s national team for Canada Basketball, named to the position in 2012. For Triano, who led Canada to a silver medal finish at the 2015 Pan American Games, this is his second time as the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team after also holding the position from 1999-2004. In 1999, Triano led Canada to silver at the Tournament of the Americas to qualify for the 2000 Sydney Olympics where the nation placed seventh.

Between his tenures with Canada Basketball, Triano worked with USA Basketball as an assistant coach on the 2010 USA National Team that won gold in the FIBA World Championship over host country Turkey. Triano also served as an assistant coach for USA Select teams that trained against the national teams in 2007 and 2008, and as head coach of the Select Team in 2012. Triano has also served as a coach with Basketball Without Borders in Istanbul (2008), Senegal (2010), Slovenia (2011) and Australia (2011).

Triano, who played collegiately at Simon Fraser University where he was later head coach, played for the Canadian national team for 11 years from 1978-88 and was team captain from 1981-88. A native of Tillsonburg, Ontario, he represented Canada as a player in two Olympic Games (1984 and 1988), serving as captain in each. Following his playing career at Simon Fraser, Triano was selected in the eighth round of the 1981 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Corbin returns to Phoenix where he played in 107 games and averaged 8.1 points over two seasons with the Suns as a player from 1987-89. Combining nearly 30 years of experience as an NBA player and coach, Corbin spent parts of five seasons as a head coach with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. Most recently, he served as an assistant coach with the Kings before being promoted to interim head coach for 28 games in the 2014-15 season.

Prior to his time as a coach in Sacramento, Corbin spent four seasons as head coach of the Jazz, finishing with a winning record in two of his three full seasons at the helm. He led the Jazz to the playoffs in 2011-12 just missed the postseason in 2012-13 despite posting a 43-39 record. Joining Utah’s coaching staff in 2004, he spent seven seasons as an assistant before succeeding Jerry Sloan as the team’s head coach in the 2010-11 season. Corbin served as either an assistant or head coach for all of Watson’s three seasons as a player with the Jazz from 2010-13.

A 16-season NBA veteran as a player, Corbin averaged 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds over 1,065 career games with nine teams. The DePaul product and Columbia, S.C., native was initially selected with the 35th overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. His best statistical season came in 1990-91 when he averaged a career-high 18.0 points as well as 7.2 rebounds in 82 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Corbin originally joined the Suns along with Kevin Johnson and Mark West as part of trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the trade deadline in 1988. After playing parts of two seasons with Phoenix, he was selected by the Timberwolves in the NBA expansion draft.

Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator with the team. He has also served as head coach of the Suns’ teams at NBA Summer League in each of the past two years, going 9-4 overall after a runner-up finish in 2015 and a semifinal appearance in 2016. Bjorkgren joined the Suns after four seasons as a head coach in the NBA Development League, leading the Bakersfield Jam, then the Suns’ affiliate, to a 34-16 record and Western Conference Semifinals appearance in 2014-15. Overall, he registered a 126-74 (.630) record as a head coach in the D-League.

A native of Storm Lake, Iowa, Bjorkgren played collegiately at Buena Vista University where he led the Beavers to their first conference title in 21 years in 1997. Bjorkgren’s ties to Arizona predate his time with the Suns as early in his coaching career he served as the head coach of Cactus Shadows High School in Cave Creek from 2004-07. The recipient of Arizona state high school coach of the year honors in 2005-06 and regional coach of the year honors in 2004-05 and 2005-06, Bjorkgren led the Falcons to the Class 4A state tournament in each of his three seasons with the school.

Garnett joins the Suns after most recently working in video and player development with the San Antonio Spurs. A former NBA player who appeared in 24 games with the Boston Celtics during the 1998-99 season, Garnett continued his professional career with clubs in Turkey, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Iran, Puerto Rico and Slovakia before his playing career came to an end in 2013.

Originally from Los Angeles, Calif., Garnett had a noteworthy collegiate career at Santa Clara where he spent three seasons as a teammate of two-time NBA MVP and Suns Ring of Honor member Steve Nash. Garnett teamed with Nash to help the Broncos to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 1995 and 1996. Following Nash’s departure, Garnett averaged 17.4 points as a senior in 1996-97 to earn West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors and give a Santa Clara player the award for the third straight year after Nash had won it the previous two seasons.

Duncan joins the Suns after spending the past six seasons as associate head coach at the University of Wyoming. With more than 35 total years of experience as a college basketball assistant coach, he has worked with programs that have advanced to postseason play in 22 of the last 29 seasons. In addition to his most recent tenure at Wyoming where he helped the Cowboys to a Mountain West tournament title and NCAA tournament berth in 2014-15, Duncan has worked as an assistant coach at UCLA, Oregon, Clemson, Washington State, Northern Illinois, Fresno State, New Mexico and Cleveland State.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Duncan graduated from the College of Wooster where he lettered two seasons as a basketball player with the Fighting Scots.

Fraser remains a player development coach with Phoenix after joining the organization in this position prior to last season. Before joining the Suns, he spent the 2014-15 season as an assistant coach alongside Watson with the Austin Spurs of the NBA D-League.

A standout player at Villanova from 2002-06, Fraser left the school ranked fifth on the all-time blocked shots list (172) and 22nd on the all-time rebounding list (637). As a junior in 2004-05, he helped the Wildcats to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1988, then as a senior in 2005-06 contributed to Villanova’s Big East regular season championship and Elite Eight run in the NCAA tournament. After his collegiate career, Fraser played professionally overseas and for the Harlem Globetrotters before returning to Villanova as director of student-athlete development. The native of Amityville, N.Y., was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2002.

The Suns have also retained Chris Darnell as video coordinator and added Jason Tilton and Julian Mills as assistant video coordinators. Darnell, a former player at William & Mary, has spent the past four seasons working in video, player development and basketball operations with the Suns. Tilton joins the Suns after two seasons as director of basketball operations at Long Beach State, and brings experience on the staffs at St. John’s and Cal State Fullerton as well as a video coordinator with the Los Angeles Clippers. A graduate of UCLA, Tilton worked as a team manager with the Bruins during Watson’s playing career at the school. Mills most recently spent the 2015-16 season as a video intern with the Golden State Warriors. A former player at Baker University, he has also gained experience working with the San Antonio Spurs and USA Basketball.

In addition to the team’s coaching staff, the Suns have added Quinton Sawyer as assistant athletic trainer/sports science coordinator. Sawyer joins the Suns following five seasons as athletic trainer for the men’s basketball team at Michigan State. A native of Camden, N.C., and graduate of the University of North Carolina, Sawyer also possesses experience as a college athletic trainer at Campbell, Southeastern Louisiana and with the Tar Heels.

Suns sign Leandro Barbosa

Suns sign Leandro Barbosa

The Phoenix Suns today signed guard Leandro Barbosa, a 13-year NBA veteran who played eight of those seasons with the Suns, to a multiyear contract.

“Leandro has played a significant role on a number of very successful teams over the course of his career,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “‘LB’ is very popular with teammates and fans and we are thrilled to have him back as a key part of the Suns. We think he will contribute greatly to what we are building - on and off of the court - here in Phoenix.”

Barbosa returns to the Suns where he previously played his first seven professional seasons from 2003-2010, in addition to one season in 2013-14, averaging 12.4 points on 46.7 percent shooting from the field and 39.6 percent from behind the three-point arc in 486 games. One of the most productive players in franchise history, he ranks third in Suns history with 716 three-point makes (trailing only Steve Nash and Dan Majerle), fifth with his 39.6 percent mark from three-point range, 12th by playing in 486 games and 15th with 6,024 total points wearing purple and orange.

The Brazilian Blur had his best statistical season with the Suns in 2006-07 as he won both the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award and the Dan Majerle Hustle Award, averaging career-highs of 18.1 points and 4.0 assists. In his eight seasons with the Suns, Barbosa compiled 4,406 points in a reserve role, giving him the most career points off the bench by a Suns player since at least 1983-84 (as far back as such data is available). Additionally, Barbosa has averaged 10.2 points in 64 playoff games with the Suns, ranking seventh in franchise history for most playoff games and 12th by totaling 654 playoff points.

The 6-3, 194-pound speedster re-joins the Suns after spending the past two seasons as a key contributor with the Golden State Warriors, winning an NBA Championship in 2014-15 and helping the team set an NBA record with 73 regular season wins on the way to a Western Conference title in 2015-16. This past season, Barbosa averaged 6.4 points on 46.2 percent shooting in 15.9 minutes in 68 regular season games before posting 5.6 points on 58.0 percent shooting in 23 playoff games.

For his career, the 13-year veteran holds averages of 11.0 points and 2.2 assists, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from three-point range and 81.9 percent from the free throw line in 783 games (112 starts) with the Suns (2003-10; 2013-14), Toronto Raptors (2010-12), Indiana Pacers (2012), Boston Celtics (2012-13) and Warriors (2014-16). Barbosa has also averaged 8.0 points in 119 career playoff games, playing for a team that has advanced to at least the Conference Finals in five of his eight postseasons.

The 28th overall selection of the 2003 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, Barbosa was initially acquired by the Suns in a trade on draft night. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Barbosa played professionally for Bauru in Brazil before joining the NBA. Barbosa has represented his home country at several international competitions, twice winning gold at the FIBA Americas Championship, and plans to again play for their national team later this summer as Brazil hosts the 2016 Olympic Games.

Barbosa will wear uniform No. 19

Suns sign Jared Dudley

Suns sign Jared Dudley

The Phoenix Suns today signed forward Jared Dudley, a nine-year NBA veteran who played five of those seasons with the Suns, to a multiyear contract.

“We are excited to welcome Jared back to the Phoenix Suns family,” said General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Jared’s work ethic, professionalism and knowledge of the game will provide a great example for our young players to try to emulate.”

Dudley’s deal is reportedly a $30 million dollar contract over three years.

Dudley returns to Phoenix where he previously played five seasons with the Suns from 2008-2013, averaging 9.8 points on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 41.2 percent from three-point range in 356 games. One of the best three-point shooters in Suns history, he comes back to the team ranked seventh on the franchise’s all-time three-point makes list with 437 and third with his 41.2 percent mark from behind the arc, trailing only Steve Nash and Raja Bell.

Initially acquired by the Suns in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats on Dec. 10, 2008, Dudley averaged double-digits scoring in each of his final three seasons with the Suns, including career-highs of 12.7 points and 4.6 rebounds with Phoenix in 2011-12. In addition to his shooting ability, the 2009-10 Dan Majerle Hustle Award winner and versatile defender led the Suns in steals in three of his four full seasons with the team. One of the league’s most durable players, the 6-7, 225-pound forward played in 356 of a possible 381 games during his first tenure with the Suns and is one of only three players in the NBA, along with David West and Luis Scola, to play in at least 65 games in each of the past nine seasons.

In 81 games with the Washington Wizards last season, Dudley started 41 and averaged 7.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists while ranking seventh on the NBA leaderboard by shooting 42.0 percent from three-point range. For his career, the nine-year veteran holds averages of 8.4 points and 3.4 rebounds, while shooting 47.0 percent from the field, 39.9 percent from three-point range and 73.6 percent from the free throw line in 676 games (253 starts) with the Bobcats (2007-08), Suns (2008-13), Los Angeles Clippers (2013-14), Milwaukee Bucks (2014-15) and Wizards (2015-16).

The 22nd overall selection of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Bobcats, Dudley joined the NBA following a standout four-year career at Boston College where he was named ACC Player of the Year in 2006-07. A San Diego native, Dudley represents his hometown’s area code in his Twitter handle (@JaredDudley619) and has earned a reputation as one of the NBA’s most entertaining players to follow.

Dudley will wear uniform No. 3, the same number he wore during his first five seasons with the Suns. Rookie forward Dragan Bender will now wear No. 35

Suns sign rookies Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss and Tyler Ulis

The Phoenix Suns have signed 2016 NBA Draft acquisitions Dragan Bender (fourth overall pick), Marquese Chriss (eighth overall) and Tyler Ulis (34th overall).

All three will make their Suns debuts as members of Phoenix’s entry at NBA Summer League 2016 in Las Vegas. Bender, Chriss, Ulis and the Suns begin Summer League action Saturday, July 9, at 1:00 p.m. (Phoenix time) against the Portland Trail Blazers at Cox Pavilion; the game will be broadcast on NBA TV and ESPN3.

Bender, a skilled and versatile playmaker at 7-1, 225-pounds, played the 2015-16 season with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League. Only 17 years old at the start of the season, Bender averaged 5.5 points on 47.9 percent shooting and 41.1 percent from three-point range in 13.4 minutes over 25 games in Israel’s top-tier league. Combining shooting range, passing vision and the ability to defend multiple positions, Bender was the youngest player in the 2016 NBA Draft and the first international player not to play college basketball selected at fourth overall. He also became the first Croatian ever to be a top-four selection in the NBA Draft.

Chriss, an explosive athlete and efficient shooter at 6-10, 233-pounds, averaged 13.7 points on 53.0 percent shooting from the field and 35.0 percent from three-point territory, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 34 games during his one season at Washington in 2015-16. An Honorable Mention Pac-12 All-Freshman selection, Chriss recorded 55 blocks to lead Pac-12 freshmen and set a Huskies freshman record. The fourth-youngest player selected in the 2016 NBA Draft, Chriss was one of just eight players and the only freshman in college basketball last season to average at least 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting at least 50 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.

Ulis, a quick and confident floor general at 5-10, 150-pounds, was named the SEC Player of the Year by the coaches and media after averaging 17.3 points, 7.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35 games for Kentucky in 2015-16. A tenacious on-ball defender, Ulis also became just the second player in league history to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Player of the Year in the same season, joining Anthony Davis who did so in 2011-12. Ulis was also honored following the 2015-16 season as the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard.

After spending years with the Suns, Jared Dudley bounced to the Clippers, Bucks, Wizards, and is now reportedly headed back to Phoenix. Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting:

Jared Dudley headed to Suns yet again

Dudley was a trade accessory when he first came to Phoenix in 2007, but that 4 ½-year stay made him a better player and the subsequent three-year absence made him want to come back to the Suns.

Dudley tried to entice Phoenix to sign him last summer, but the interest turned mutual this time after Dudley carved out a role in Washington last season as a power forward predominantly for the first time in his nine-year career. An NBA source told azcentral sports Friday night that Dudley has agreed to sign with the Suns for a three-year, $30 million contract. The money is fully guaranteed and the contract carries the same terms that Dudley’s Suns predecessor, Mirza Teletovic, accepted Friday from Milwaukee.

Dudley, who is 6 feet 7, played almost exclusively at power forward and even at center in extreme small-ball lineups for the Wizards, while stretching out defenses with 42 percent 3-point shooting that ranked eighth in the NBA. Before a late-season slump, Dudley once led the NBA in 3-point percentage and ranks 41st all-time with a career 3-point percentage of 39.9.

Brandon Knight changes Suns uniform number

The Phoenix Suns announced today guard Brandon Knight has chosen to change his uniform number and will now wear No. 11.

Additionally, the team has announced uniform numbers for the team’s 2016 NBA Draft acquisitions: Dragan Bender will wear No. 3, Marquese Chriss will wear No. 0 and Tyler Ulis will wear No. 8.

Suns keep Earl Watson as head coach

Suns keep Earl Watson as head coach

The Phoenix Suns have reached an agreement with interim head coach Earl Watson to retain him as the 17th head coach in franchise history.

“Earl did a very good job with our team last season after taking over as interim head coach during a challenging time for the organization,” said McDonough. “Earl’s natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with and motivate our players have stood out throughout his time here in Phoenix. We are excited to see what he can do with a healthy roster after having a full offseason to prepare.”

First named interim head coach on Feb. 1, Watson compiled a 9-24 in 33 games after taking the reins, including wins in three of the team’s final four games by averaging 115.0 points over those final four contests. The Suns ranked second in the NBA in rebounds per game after Watson took control and were one of the league’s most improved defensive teams over the season’s final month, allowing 5.1 fewer points per 100 possessions in the team’s final 16 games than in their first 66.

Watson originally joined the Suns as an assistant coach in the summer of 2015 after working the 2014-15 season as an assistant coach with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. Watson became a coach following a 13-year NBA career as a point guard in which he appeared in 878 career games with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland from 2001-2014. Watson averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals for his career, posting highs of 10.7 points and 6.8 assists with the SuperSonics in 2007-08. At 36 years old, Watson is currently the youngest head coach in the NBA.

The NBA Development League, the Phoenix Suns and the Town of Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced today that the Suns have acquired the Bakersfield Jam and are relocating the team to Prescott Valley. The Suns become the 15th NBA team to own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate.

The team will be known as the Northern Arizona Suns and will play a 24-game home schedule at the 5,100-seat Prescott Valley Event Center (PVEC) beginning with the 2016-17 season.

“Today’s announcement is exciting not only to have the Phoenix Suns join the ranks of NBA D-League owners, but also to welcome Prescott Valley to the NBA D-League family of communities,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m looking forward to watching the Northern Arizona Suns take the court in November.”

The Bakersfield Jam has served as the Suns’ single-affiliate NBA D-League team the past two seasons, with the NBA franchise running basketball operations. The Suns will now assume business operations for the organization, with the new team serving as an extension of the Phoenix Suns’ brand in northern Arizona.
“We are thrilled to bring professional basketball to the Town of Prescott Valley,” said Suns President Jason Rowley. “In addition to the basketball advantages of our D-League affiliate being close to home, today’s announcement creates endless opportunities to strengthen the connection with our fans in northern Arizona.”

Suns interim head coach Earl Watson and assistant coach Nate Bjorkgren both began their coaching careers in the NBA D-League, while six members of the current Suns team have NBA D-League experience. The team has assigned 15 players to the NBA D-League since 2001.

“We’re happy to have an organization the quality of the Phoenix Suns in our community and region,” said Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog. “It’s an exciting thing to bring the Suns’ brand and legacy to Prescott Valley.”

Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season were singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls.

Brandon Knight has surgery for sports hernia

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight had surgery yesterday to treat a sports hernia. The surgery was performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia.

In his fifth NBA season and first full season with the Suns, Knight averaged a career-high 19.6 points in addition to 5.1 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 52 games, one of just 10 players in the NBA to post at least those averages in each of those categories.

Knight has already begun rehabilitation and will return to Phoenix next week.

The 2015-16 NBA regular season ends Wednesday. With a 21-58 record, the Suns were one of the biggest disappointments in the entire league this season and didn’t come close to qualifying for the playoffs.

Basketball blog