Phoenix Suns will own and operate a new NBA G League team

The NBA G League and Phoenix Suns yesterday announced that the Suns have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA G League team, which is set to debut in the 2024-25 season. With today’s announcement, the NBA G League expands to a record 32 teams, while all 30 NBA teams now own or operate an NBA G League affiliate.

“Bringing a G League team to Phoenix was one of my first priorities as owner,” said Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury team owner Mat Ishbia. “Adding a G League team creates another area for us to compete to be the best and will be a vital tool to help develop players and coaches. Just like the Suns and Mercury, our G League team will serve as a community asset and make a positive impact on and off the court.”

“We are honored to welcome Mat Ishbia and the Phoenix Suns to the NBA G League, and are thrilled to achieve our long-stated goal that each of the 30 NBA teams has an NBA G League affiliate,” said NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim. “The NBA G League has never been more valuable to NBA teams than it is today, and the Suns’ investment only reinforces that reality. I can’t wait to join fans in the Valley next season to enjoy the unique brand of NBA G League basketball.”

The Suns NBA G League team will play its home games in the Phoenix metro area. More details on the venue, as well as the team’s name and logo, will be announced in the spring.

Three-team trade sends Yuta Watanabe to Grizzlies, Royce O’Neale to Suns

In a three-team trade today, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired forwards Yuta Watanabe and Chimezie Metu and a future first round pick swap from the Phoenix Suns in a three-team trade also involving the Brooklyn Nets.

As part of the deal, Memphis traded forward David Roddy to Phoenix, and Brooklyn traded forward Royce O’Neale to Phoenix for forward Keita Bates-Diop, guard Jordan Goodwin and three future second round picks.

In a related move, the Grizzlies waived guard Victor Oladipo.

Watanabe (6-9, 215) has competed in 208 games (nine starts) in six seasons with Memphis, Toronto, Brooklyn and Phoenix and has averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes since going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 29-year-old became the second Japanese-born player in NBA history as member of the Grizzlies, where he played the first two seasons (2018-20) of his NBA career following four collegiate years at George Washington. He shot a career-high 44.4 percent from 3-point range as a member of the Nets last season.

Metu (6-9, 225) has appeared in 246 games (31 starts) in six seasons with San Antonio, Sacramento and Phoenix and has averaged 5.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 12.8 minutes since he was selected 49th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft out of USC. The 26-year-old Los Angeles native averaged 5.0 points in 12.1 minutes for the Suns this season.

Roddy (6-5, 255) has played 118 games (17 starts) in two seasons with Memphis and has averaged 7.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 20.1 minutes since he was selected by Philadelphia with the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft out of Colorado State. The 22-year-old Minneapolis native averaged 8.4 points in 23.2 minutes in 48 appearances this season.

Oladipo (6-4, 213) was acquired by Memphis from the Houston Rockets on February 1. The 31-year-old has appeared in 504 games (397 starts) in 10 seasons.

Kevin Durant now 10th on NBA all-time scoring list

Per Arizona Sports:

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant continues to climb up the all-time scoring list.

With his 17th point on Friday against the Denver Nuggets at Footprint Center, he moved past former No. 1 overall pick Moses Malone for No. 10 on the all-time list.

Durant made a layup with 50.1 seconds left in the first half to push past Malone.

Durant finished 8-for-25 from the field with a 3-pointer and 13-for-13 from the line for 30 points.


Devin Booker hits clutch shot in Suns win over Knicks

Per the Arizona Republic:

Devin Booker loves playing at Madison Square Garden.

The New York Knicks should be thankful the Phoenix Suns only visit once a regular season.

Booker iced a cooler-than-be-cool fadeaway 3 with 1.7 seconds left to stun the Knicks, 116-113, Sunday evening before a sellout crowd of 19,812 that watched in disbelief.

Jalen Brunson missed a 3 at the buzzer that rimmed in and out on his game-high 35-point night.

Booker added 11 assists and committed just two turnovers.


Damian Lillard traded to Bucks in three-team NBA deal

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Deandre Ayton and forward Toumani Camara from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Keon Johnson, forward Nassir Little and center Jusuf Nurkic, the team announced today. Additionally, Portland acquired Jrue Holiday, a 2029 first round pick and the right to swap first round picks in 2028 and 2030 from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for guard Damian Lillard. Milwaukee also sends guard Grayson Allen to Phoenix.

“On behalf of the entire Portland Trail Blazers Organization, I want to express my gratitude to Damian for 11 storied years with this franchise and for his loyalty to the Portland community,” said General Manager Joe Cronin. “From becoming the all-time leading points scorer in franchise history to his dedicated commitment to youth across Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest, Damian is and will remain a titan and a true trailblazer to this city.”

“I would also like to thank Jusuf Nurkic for his devotion to Portland these last seven seasons,” said Cronin. “A consummate professional on and off the court, Nurk has been a key leader for this team, and we appreciate his dedication and passion for this franchise, the city, and the fans.”

“Thank you to Keon Johnson and Nassir Little for their contributions to the Trail Blazers and Portland as well,” added Cronin. “We wish Dame, Nurk, Keon and Nas much success going forward.”

During the 2022-23 season, Ayton averaged 18.0 points (58.9% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 76.0% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.8 blocks in 30.4 minutes per game in 67 games (all starts). Originally selected with the first overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft, Ayton holds career averages of 16.7 points (59.7% FG, 26.3% 3-PT, 25.5% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.0 blocks in 30.6 minutes per game in 303 games (296 starts) in his five seasons with Phoenix.

Holiday averaged 19.3 points (47.9% FG, 38.4% 3-PT, 85.9% FT), 5.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks in 32.6 minutes per game in 67 games (65 starts) during the 2022-23 season with Milwaukee. The 14-year veteran guard holds career averages of 16.4 points (46.2% FG, 36.6% 3-PT, 78.3% FT), 4.1 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 33.1 minutes per game in 906 games (825) starts.

Camara (too-MAH-nee cah-MAH-rah) was drafted as the No. 52 overall pick in this year’s 2023 NBA Draft. The rookie forward played 125 games (106 starts) in four seasons at Dayton (2021-23) and Georgia (2019-21) and accrued averages of 11.0 points (51.3% FG, 30.7% 3-PF, 63.1%FT), 6.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game.

Lillard was drafted by the Trail Blazers out of Weber State with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He appeared in 769 games (all starts) over 11 seasons in Portland, accruing career averages of 25.2 points (43.9% FG, 37.2% 3-PT, 89.5% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.0 steals in 36.3 minutes per game. Among all-time franchise leaders, he ranks first in points (19,376), points per game (25.2), three-pointers (2,387), free throws (4,427) and free throw percentage (89.5%), second in field goals (6,281) and assists (5,151), third in games played (769) and minutes per game (36.3), fourth in assists per game (6.7), and sixth in triple-doubles (3 – tied) and steals (732). During his time with Portland, Lillard was a seven-time NBA All-Star, an All-NBA First Team (2018), Second Team (2021, 2020, 2019, 2016) and Third Team (2023, 2014) selection, a member of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team, the 2021 NBA Teammate of the Year, the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year, and an NBA All-Rookie First Team selection (2013). The Trail Blazers made the playoffs in eight of Lillard’s seasons in Portland, advancing to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 and the Western Conference Semifinals in 2016 and 2014. Lillard also won a Gold Medal with the United States Men’s National Team at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Nurkic spent the past seven seasons in Portland, where he averaged 14.4 points (51.3% FG, 29.8% 3-PT, 69.3% FT), 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals and 1.2 blocks in 27.0 minutes per game. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 16 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft and traded to Denver on Draft night. In 463 games (382 starts) with Portland and Denver, he holds career averages of 12.3 points (50.2% FG, 29.2% 3-PT, 67.1% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 24.2 minutes per game. The Bosnia native ranks fourth in rebounds per game (9.8) and 10th in total rebounds (2,280) in Trail Blazers franchise history.

The Trail Blazers originally acquired Johnson from the LA Clippers on February 4, 2022. Over two seasons with Portland and the LA Clippers, Johnson has accrued career averages of 5.9 points (36.2% FG, 34.3% 3-PT, 73.9% FT), 1.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.60 steals and 14.4 minutes per game in 77 games (12 starts). He appeared in 40 games with Portland last season, averaging 4.7 points (37.6% FG, 34.6% 3-PT, 65.9% FT), 1.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 10 minutes per game.

Selected 25th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Trail Blazers, Little has appeared in 192 games (34 starts) in Portland and holds career averages of 6.0 points (45.1% FG, 33.5% 3-PT, 72.5% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.4 blocks in 17.1 minutes per game. Last season, the former North Carolina standout averaged 6.6 points (44.2% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 71.7% FT), 2.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists and 18 minutes per game in 54 games (four starts) with Portland.

Suns trade Cameron Payne to Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs, in a trade two days ago (Monday), acquired guard Cameron Payne, a 2025 second round pick (via New Orleans) and cash considerations from the Phoenix Suns in exchange for a protected second round pick in 2024.

Payne, 6-1/180, appeared in 48 games (15 starts) for the Suns last season, averaging 10.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 20.2 minutes per game. An eight-year veteran in the NBA, Payne has appeared in 327 total regular season games with Oklahoma City, Chicago, Cleveland and Phoenix, holding career averages of 8.0 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 36.3% from three-point range.

Suns trade draft picks to Magic

The Orlando Magic, in a trade two days ago (Monday), acquired the unprotected swap rights to a 2026 first round draft pick from Phoenix or Washington in exchange for three future second round draft picks – the 2024 pick from Denver, the 2026 least-favorable pick between Orlando, Milwaukee or Detroit (via the L.A. Clippers) and the 2028 pick from Boston (protected 31-45), President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced.

During the next seven NBA drafts (2024-30), Orlando has eight first round picks and 12 second round picks.

Suns trade Chris Paul, Landry Shamet and draft picks to Wizards for Bradley Beal

The Washington Wizards on Saturday, June 24 acquired guards Chris Paul and Landry Shamet, four first round pick swaps (2024, 2026, 2028 and 2030) and six second round picks (2024, 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028 and 2030) from the Phoenix Suns as part of the agreement to trade guard Bradley Beal to Phoenix.

“Bradley leaves a legacy and impact that will continue to be felt by those he helped during the 11 seasons we watched him develop into a cornerstone of our on-court and off-court efforts,” said Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder and CEO Ted Leonsis. “We appreciate and respect the place he holds in our franchise’s history and we’re proud that he established himself as a star player, community leader and family man in Washington, D.C.”

Beal leaves as the franchise’s all-time leader in three-pointers made (1,514) while ranking second in total points (15,391), second in steals (772) and third in games played (695). He also ranks in the franchise’s top five in minutes played, assists and free throws with averages of 22.1 points, 4.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game during his 11 seasons with the Wizards. Beal earned three All-Star selections, was named All-NBA Third Team in 2020-21 and was named the 2018-19 Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner.

“From afar, I’ve admired Bradley as an All-NBA player and a difference-maker in his communities,” said Monumental Basketball President Michael Winger. “We were pleased to work together to find a deal that moved us closer to our goal of eventually competing for championships while getting Bradley to a place where he’ll be able to do so immediately. We wish Bradley and his entire family the best of luck in Phoenix and thank him on behalf of the organization, the fans and the city of Washington for his immeasurable contributions.”

Shamet owns career averages of 8.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting .388 from three-point range in 302 games with Philadelphia, the LA Clippers, Brooklyn and Phoenix. He averaged 8.7 points, a career-high 2.3 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 40 games with the Suns last season, raising his numbers to 11.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.8 rebounds in nine games as a starter. The five-year veteran was originally drafted by the Sixers with the 26th overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft and was named to the 2019 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

“Landry has a well-deserved reputation as a connector and positive influence in the locker room in addition to his abilities on the court,” said Wizards General Manager Will Dawkins. “He will be a valuable contributor to our organization.”

Guard Jordan Goodwin and forward Isaiah Todd will also go from Washington to Phoenix as part of the deal, while Phoenix’s 2028 second round pick along with the Wizards’ 2029 second round pick and the draft rights to Jarace Walker (the eighth pick in the 2023 NBA Draft) will go to Indiana for the draft rights to Bilal Coulibaly (the seventh pick in the 2023 NBA Draft).

Goodwin averaged 6.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 62 games for the Wizards this season. He was originally signed as a two-way player before being converted to a regular contract on Feb. 24. Todd averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 18 games for the Wizards over the past two seasons. His draft rights were originally acquired as part of a five-team trade on Aug. 6, 2021.

Latest rumors on the Suns and Chris Paul

Via the Arizona Republic:

Sources informed The Republic this week the Suns are still exploring options regarding Paul, who is in the third year of his four-year, $120-million contract.

The third year is partially guaranteed as the remaining $15 million of the $30.8 million becomes fully guaranteed on June 28.

The Suns could waive him before then, trade him or keep him. Paul currently is in Los Angeles.