Phoenix plans to be aggressive in free agency

With the Phoenix Suns trending upward in the eyes of general manager Ryan McDonough, he is intending to make a strong push for free agents to continue the team’s improvement, according to a report.

Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic writes McDonough’s plans are to utilize cap space and future assets.

“The team is ready,” McDonough said.

“There are certain core pieces that are starting to solidify,” McDonough said. “I think we’d be foolish or naïve to wait forever or be overly patient.

“We’ve been, I think, relatively disciplined with contracts we’ve given out in terms of length and dollars, but yeah, we’re planning on being one of five of six teams with a decent amount of cap space, and we’ll see if we can improve the team.”

If Phoenix does not re-sign center Alex Lin, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after the Suns decided to not extend his rookie contract, the team will enter free agency with approximately $20 million in cap space.

The Suns could create even more cap space if they move veteran center, owed $13.5 million next season, and swingman Jared Dudley, who is due to make $9.53 million next season.

As for potential targets for McDonough & Co., Bordow lists unrestricted free agents Derrick Favors and Tyreke Evans, potential unrestricted free agents Nikola Mirotic [team option and Enes Kanter [player option] and restricted free agents Clint Capela, Aaron Gordon, Jusuf Nurkic, Elfred Payton and Marcus Smart.

The draft could be another source of talent infusion for Phoenix. The Suns have their own first-round pick [currently projected to be No. 5 overall], Milwaukee’s first-round choice, courtesy of the Eric Bledsoe deal [which projects to be between 11th and 16th, now standing 16th] and Miami’s first-round choice [top 7 protected], which currently stands at No. 22.

With the 2018 draft expected to be the deepest in years, McDonough particularly likes the depth at point guard and center, two weaknesses for the Suns.

“One of the things we’re excited about in this draft is if all the players we expect to declare are in, I think the strength of the draft is where we can use some help, at the one and the five primarily,” he said. “We’re kind of searching for answers long-term at those positions.”