Suns Players Begin Making Offseason Plans
Vacations. Free agency. The Gym.
To a man, the Suns’ players have some kind of plan moving forward now that the season is over, but those plans range from leisure to work and will, at times, include both.
Miles Plumlee is eager to ensure his game takes another leap after going from bench-warmer in Indiana to starting center in Phoenix, where he set career-highs in every statistical category.
“I’m going to be here a lot just because I love working with the staff so much and I know this is a place where I can make great improvements,” he told reporters after cleaning out his locker on Thursday. “But I’m definitely going to talk to [my brother] Mason. We’re figuring out something where we can get away from both of our respective cities and work out together a little bit and get a break, too.”
With the NBA Playoffs commencing this weekend, Plumlee also plans on seeing his younger brother make his postseason debut for the Nets.
No longer a rookie, Archie Goodwin will also likely be a regular visitor to the Suns’ practice court, as well as other gyms in the valley. The former Kentucky standout feels there’s much more talent to uncover after burning the Kings for 29 points in the season finale on Wednesday night, telling reporters “I’ll be in the gym tomorrow.”
Item No. 1 on Goodwin’s to-do list? Put on more NBA weight.
“I’m trying to add weight now,” he said. “It’s so hard because my metabolism is so high. If I miss one meal, I won’t gain any weight. I have to eat like a pig to gain any weight right now.”
Gerald Green could be a willing practice/eating partner for Goodwin during the summer. The 6-8 swingman and Most Improved Player candidate said he wants to improve his ball-handling, especially in pick-and-roll sets on the offensive end. And yes, he’s fine with sticking around for an Arizona summer.
“I’m from Houston, man,” Green said. “It’s 120 degrees out there, too. It doesn’t even matter.”
Suns guard Goran Dragic is fine with the steadily rising heat, as well. He’s planning on staying in Phoenix another two weeks before he, his wife and their infant son return to his home country of Slovenia, where a newly constructed house is waiting.
“I need to work on my tan,” he laughed. “I don’t have a pool in Slovenia. Here I do. So I will try to relax next to the pool, have some fun in Phoenix… then go home. My house is going to be ready. I’m looking forward to moving into a new home, do all those things, try to decorate Mateo’s room. It’s going to be fun.”
Ocean water beckons for Channing Frye, who said he’s planning on taking his family to the beach sometime in the near future. The vacation will be a welcome respite after Frye was the only Suns player to start all 82 games for Phoenix in his first season back from an enlarged heart that forced him out of the game for a year and a half.
Frye, who went to high school and college in Arizona, could become a free agent this summer, if he foregoes the 2014-15 player option in his contract.
“I’ve been through this two or three times already,” Frye said of his contract situation. “It’s a business, so you have to allow them to make an assessment of what they want. I have to figure out what I want and what’s going to work for both of us. You’ve just got to be professional about it. When we’re ready to talk, we’re going to continue to have a dialogue about it. Until then, I’m going to enjoy my vacation.”
Star guard Eric Bledsoe has a similar approach entering the offseason. A restricted free-agent, the fourth-year guard could well return to Phoenix since the Suns can match any offer made by another team. Signing outright with Phoenix is, of course, an option as well.
For now, however, he’s willing to simply welcome the offseason and let the business side of things resolve itself when the NBA’s official free agency signing period begins in July.
“I’m just going into the summer to get 100 percent healthy and enjoy my family,” Bledsoe said.
He gave the Suns props for allowing him to enjoy a career year, as well the team’s help in facilitating a full recovery from mid-season knee surgery.
“With the guys, the organization and the coaching staff, it was great,” Bledsoe said. “During the season, [they] made me feel great about myself, every night, to go out there and play at the level I can play.”
Back-to-back Dan Majerle Hustle Award winner P.J. Tucker will also be a restricted free-agent this summer. Entering future contract negotiations, the 6-6 small forward holds high regards for the team that gave him a second shot at an NBA career.
“Today, just thinking back to when I first walked through the doors here – from being the 14th, 15th man, having to work really hard to try to make my way back into the league and make my way, really, on the team – to now being an 81-game starter and being a part of this team, it’s amazing."
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with [free agency],” he added. “It’s the first time I’m in this situation. For me, I’m just basking in the moment and enjoying it and just being positive, hoping everything works out.”
Tucker did say the team, media and fans could count on one thing.
“If I sign [with Phoenix] before summer league, I am playing summer league,” he laughed. “There is no question. If my deal is done before then, I will be there. You will see PJ Tucker.”