The Phoenix Suns have gone 3-1 in the last 4 games played with an impressive 24 point rout over the Indiana Pacers, an uninspiring loss to the Wizards at home, a remarkable comeback win on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers and an 11 point win on the road against Philadelphia.
Phoenix is still the 7th seed in the West sitting at 26-18. They are fighting off the Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nuggets and Timberwolves for one of those last two playoffs spots in the wild Western Conference.
Weekly Roundup: Marcin Gortat spoke about his return to the Valley of the Sun, Archie Goodwin went to the D-League for a two game stint, Eric Bledsoe talked about his injury and a report leaked out that the Suns plan to match any offer he receives this offseason (duh), and Emeka Okafor’s name has come up as trade bait. Here is a breakdown of all of these news, notes and rumors surrounding the Suns over the past week.
Phoenix shipped away the 7-foot “Polish Hammer” just days before the season started in what’s turned out to be a good trade for both parties. The Wizards got an established center that is producing well for them as their third option behind guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, while the Suns were able to create more playing time for breakout center Miles Plumlee and acquire a protected 2014 draft pick that they will likely receive despite its protection.
Gortat said that he had “no hard feelings” for the Suns and thinks they are a great team and hopes they make the playoffs. In a post-game interview on Fox Sports Arizona, Gortat said he’s happy to see the Suns doing well and he’s glad the trade was a win-win. Phoenix just wasn’t the right fit for Marcin in the long run, especially during the “rebuilding” process. Unfortunately for the Suns, Gortat left Phoenix with a win in his return.
Goodwin’s D-League Stint
Archie Goodwin was sent down to the Developmental League for a quick 2-game stint to get some more playing time and see a rise in confidence. Goodwin appeared in two games for the Bakersfield Jam averaging 29.5 points per game to go along with 6.0 rebounds per game in 44.0 minutes per game. This included an impressive 32 point performance with 15 of 18 shooting from the free throw line on Friday.
With the addition of Leandro Barbosa, I think we all saw this coming. As long as LB is on the team he will likely see scarce playing time, especially once (if he does) Bledsoe returns. I see another D-League stint coming up for Archie Goodwin in the near future barring any major injuries.
Latest on Eric Bledsoe
The Suns plan to match any offer that Eric Bledsoe will receive this offseason in restricted free agency. Obviously it’s been thought this for a while, but with the recent knee injury to Bledsoe there could be a little more caution in regard to what the other teams may offer him. Bledsoe says he’s feeling better and “taking it slow” but hopes to return this season once he’s 100 percent.
If he does indeed lace it up again this season and plays well and doesn’t have any setbacks, then he could be looking at receiving that max contract offer that he was in line for pre-injury. However, if he sits out the rest of the season and has a setback in recovering, then I find it hard to see another team offering him a max deal. It’s all pure speculation at this point, of course, but it will be interesting to see how things play out.
The Suns will play Wednesday night against the lowly Milwaukee Bucks in a game that they need to win to keep pace with the rest of the West. After playing the Bucks on Wednesday night, the Suns will travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers the very next day.
Also, don’t be surprised to see the Suns trade Emeka Okafor before the trade deadline, as his expiring contract will be an extremely valuable asset and trade piece for Phoenix. Hoopsrumors.com has more on why Okafor’s contract could be highly sought after here: http://www.hoopsrumors.com/2014/01/emeka-okafor-trade.html.
Update: The Phoenix Suns announced that they have officially signed Leandro Barbosa for the remainder of the season.