The Phoenix Suns improved around Kevin Durant by signing a player the Golden State Warriors reportedly had their eyes on to help Stephen Curry.
The NBA free agency started a few days ago and most teams have been aggressive. Title contenders such as the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors, for instance, have made moves to help Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry, respectively.
It makes sense, since both teams fell shorter than expected in the 2023 playoffs. While KD and company were unable to stop Nikola Jokic’s Denver Nuggets, the Dubs were outplayed by LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers.
That explains why both Mat Ishbia and Mike Dunleavy were busy in the last few days, especially since the free agency period opened. But the Suns had the upper hand on the battle for a specific player.
Rumor: How Suns beat Warriors on the race for Eric Gordon
According to The Athletic‘s Kelly Iko, Eric Gordon had the Warriors as one of his preferred landing spots before he chose the Suns. The guard became a free agent after running out of contract with the Clippers and reportedly had many suitors around the league.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic later gave insight into Gordon’s decision to snub Golden State for Phoenix, explaining that the latter offered a player option in the second year that the Warriors weren’t willing to include while Gordon felt he would have less playing time in the Bay area:
“A veteran minimum contract for a 16-year pro such as Gordon costs $3.2 million next season, but if it’s a one-year deal, the league subsidizes nearly half of it and only about $2.01 million counts against the cap. If it’s a multi-year deal, all $3.2 million counts against the cap. Multiply it by the repeater tax and you’re talking about somewhere around a $7 million added fee if the Warriors were to offer Gordon the same multi-year minimum contract that Phoenix did. …
“Phoenix has something else to offer its minimum targets this week that the Warriors don’t. There’s a clearer path to a larger role on the Suns. They entered free agency with a torn down roster around Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Deandre Ayton. There’s a fifth starting spot up for grabs and loads of bench minutes available. Gordon will probably close playoff games for them.”
In the wake of Gordon’s decision, the Warriors later switched their attention to Cory Joseph, who reportedly agreed on a one-year deal. That way, they have the backcourt depth they need behind Curry.