The Phoenix Suns have extended qualifying offers to both Alan Williams and Alex Len for the 2017 NBA season. This makes both Williams and Len restricted free agents going forward. It also gives the Suns the ability to match any offer sheet either player is given this Summer.
Going forward, it would make a lot of sense to trade away Tyson Chandler due to the Suns having two young centers that will be highly motivated to have the best seasons of their careers so they can get the most money possible. Trading Chandler to a contender would make the most sense as he is 34 years old and has two years left on his contract. Although Chandler is on board wanting to help a young Suns team he would be a good viable option for a contending team.
Chandler played 47 games all season, with 46 of those being starts. In those 47 contests Chandler was the Suns best player at going up and getting the ball averaging 11.5 rebounds per game to go with 8.4 points and 0.5 blocks. He missed various games due to injuries and resting after the all-star break. The door was closed after the all-star break because more time was allocated to their younger big men. It was obvious Phoenix was looking to develop both Len and Williams towards the end of the regular season. Earlier rumors before the draft showed Chandler could have been moving to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Len played a total of 77 games with 34 starts this past season. In that time frame he played 20.3 minutes a game and averaged 8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. Showing improvement in different facets of his game will be extremely important if he hopes to be there for years to come. One of the big improvements needs to be playing smarter and avoid foul trouble which has been an issue of Len’s since he has came into the league. If he is able to work on the small things Len should become a solid center for a young Suns team that needs better defensive presence inside. This could be the last opportunity for the fifth overall draft pick back in 2013.
On the other side, Williams only played 47 games, all of those games coming off the bench. In 15.1 minutes per game Williams added 7.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. In just his second season he showed good improvement and pretty much matched Len in offensive output while being more efficient from the field. He showed how much energy he could bring to the table when on the floor, and only being 6’8″ played small ball at the center position out-hustling bigger centers. Expect Williams to have an even better third season as he deserves much more playing time going forward.
Currently the Suns have a log-jam at the center position. It sounds best to play all three of Chandler, Williams and Len at that position since the arrivals of Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss who can play the two forward positions. It wouldn’t hurt the Suns to trade Chandler as they are talking the approach of building a young team through the draft and don’t expect to get any big free agents this off-season. Going forward the preseason will be interesting to monitor because it should reflect how minutes will be divided this upcoming season.