The Phoenix Suns are coming off an NBA Finals appearance where they lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. It was an impressive playoff run as they beat the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers en route to the Finals. Stars Chris Paul and Devin Booker led the way for the Suns and will look to build upon this season moving forward.
This offseason will be key for the Suns as other contenders are making moves. With Russell Westbrook headed to the Lakers, the Suns will need to add talent to keep up with other great teams.
Here are the five best players the Suns must sign in 2021 NBA free agency.
5. Kelly Olynyk
The Suns’ offense runs well with a backup center who can space the floor. Last season, it was Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky in this role, but they are unlikely to continue. Kaminsky was on a one-year deal, and Saric tore his ACL in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Kelly Olynyk would be a great replacement for them. Last season, Olynyk recorded 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He’s a great stretch big who would be a good backup to budding star Deandre Ayton.
4. Jeff Green
One of the most intriguing players for contending teams is Jeff Green. Green has the versatility to play both forward positions as well as being a small-ball center. He is a solid defender and floor spacer for any team. Green is also a great finisher at the rim, which many people seem to forget.
Last season, Green put up 11.0 points per game on 41.2 percent from behind the arc. Green is expected to have interest from several contending teams, and the Suns need to be one of them.
3. T.J. McConnell
T.J. McConnell is one of the most underrated guards in the NBA. He’s a solid playmaker and great defender who could be a great backup guard if the Suns lose Cameron Payne.
Last season, McConnell notched 8.6 points per game along with 6.6 assists. McConnell also showed off his defensive skills by getting 1.9 steals per game. While he isn’t a star, he plays his role to perfection and would be a great addition to the Suns.
2. Cameron Payne
One of the most interesting stories of the season was the revitalization of Cameron Payne. Payne was out of the league just a few seasons ago, but he signed with the Suns in 2020 and earned a roster spot. Payne not only was the backup point guard but actually closed out playoff games when Paul was injured.
The Suns wouldn’t have made it to the NBA Finals if it weren’t for Payne’s performance. Last season, Payne tallied 8.4 points and 3.6 assists per game. He also shot an incredible 44.0 percent from 3-point land. Payne will likely get offers from other teams, but the Suns need to focus on bringing him back to the team.
1. Chris Paul
The most important task of all for the Suns is re-signing star Chris Paul. He is one of the core pieces of this team and makes them a championship contender. In the playoffs, Paul averaged 19.2 points and 8.6 assists despite dealing with several health issues. He was able to create his own shot throughout the playoffs while also getting his teammates involved.
Paul also shot an unreal percentage from 3 at 44.6 percent.
All signs point toward CP3 returning on a new long-term deal after opting out of $44.2 million. Phoenix just needs to make sure it happens.
The Suns have an important offseason ahead, and they will need to make some moves in free agency to remain a championship contender.