The Phoenix Suns primary point of emphasis, for now two offseason in a row, has been the point guard position. Ever since they traded Eric Bledsoe and seemingly let go of every other potential point guard, the Suns have had a tough time finding a capable replacement. With the rumored interest in D’Angelo Russell swirling all offseason, Phoenix seemed like an ideal fit. I mean, even Suns star Devin Booker was lobbying for Russell.
Instead, the team decided to not go after the young point guard who lead the Brooklyn Nets to the playoffs. The reason? According to Duane Rankin of Arizona Republic, it is because the Suns felt Russell would have been a bad influence on Booker off the court.
Perhaps that has to do with Russell being cited for marijuana possession back in May. Outside of that instance, there have not been any negative stories surrounding Russell. What would make more sense is the Suns were unable to make the money work for Russell. He was eligible for a max contract, southing Phoenix is not able to swallow into their cap space. It would have required a sign-and-trade with the Nets and sending out salary to make the numbers more closely match.
Phoenix opted to sign the crafty-passing Ricky Rubio as the team’s primary point guard moving forward. Rankin also says the Suns tried to acquire former Boston Celtics point guard Terry Rozier, but he was moved to the Charlotte Hornets in a separate sign and trade.
Phoenix may have solved the point guard conundrum in the short-term, but Rubio is much older than Russell. The two also do not have the same skillset, namely offensively, where Russell appears much more lethal as a shooter. Time will tell if Phoenix made the right decision.