Although the Phoenix Suns were reportedly interested in D’Angelo Russell during the NBA offseason, they didn’t pull the trigger to land the point guard when the free agency opened on Sunday. Russell ended up going to the Golden State Warriors via sign-and-trade and Phoenix opted to sign Spaniard Ricky Rubio in a shocking turn of events.
Those moves left the Suns fans wondering why they did what they did, and now we have answers. Even though their supporters were expecting, and rooting for D’Lo to go play with them, none of that happened and why? Well, the Suns simply chose not to pursue Russell despite Devin Booker's campaign for them to target his close friend, according to USA Today.
The Suns apparently felt that D’Lo wouldn’t be a good influence on Booker off the court and that’s why they decided to go with Rubio instead. Ricky was on the Suns’ list of potential signings, but he was more of a last-gasp signing for Phoenix. They tried to land Terry Rozier, but he chose to go to Charlotte via sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, which landed Kemba Walker on a four-year, max deal worth $141 million.
Once they lost out Rozier, they focused on Rubio, who was reportedly on his way to Indiana until Phoenix told otherwise. The Spanish guard was a cheaper option than D’Lo, who the Suns couldn’t afford with their projected salary cap of around $22.8 million.
If they intended to land Russell, they would have to go over the cap, trade Tyler Johnson, or waive and stretch the $19.2 million he's due this season as Russell was expected to demand a huge contract worth as much as $27.3 million in the first year.
Still, they need to make a roster move to fit Rubio's projected $17-million salary for the 2019-20 season, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, but now we learn that the decision to not go after D'Angelo wasn’t based only on financial concerns.