The Suns recently picked up SG Shannon Brown’s option, keeping his $3.5 million on the roster for the upcoming season.
There are two reasons for this. His expiring contract is valuable to teams wanting to clear cap space for 2014 and would be helpful leverage in a future trade. They also had not formulated the Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Jared Dudley trade yet, so it was possible that Brown could have been the starting shooting guard to start the season.
However, now Eric Bledsoe has been traded for, and GM Ryan McDonough said on TV during summer league that the plan is to start Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt together. That leaves Brown as a back-up for $3.5 million. But with the emergence of Archie Goodwin in summer league, Brown’s future is in limbo. Bledsoe and Goodwin are both significantly younger than Brown and therefore there is that “potential” that people can see concerning the younger talent. Additionally, both Bledsoe and Goodwin are more aggressive than Brown generally, even though Brown is one of the highest leapers in the entire league and can throw it down at any opportunity.
So what should be done with Brown? There are two scenarios that both have pros and cons.
The first option is to trade Brown for a draft pick or combine him in a trade involving Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola, or Michael Beasley, to facilitate a younger roster. Adding Brown would help a trade that improves the future of the franchise, while also carving out significant minutes for Goodwin. On the other hand, no one benefits from Brown’s championship experience and mentoring and his value could increase as the season progresses.
The second option is to wait until the trade deadline and add Brown’s contract to the other expiring contracts of Caron Butler and Marcin Gortat in return for some draft picks and/or young talent. Here, Goodwin learns from Brown (but ideally not Brown’s obsession with fadaway jumpers), and we get the most value out of Brown, seeing as other teams get desperate with injuries or making a push for the playoffs. However in this scenario, Goodwin doesn’t get too many minutes, because you can’t justify paying a third-stringer $3.5 million for most of a season just to sit on the bench.
I would advocate for the second option but splitting evenly the back-up shooting guard minutes between Brown and Goodwin. Also, you try to get rid of Beasley and Scola making a small ball lineup possible in certain situations of Dragic, Bledsoe, Goodwin, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat. This would only work against other small-ball units, like the Golden State Warriors.
When we brought in Shannon Brown, I was really excited and hoped that he would be apart of something special here in Phoenix. It hasn’t turned out that way and the writing is on the wall for his departure from the desert. His high-flying acrobatics are so fun to see, but the inevitability is there. He won’t last long in Arizona. I just hope he stays through February.