Like other young teams, Phoenix values its own brand of character. Team personnel call it the Suns fit, Watson says good guys who play with a chip on their shoulder, even if it means picking up the occasional technical foul.
Phoenix won’t be a playoff team for some time. But the Suns feel like they have the three pillars in place as the foundation to a contender down the road.
Booker has already emerged as a future star in this league. They hope Chriss and Bender keep developing the chemistry needed to form one of the more unique 4-5 tandems the NBA can offer. They’re encouraged that Jackson has shown flashes of dominance on both ends of the floor in Summer League.
But the other reason agents are wary of two-way contracts is that it restricts the player’s freedom of movement. Players who once could be called up by 30 different NBA teams now are linked exclusively with just one and on a limited basis, at that.
Sure, there are technically 60 more players in the NBA. But it will only be at a specific team’s discretion, with no lateral movement until the contract is up. Before, the G-League’s most convincing selling point was how easily any player could be called up for a 10-day tryout. That goes away for players who sign two-way contracts.
For some prospects, a two-way deal will make sense. Players looking for more money but who can’t go overseas have a more lucrative G-League option. Prospects who believe an organizational investment in them as players is more beneficial to their development than floating around unattached will likely love the new structure.
The two-way contract is an attempt to keep the G-League moving toward a true minor league system, which is important to the NBA, and deservedly so.
But the new system isn’t a universally beneficial one, even if it improves the G-League in certain places.