Ball Don't Lie - NBA



Forwards and fulminations from around the league ...

News that the Phoenix Suns and Hakim Warrick(notes) have reached agreement on a four-year, $18 million contract makes all the sense in the world. Not that they're low-balling Amar'e Stoudemire(notes) (at least in terms of years) and letting his warts and all and 20 and 10 run off to some other team, but that the Suns see Warrick as some sort of help at this point. Because, as it usually is on teams that feature Steve Nash(notes), he will help.

Warrick was the forgotten man on the Milwaukee Bucks last season, even after signing a relatively cheap deal with the team during the offseason. Traded to Chicago in February, Warrick was the frustrating man -- alternating bouts of strong interior moves off feeds with terrible defensive and rebounding habits.

And it's because of this that Hakim will fit right in. He's a mini-Stoudemire, down to a T. He can finish in traffic. He can make smart moves with his wiry body on the fly, especially after catching a tough pass. He can run the floor and he can pop accurately from 15 feet. He can also lose sight of his man defensively, which is hard to do as a power forward, and he's almost certainly no help in terms of rotation or help defense.

But he is, overall, help. Not the biggest body, but a big enough body and minutes sopper to partially offset the absence of Stoudemire, who seems well on his way toward signing a five-year deal with the New York Knicks.

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Channing Frye(notes) was always better off as a Phoenix Sun than with any other team, and Phoenix knows this. But this is also a topsy-turvy market, skewed to favor the players. So after opting out of his contract and initially turning down a five-year, $25 million offer, Frye has now agreed to a five-year, $30 million offer. Good for him.

With Stoudemire leaving, the Suns need any big man who can run and chew gum at the same time. By the looks of last year's playoff run (where Frye shot 36 percent over 16 games), he might want to give that run-and-gum trot a look.

Frye's ability to space the floor is a huge asset for the Suns, and the annual rate of this deal makes him very tradeable should things not work out. Teams will always covet a shooter, no matter what sort of slump he's in.

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Amir Johnson(notes) re-signing with the Toronto Raptors bothers me a little more.

It's not that Johnson can't play. He can, and his per-minute numbers have always been stellar. It's that the 23-year-old is still averaging nearly 6 1/2 fouls per 36 minutes, up to last year, and those sorts of rates don't tend to go away easily. Johnson can blossom all he wants offensively, but when you foul this much, you become a bit player no matter how much the front office pushes the coaching staff to run you.

And five years and $34 million for a bit player is a tough sell. He's certainly worth that if he can play 33 minutes a game, but that looks like a reach at this point.

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