The Rockets were a game away from reaching the NBA Finals and are looking like a team that could once again reach the Western Conference Finals, but Ariza points to the Suns’ aggressive approach as one of the reasons he decided to join Phoenix this season.
“Phoenix was the most aggressive team and the team that showed the most interest in me,” Ariza said during his introductory press conference, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “We all want to feel appreciated and wanted. When a team shows that much appreciation for what you do, naturally you are attracted to something like that.”
“I look at myself as a competitor, a winner, I do everything I can to try to make our team better everywhere I’ve been,” said Ariza, who will now team up with phenom Devin Booker and top-overall pick Deandre Ayton. “I know coming here is going to be a challenge. I’m up for the challenge. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get started.”
Suns, Kelly Oubre Agree To Two-Year Deal
According to The Athletic’s Michael Scotto, Oubre’s new deal is fully guaranteed with no options.
Oubre, 23, inked a new contract that has a descending structure, with a $15.7 million first-year salary, according to Arizona Sports 98.7’s John Gambadoro.
Oubre shined following a trade that sent him from the Washington Wizards to the Suns last season, and in 40 games with Phoenix, including 12 starts, Oubre was averaging 16.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.4 SPG, all career numbers, prior to a thumb injury that sidelined him.
Oubre and the Suns may work out a longer-term deal in the future, but this current deal keeps him in Phoenix for the next two years and allows Oubre the potential to hit unrestricted free agency at the age of 25.
Suns’ Ricky Rubio Believes He is Hitting his Prime
Phoenix Suns veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, whom they signed during free agency, believes that he is just now entering his prime.
Rubio, who is a long-needed answer at point guard for the Suns, is excited to join the team and likes where they are heading.
“I’m about to hit my prime, physically, and mentally, so, I wanted to have a place where I can show that.”
Rubio is the veteran presence that may pair perfectly with Suns superstar Devin Booker, and drew interest from a number of teams during free agency.
“It’s been a crazy summer” Rubio said. “It was my first time in free agency so I had to figure out how it worked, when a team asks you to be a big part of the project, I thought I had to keep them in mind. It came down to the last minute but I took a big opportunity here in Phoenix.”
Rubio believes that at 28, he is the best he has ever been and feels he has a lot of basketball left in him.
“Yeah, I’m 28″ Rubio said.
“Physically I feel stronger than ever. The last 3-4 years have been healthy seasons overall. I feel like I have a lot of basketball ahead of me and still the best is yet to come.”
Suns’ James Jones Discusses TJ Warren, Josh Jackson Trades
Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones has been a busy man this offseason, and part of that activity saw him trade away TJ Warren and Josh Jackson.
Jones chalked it up to the team just growing, and maturing.
“It’s just the maturation of a team,” Jones said, according to Kellan Olson of Arizona Sports 98.7 Radio. “When we looked at our team, we knew our two young building blocks were Devin (Booker) and Deandre (Ayton) and so every move we made after that was really to add guys that would complement and help them become better players.
Jones praised the players, with Warren likely the most deserving of the praise, and wished both the best in the future.
“The guys that we moved on from are great players, they’re great talents — we wish them the best. But when you’re building a team you have to make tough decisions so we made decisions that we thought would help us and (added) proven guys that would help us.”
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