The Suns want to bring Scott Williams back for another season, meaning the club is looking at the same lineup of centers as last season: Williams and "Big Jake" Tsakalidis and "Little Jake" Voskuhl.
Williams would be looking at the same type of deal he got last season, a one-year, $1 million "veteran’s exception " to the salary cap, which actually would cost the Suns about $600,000 (with the rest of the money coming from a leaguewide pool).
The Suns also would like to work out a multi-year deal with the surprising Voskuhl, who ended up being their most effective center last season. For now, they’ll give him a oneyear qualifying offer of about $800,000 by the end of June, which guarantees his rights for next season, said club president Bryan Colangelo.
"You can look at both of them and say they made positive contributions, on and off the floor," Colangelo said.
Because of a back injury suffered by Tsakalidis, Williams played 872 regularseason minutes, "more than he probably expected or even wanted," Colangelo pointed out. Along the way, the 35-year-old Williams provided a solid example to the Suns’ young players, Colangelo said.
As for Voskuhl, 25, Colangelo said the backup center was reliable whether or not he got consistent playing time thanks to "his athleticism and energy."
Colangelo said he hoped the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Voskuhl will add strength in the offseason.
The Suns also are hoping for big improvements from Tsakalidis, who is under contract for the upcoming season.
MARKET FOR GOOGS
Don’t be surprised if the Suns work out a trade that deals away forward Tom Gugliotta.
Now that the highly paid Gugliotta finally is entering the last year of his contract, he may no longer be impossible to trade. Some teams may be interested because his salary disappears in a year, and that could allow them to go after free agents in the summer of 2004.
The Suns might be interested in trading Gugliotta if they can save money off the $11.7 million due him in the upcoming season.
The Suns are expected to be $10 million or so over the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season, which could represent $20 million in losses, That’s because teams are assessed one dollar in tax for each dollar their payrolls exceed the tax threshold.
A trade involving Gugliotta could end up as a complicated three-way deal.
Colangelo, while not commenting on any specific player, said, "We have to explore scenarios to reduce our exposure to the tax threshold."
Another player the Suns likely are willing to deal is forward Bo Outlaw, who makes more than $6 million. But because his contract has two years to run, he may be impossible to trade.
The Suns’ season ticket renewals hit 90 percent, a number considered excellent in the business.
With new sales expected, the Suns should top their 10,500 season-ticket total of last season, the lowest figure since their current building opened 11 years ago.
"We have a huge opportunity to increase our revenue base, which is much needed in light of the tax scenario," Colangelo said.