Phoenix's free agency batting average dropped again Thursday when league sources confirmed that Philadelphia guard John Salmons chose a bit more money and more playing time in Toronto over the Suns. Phoenix had been courting Salmons, who at 6-foot-6 could have filled both the backup shooting guard and point guard roles for the Suns, for about a week.
The Suns figured to move quickly to fill out their roster with both rotation players and reserves. But Tim Thomas chose a sweeter deal from the Clippers over the Suns; players like Detroit's Lindsey Hunter and Matt Harpring signed deals to stay with their teams; and guards like Bobby Jackson and Speedy Claxton hit big free agent money with New Orleans/Oklahoma City and Atlanta.
The Suns have money to spend, with both the trade exception Salmons turned down and the mid-level exception of $5.3 million at their disposal.
"I'm a little disappointed we're not further along and a little surprised we're not," Suns director of basketball operations David Griffin said. "But we weren't putting all our energy on John Salmons. We have been pursuing other deals on parallel tracks and we'll shift our focus in that direction."
Among the guards in the free agent market, Minnesota's Marcus Banks is probably the most intriguing name left, although playing time would come into play as it did with Salmons. The Suns also have shown interest in ex-Sun Tony Delk, Minnesota's Marko Jaric and Eddie House, who has yet to sign with another team. Wing players on the market who could interest the Suns include Jumaine Jones, Devean George and big men like Aaron Williams.
The Suns have only 10 players under contract for next season -- three under the NBA minimum roster of 13.