For years, the Phoenix Suns have been looking for a quality player to back up Steve Nash. They have gone through Leandro Barbosa, Goran Dragic, Aaron Brooks, Ronnie Price and Sebastian Telfair (the latter two this season alone). Brooks would have been playing in the NBA this season, but with the lockout, he decided to go to play professionally in China.
Now, as the season in China is finishing up, Phoenix wishes to bring him back for the stretch run, as reports Chris Broussard in his ESPN Insider column. He writes:
Phoenix still has its eye on Aaron Brooks, who will be playing in the Chinese Basketball Association championship this month. The Suns want to re-sign Brooks at the right price and intend to visit him in China during the championship series. Portland and Sacramento also have interest in Brooks.
However, the interest that Portland and Sacramento have is useless.
As restricted free agents, the only way...Brooks can leave their current NBA team for another NBA team is to sign an "offer sheet". The "offer sheet" becomes a contract within 3 days, with the original team having the right to take it on or allowing the new team to take it. However, offer sheets can only be tendered by March 1 of any league year, and this year is no different.
So, if Brooks and Chandler are not back in the states (and cleared by FIBA to re-join the NBA) by March 1, the players have only two remaining choices
sit out the entire NBA season and become restricted AGAIN this summer or, re-sign with their current team.
The current team can offer a multi-year contract to keep the player long-term, or just give them a one-year contract and let them walk away on July 1 with no compensation. Obviously, the latter option is the worst one for the team.
The Suns now have all the leverage. They can and should offer him a longer deal at backup money. He has to accept or become a restricted free agent again in a season he did not play in the league.
If he returns, he could possibly bolster the PG position, as he should be a better option than either Ronnie Price or Sebastian Telfair.