The Phoenix Suns have certainly had their fair share of good shooting guards over the past few years. It started with Joe Johnson, who is now the highest paid player in all of the NBA. Then it was Raja Bell, a solid defender and spot up shooter that was never afraid to play with a little grittiness to his game. Jason Richardson came after that, demonstrating his supreme athletic ability and three point shooting skills.
Since all of them have since gone to different teams, the Suns have been in dire need of a playmaker at the two guard position that can make big shots. That is why they recently signed Eric Gordon to a 4-year, $58 million max money offer sheet. The problem is, Gordon is a restricted free agent that could see his offer matched by the New Orleans Hornets.
So where should the Suns turn should Gordon be headed back to NOLA? Well, the answer could be already on their roster. Shannon Brown remains an unrestricted free agent and after having his best career year with the Suns in 2011-12, he may opt to return.
Sure, getting Gordon to come to Phoenix would be a nice centerpiece for the Suns to begin the rebuilding process around. He's young, athletic, a good shooter, defender and he has room to grow. But at this point, it's very much unknown as to whether he comes or not. New Orleans, by all indications, seems ready and willing to match the offer sheet he received.
There are other shooting guard options still on the open market. There's Lou Williams, another good shooter that won't be returning to the 76ers. OJ Mayo is unrestricted and could be a nice option. But neither of these guys will come as a cheap alternative.
Shannon Brown, on the other hand, could be the best option should Gordon not be headed for the desert. He is still young at the age of 26, he has elite athleticism, his shooting improved last season to 42% (36% from three point range) and he can play hard nosed defense when he wants to. The thing with Brown is that as his minutes have increased, his production has seen rather large spikes throughout his career.
The only question is whether or not Brown can continue his recent run. He is by no means a franchise player, but he could be a cheap option that allows the Suns to keep some cap flexibility for a year or two down the road when they can make another free agent splash.
I could see Brown returning to Phoenix on a 2-3 year deal worth somewhere between $5-6 million per year. I don't see that type of figure being on the high side due to his production level last season. He provides a good starting option at the two spot should he be required to do that or he can be a sparkplug off the bench. Beyond that, the Suns have expressed interest in retaining him should their 'Plan A' fall through.
Either way, the Suns need to find an answer at the shooting guard position. Is that answer right in front of their faces? We'll know soon enough.
For more on the Suns, head over to Bright Side of the Sun.