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NBA Rumors: Suns And Jamal Crawford Talking; Phoenix Schedule Leaked

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The Phoenix Suns, like the rest of the NBA, are still a few days away from the official start of the free agency period. According to multiple reports, the players will begin voting on the new CBA on Wednesday and barring any complications the lockout will finally and fully end on December 9. In the mean time, teams have been permitted to talk to players and agents about potential free agent deals and with that comes the inevitable rumors.

The Suns, as expected, made Grant Hill their top free agent priority. Hill has expressed a desire to remain in Phoenix but according to a report in Sports Illustrated, he still has other teams on his mind including the Knicks, Bulls, Spurs, Warriors, Celtics and Clippers.

Phoenix has also been linked in the same report to 31-year-old combo guard, Jamal Crawford. With restricted free agent Aaron Brooks stuck in China until February or March, the Suns have an obvious need at the point guard position backing up Steve Nash and providing points off the bench.

Crawford is said to have narrowed his list of desired teams, in order, to New Orleans, Phoenix, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Indianapolis.

It's not clear how much Crawford would demand in his next contract or what teams will be willing to pay. Crawford last signed a seven-year, $56m deal in 2004 with the Bulls. He's since played in Chicago, New York, Golden State, and Atlanta. He's known as a dynamic scoring guard with a limited defensive reputation.

The Arizona Republic has obtained an early copy of the NBA schedule for the Phoenix Suns. The schedule is set to be officially announced by the league on Tuesday evening.

The leaked version has the Suns opening their season at home on December 26 against the New Orleans Hornets followed by a visit from the Philadelphia 76ers on the 28th. 

With the compressed 66-game schedule this season, not every team will get a chance to host every other team. For the Suns, that reportedly means the league's biggest stars from the Eastern Conference won't be coming to town. Miami, Chicago, Boston, Orlando, New York and Indiana will all avoid a trip to Phoenix.

Stars like LeBron James, Derrick Rose and Amare Stoudemire will not visit US Airways Center this season which deprives Phoenix basketball fans and certainly doesn't help ticket sales for the team.

We have to wonder if 10 of 12 Eastern Conference All-Stars and all the biggest names being left of the Suns home schedule is mere coincidence or if the notoriously imperial commissioner, David Stern, is exacting some measure of revenge on the team or its owner for some slight.

For more on the Phoenix Suns, visit Bright Side of the Sun.