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* Did the Suns make a promise to Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters? This might become a moot point as talk on Waiters increasingly puts him in the top 10 of Thursday’s draft. Whether the term “promise,” “soft promise” or “Facebook like” was used for Waiters, the Suns definitely expressed their strong interest in Waiters. Too many people inside the league are telling a similar story and citing a close enough tie to make it sound legitimate. It would be silly for the Suns to give Waiters a straight promise. At No. 13, there is no telling who could unexpectedly slip and change their minds. Cleveland was known to give Daniel Gibson a promise when Suns General Manager Lance Blanks was there but it was for a second-round pick. Waiters is an ideal fit for the Suns’ need and system as a potential prototype NBA shooting guard. He is 6 feet 4 and 221 pounds with athleticism, speed, strength and toughness. He is relentless in attacking the basket, good in the pick-and-roll and can finish in transition. As with any Syracuse player, his man defense will be questioned until he shows it more.



*Much of the Suns’ draft focus has rightly been placed on shooting guards, a place of need for the Suns and depth in the draft. They have long liked Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb and he rewarded that interest with a visit for a workout Saturday after cancelling earlier because of an ankle injury. He was still hobbled for Saturday’s workout but managed to make a good impression nevertheless. Lamb’s draft stock has taken a hit over the past month but he remains a high-potential player because of his shot, athleticism and 6-foot-5 height (but not his size at 179 pounds).



* The players the Suns brought into Phoenix for a second look this weekend were North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall and Mississippi State power forward Arnett Moultrie.



Marshall gets a second look because it is clear that Weber State’s Damian Lillard will not be around at No. 13 for Phoenix. Marshall is widely accepted as the second best point guard and a vastly different one with the style of a floor general who sees the court and passes extremely well but does not have Lillard’s shot or athleticism. Whether Nash stays or not, Marshall is a consideration. He expressed in Toronto a willingness to learn behind a veteran for a year. Point guard or center is considered the most difficult position to nail on a roster and few think there has been as strong of a passing playmaker as Marshall in a while. He would have been ideal for past Suns teams with loads of scoring weapons at his disposal but, as Suns Director of Player Personnel John Treloar said, he makes other players better and will get better.



Moultrie is the most intriguing case heading into draft week. The Suns had him work out against four other first-round big men the first time and brought him back on Sunday for a workout more geared to see his perimeter game. Moultrie can shoot well and projects to extend his range to the NBA 3-pointer but his big draws are a 6-11 frame, a 7-2 wingspan, a rebounding knack, athleticism and a mean streak. There were concerns when he transferred from Texas-El Paso to Mississippi State but some wonder how high of a pick he would be if he had not been in two lesser-known programs. The Suns have spent time visiting his family in Memphis, something they did for the group they honed in on last year in the draft. For Moultrie, this would be a dream leap after he was a player widely targeted for the 20s earlier in the draft. He has been a motivated candidate, traveling from a workout Saturday in Philadelphia to Phoenix for Sunday’s workout and then continuing to Sacramento for his fifth workout in a week. He also would give the Suns an overload of power forwards with Channing Frye, Markieff Morris and Hakim Warrick already under contract. St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson, another big man initially pegged in the 20s, also has captured the Suns' interest.



The Suns have sent some signals out that they may be interested in acquiring a second first-round pick behind their No. 13 slot.



* The Suns will put in the required tender offers on Robin Lopez and Aaron Brooks this week to make them restricted free agents. Any team will be able to recruit Lopez and Brooks. When either or both signs an offer sheet, the Suns will have the ability to match the contract to keep Lopez or bring back Brooks. The Suns can’t execute a sign-and-trade deal on Brooks because he was not on the team’s payroll last season.



The Suns are getting some interest in Lopez but Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said the team intends to retain Lopez because of his youth and the team’s need for rim protectors. As for Brooks, the Suns already have Sebastian Telfair returning and could be doing one or two of the following things at that position – re-signing Steve Nash, drafting Marshall or signing a free agent point guard like well-traveled Raymond Felton or former Suns favorite Goran Dragic. The Suns have the cap space to sign Deron Williams but he seems bound for Dallas, his hometown, or a return to the Nets for their move to Brooklyn. The Suns’ re-engaged interest in Dragic after trading him for Brooks comes from the top. Dragic loved Phoenix, Coach Alvin Gentry and the training staff and is the only player to become close to Lopez. But being traded while on a team flight to Toronto has not been forgotten, although it did occur when he was playing his worst.



* Dragic told The Sporting News he wants to be a starter, as he was in finishing the season strongly in Houston. Dragic told The Sporting News, “I learned a lot in Phoenix. I had a very good time there. I don’t know what is going to happen but that is an organization I know, obviously, and they helped me a lot.”

http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/PaulCoro/165158
 
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