Ryan McDonough Rumors
Four-year deals worth more than $100 million for Antekounmpo and McCollum did not carry much mystery or bartering. “I feel like those rookie extension deals get done if they’re fair for both sides,” McDonough said. If the Suns do not give extensions to their 2013 draftees, they still would have the ability to match another team’s offer in the restricted free agency process or exclusively offer a five-year contract.
So McDonough said the best route short term is through the draft, building a young foundation with Booker, Bender, Chriss, Ulis, and T.J. Warren along with veterans Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, and Chandler. “That’s certainly the most sustainable way to do it,” McDonough said. “If you can draft those guys and have them under control for four years on the rookie scale and then have a bunch of advantages in terms of contract extensions and full Bird rights, that really helps.
McDonough and the Suns owner, Robert Sarver, both made the trip to Carmel, Ind., to meet with Stevens and his wife Tracy. “So yeah, we were at his kitchen table,” McDonough explained on the podcast. “We were meeting with him about potentially coaching the Suns. Ultimately he decided at that time to stay at Butler, and then a month or two later he chose to go to the Celtics. But as far as how close it was or what his decision-making process was, you’d have to ask him about that. But we were sitting around his kitchen table discussing him potentially coaching the Suns in May of 2013.”
In another interesting layer to the story, McDonough actually worked in the Celtics front office for a decade under team president of basketball operations Danny Ainge before joining the Suns in 2013. The two basketball minds clearly shared a deep respect for Stevens and both recruited the same man. “We thought we had a chance,” McDonough said.