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Suns GM Not Worried About Paying Players, Luxury Tax

The Suns will do what they need to do in order to keep the train moving in Phoenix, even if it comes at a cost.

To quote the great Notorious B.I.G., "Mo money, mo problems".

The Phoenix Suns have seen great success on the basketball court in recent memory and have seen players such as guard Devin Booker reap the benefits.

Booker previously inked a five-year, $158.25 million maximum contract extension prior to the 2018 offseason. Should he make an All-NBA team (very likely since he finished fourth in MVP voting), he will become eligible for a four-year, $211 million extension that would kick before the 2024-25 season. 

Center Deandre Ayton heads into the offseason as a restricted free agent and is in search of a max contract. A number of NBA insiders insist teams around the league are interested in bringing Ayton on board, so the Suns indeed have decisions to make down the stretch of the summer. 

Forward Cam Johnson also is a candidate to receive a nice upgrade in pay, as this offseason he is eligible for a rookie extension (25% maximum of the cap) for a five-year, $186 million deal.

Of course, the Suns aren't looking to pay Johnson those exact figures, but there's no doubting Johnson has earned an extra penny or two.

Major financial decisions are ahead for Phoenix, but that won't stop Suns general manager James Jones from conducting business as usual. 

“That’s a part of the business. As your team improves, typically your payroll increases," said Jones to reporters. If any team should know, it'd be the Suns. Phoenix paid Booker and Chris Paul a combined $62.45 million last season.

The luxury tax appears like a very real possibility for the Suns for next season. Phoenix is already at nearly $129.2 million in their nine contracts allotted for the 2022-23 season according to Spotrac, about $20 million shy of the luxury tax before any real damage can be done.

“We’re focused on improving the team and those guys, they deserve the credit," said Jones. 

"They deserve the accolades and the financial rewards that come with being good players and productive players. It doesn’t preclude us from doing anything. We’re not talking about a luxury tax issues or avoiding those things. That’s not something that’s going to prevent us from continuing to build this team and keep this team together.”

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It will be interesting to monitor how Jones and the rest of the organization manages the Suns' finances heading into next season. Jones admitted it was a fairly good problem to have, but the Suns are about to find out if it's worth the price of admission when the postseason once again rolls around.

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