Luis Scola is maybe the most underrated 15 and 8 big man in the NBA. In a world where Omer Asik gets paid like Patrick Ewing, and Roy Hibbert gets maxed out like a top-10 NBA player, the Suns locking Scola in for three years at just over $4 million per deserves a standing ovation. After Scola was amnestied by the Houston Rockets, each of the NBA's teams entered a blind auction in attempt to win his services. Reports indicated that multiple teams were intersted, including the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dallas Mavericks. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 620 had the following contract details, via ArizonaSports.com:
Luis Scola gets 4.1, 4.5 and 4.9 million over next three years from Suns but only 440K is guaranteed in year 3.
Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby released the following statement on the move: "We are excited to have won the bid for Luis Scola and to add a player of his caliber to our roster. We greatly value the production he will bring and the leadership he will provide to our younger players."
Babby's right to be excited. In a league where potential is often more valued than production, all Scola has done since arriving on the NBA scene from Argentina is put numbers on the board. He averaged 16 and 6 last season for Houston before being amenstied by the Rockets, and has averaged 15.5 points and 7.7 rebounds during his five year run down in H-Town.
To make way for Scola's contract, the Suns used the Amnesty Clause themselves on Josh Childress. Childress looked to be an up-and-coming star caliber player back when he first started out in Atlanta, and was signed by the Suns after playing a season in Greece. At the time, Childress appeared able to sign a mid-level NBA deal after his Hawks contract expired, but instead chose to accept a contract playing overseas. Since he returned to the League, he did essentially nothing.
Childress appeared in 88 games over the last two seasons for Phoenix, and made little contributions. I do expect Josh to find work somewhere on an NBA team, and maybe this move gets him back on the grind after falling off the NBA radar to some extent. Whether he goes on to be successful or not, the totality of this move made today by Phoenix has to be viewed as a success. Beyond locking Scola up for three season, only guaranteeing less than $500K in year three avoids much of the risk associated with diminishing returns at that point in his career.
While the Suns still haven't replaced the gaping hole left by Steve Nash last month, they are trending upward here with the Scola move. Good job, Suns.