Mark Pope, a center who has spent time on the rosters of three NBA teams, is among the free agents the Suns may add to their training camp roster, club officials said Monday.
Other players who may be added for training camp, which starts next Tuesday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, include forward William Pippen, nephew of Scottie Pippen, who played at Middle Tennessee. Others are guard Ray Weathers, who played at Michigan State, guard Trevor Huffman (Kent State) and center Nick Sheppard (Pepperdine).
Pope has been on the rosters in Milwaukee, Indiana and New York; he played extensively with the Bucks, even starting at times when they employed the "big three" of Ray Allen, Sam Cassell and Glenn Robinson.
But Pope and the other free agents will have a tough time making the Suns' final roster.
That's because the Suns are well over the expected luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season, and they already have 13 players with guaranteed contracts. Only 12 can make the active roster.
None of the free agents had been announced as signing as of Monday afternoon, but that could happen as soon as today.
Penny Hardaway made his first appearance at the club's informal workouts on Monday.
Hardaway said this summer has been the first time since joining the Suns that he hasn't been forced to rehabilitate an injury-related problem during the summer. "My legs feel great," he said.
He and Suns teammate Stephon Marbury worked out extensively in California for the past few months at the National Academy of Sports Medicine, a training outfit which has a contract to help Suns players with conditioning.
Hardaway also played in two summer leagues in the Los Angeles area, with his team winning both of them, he said.
Jake Tsakalidis, who has spent much of the summer playing for the Greek national team in preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, might join the team today.
That leaves Marbury as the only major player who has not taken part in the workouts.
Single-game tickets for the Suns' three home exhibition games are now on sale.
The Suns are slated to host Jason Kidd and the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets on Tuesday, Oct. 7, rookie Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, Oct. 11, and the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Oct. 24.
All three games, which will not be televised, are set for 7 p.m. Some $10 tickets remain available.