Suns struggling to find a backup point guard - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Suns struggling to find a backup point guard

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Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 10:53 pm | Updated: 9:35 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Suns knew they faced an uphill battle when it came to luring free agents with nothing more than veteran's minimum contracts.

And the climb continues, especially when it comes to finding a capable backup to Steve Nash at point guard.

First, Chris Duhon was quickly snapped up by the New York Knicks. Then Anthony Johnson signed a two-year deal with Orlando Tuesday for the biennial exception of $1.9 million a year, something the Suns can't match.

That leaves Tyronn Lue as the last name on Phoenix's original wish list. Lue is still keeping in close contact with the Suns, and the team remains optimistic that something will get done. But the Boston Celtics and at least one other team are still talking to him as well.

Lue also took a look at Miami, which has its biennial exception to offer, over the weekend, but he didn't show up for a scheduled physical on Monday.

The Miami Herald reported that the Heat - who have ex-Sun Marcus Banks and rookie Mario Chalmers at the point, have decided to shop elsewhere. Lue's flirtation could have been an attempt to see if Phoenix was willing come up a bit from the $1,262,000 veteran's minimum deal, but the Suns are holding firm out of necessity, citing further hits from the luxury tax that the NBA charges teams with high payrolls.

Even if Lue signs with the Suns, they might not be done shopping for a point guard if rookie Goran Dragic doesn't reach the NBA next season. One player of interest is former Clipper Shaun Livingston, on the comeback trail after missing the last 17 months following a horrific left knee injury.

One of the league's bright up-and-coming point guards, Livingston crumpled on a drive to the basket, and he injured nearly every part of his left knee (torn anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus, a sprained medial cruciate ligament and a dislocated patella tendon).

Livingston hasn't played since. Still only 22, he was cleared to resume basketball activities just last month. But he wasn't able to show his progress in the Vegas Summer League and hasn't worked out for teams.

The Suns also have D.J. Strawberry, who is gaining confidence at the point guard spot and looked good in a 22-point Summer League effort against the Houston Rockets on Monday.

"He showed much more leadership and a firm grasp of what we were trying to accomplish offensively," Suns vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said. "From a point guard perspective, he's made some real strides in the offseason."

BONUS SHOTS: Strawberry injured his tailbone in the 100-97 loss to Houston and played only two minutes in the first of two scrimmages Tuesday before calling it a day. His availability for the next Summer League game, Thursday against San Antonio, is undetermined. Alando Tucker was also limited on Tuesday after suffering a calf strain against Houston. ...

Reports of interest in former Magic guard Keyon Dooling are unfounded. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Dooling, who made $3.6 million last season, was insulted when he was offered the same two-year, $3.8 million deal that Johnson took.

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