BY: ED COLE
TEMPE, Ariz. – Brandon Knight didn’t get a lot of time to show the Phoenix Suns and their fans what he’s made of. He came to Phoenix in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks at the trade deadline, and was thought to be a strong compliment to point guard Eric Bledsoe.
A heel bone bruise and an ankle injury kept that chemistry from building between him and Bledsoe and his other teammates. It limited him to just 11 games [nine starts] with the Suns. It’s frustrating to Knight because he was just starting to get in a groove with his guys.
“After having a couple games under my belt, trying to figure out what was the best way for me to play within the system and the best way to help my team be successful, I think I was figuring that out. That stuff takes time,” Knight said. “I’m a competitor. I enjoy being on the court, I enjoy playing. Being new to this team, I wanted to come in and help make a playoff push. I knew I was just finding my way in that Golden State [Warriors] game. To go down was kind of unfortunate.”
Knight is looking past his restricted free agent status right now and he’s already looking forward to playing with his teammates next season for a full 82 games and hopefully more.
“Definitely. Most of the guys are around my age, [a] couple of them [in] the same draft as me, same college [Kentucky] as me, so we have a lot of connections,” Knight said. “I like this group a lot and I definitely see us growing together and I’m excited about it.”
There were visions in the minds of the Suns and their fans of Bledsoe and Knight, and the explosive possibilities when they were on the court together. There were sparks, but it fizzled out when Knight wasn’t able to come back from his injuries.
Knight feels he and Bledsoe can pick up next season where they left off this season and turn some heads.
“Definitely. I definitely enjoyed playing with Eric [Bledsoe]; a great player. I think we both can be very dynamic, very hard to guard as a backcourt and I think we both have the ability to guard the ball as well,” Knight said. “I think we can really play well off each other. [We’re] both athletic guards [and] young. I think if we just get on the right page, and not just us two, but the entire team, with the young group we have, we can be a very dangerous group.”
Knight has a sense that the Suns like him and want him teaming up with Bledsoe again. General manager Ryan McDonough expressed his feelings about Knight, as they get prepared to go through contract negotiations with him and his agent, Arn Tellem.
“We like Brandon Knight,” McDonough said. “I feel bad that he got injured, especially when he did. It wasn’t great for him, it wasn’t great for us. Injuries happen, they’re part of the game. It just stinks for him and for us that it was when he was heading into free agency, with our team after the trade deadline.”
McDonough was careful in his wording when talking about Knight and his contract status, given what happened in the negotiations between the Suns and Bledsoe.
“We’ll see how it goes. He [Knight] has to do what’s best for him and his family, and we’ll do what’s best for us as an organization,” McDonough said. “I think we all learned from Eric’s [Bledsoe] situation last year, and I think and hope that this one will go a lot smoother.”
Knight feels the same way McDonough does. He’s not looking for a long, drawn-out process with the contract talks.
“If it can be quick and easy, that’s the best thing. You don’t want to go through a fight or anything like that, or you don’t want to drag it out as well. [You] definitely don’t want to be anything that leads up to training camp,” Knight said. “I’m optimistic about the situation. I like it here and I like the way I’ve been treated so far; Top-class organization and I look forward to a future with the Suns.”