BY: ED COLE
LAS VEGAS – The Phoenix Suns didn’t want Devin Booker to leave Las Vegas without a contract, so they took care of that on Monday – their only day off from Summer League action – signing him to a deal.
According to spotrac.com, Booker’s deal with the Suns is for two-years at $4,351,440 – all of it guaranteed. This coming season, Booker will earn $2,127,840 in base salary and will be a $2,127,840 cap hit. His dead money value will be $4,351,440.
In 2016-17, Booker will earn $2,223,600 in base salary. He’ll be a $2,223,600 cap hit and will have a dead money value of $2,223,600. The team will carry an option with Booker for both the 2017 and 2018 seasons: in 2017-18 Booker’s base salary would be $2,319,360 (cap hit of same amount), and in 2018-19, his base salary would be $3,314,364 (same amount for cap hit). In 2019-20, Phoenix’s qualifying offer to Booker would be $4,583,767 (same amount for cap hit). Booker would be a restricted free agent in 2019.
Booker’s had his fair share of ups and downs here at Summer League, but, for the most part, he’s played quite well in his first two games against the Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets. Booker’s averaging 8.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in those games.
Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough and head coach Jeff Hornacek fell in love with Booker’s shooting ability while at the University of Kentucky, saying he was the best pure shooter coming out in the 2015 NBA Draft. Booker’s numbers in his lone year with the Wildcats would line up with their feelings about him. Booker averaged 10.0 points on 47-percent shooting from the field, including 41.1-percent from three-point range. He also hit on 82.8-percent of his free throws.
Booker was named SEC Sixth Man of the Year, was named Second Team All-SEC and made the All-SEC Freshman Team after helping the Wildcats to a 38-1 record last season. Kentucky’s 38 wins tied them with the 2008 Memphis Tigers for the most wins in a single season in NCAA history. The Wildcats won the SEC regular-season and conference tournament titles in becoming the first undefeated team to reach the Final Four since UNLV in 1991. Booker ranked second on the team with 20 double-digit scoring games, and he led the conference in SEC Freshman of the Week honors (five).
A native of Grand Rapids, Mich., Booker was named a 2014 McDonald’s All-American after averaging 30.9 points as a senior at Moss Point High School in Moss Point, Miss.
Booker comes from good basketball stock. His father, Melvin, was one of the best to ever play the game at the University of Missouri before moving on to the NBA, where he played in 32 games with the Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors over the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. He followed that up by traveling overseas for a few years to play professionally in Italy, Turkey and Russia.
Booker’s next Summer League game with Phoenix is on Tuesday afternoon, as they’ll take on the Utah Jazz at Thomas & Mack Center at 4:30 p.m. Phoenix time.