Clark is currently in New York for the rookie transition program.
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
For Phoenix Suns fans that are embroiled in the dog days of summer and are looking for a little basketball fix, you’re in luck. Suns.com caught up with Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr to find out what the players have been doing with their summer. Let’s take you through the roster player-by-player:
Louis Amundson went with Robin Lopez to a basketball camp run by former Suns assistant coach Tim Grgurich. The renowned camp is for both big men and guards and is just like a typical youth basketball camp, only it happens to have NBA players as its campers.
Grgurich, who is an assistant with the Nuggets and has coached in the NBA for over 15 seasons, is a highly-respected clinician and is acknowledged as one of the best individual workout instructors in the league.
This summer, “Lightning Lou” has been traveling around between his hometown of Denver, Los Angeles and Phoenix. The Suns found a shooting coach for Amundson so he could work on improving his range. Amundson’s coach is an associate of Spurs shooting coach Chip Engelland, who worked with Kerr and Grant Hill on their shots in the past.
“He does so many other things well with his athleticism and his energy,” Kerr said. “If he can get consistent making a 15 to 17-foot jump shot, it will really change his game.”
Leandro Barbosa just played in a charity basketball game in Brazil that was run by Anderson Varejao. His team, known as the “Friends of Leandrihno” (his nickname) defeated the “Friends of Varejao” 116-110. Dallas’ Shawn Marion, Indiana’s Danny Granger and Cleveland coach Mike Brown also participated in the event. Barbosa has spent most of his time in Brazil this summer.
Earl Clark is currently at the rookie transition seminar in New York with second-round pick Taylor Griffin. The NBA covers a variety of subjects at the seminar that includes money management and media training. A New Jersey native, Clark has been training in the Garden State but will be arriving in Phoenix at the end of August to work with the Suns’ training staff on his strength and conditioning.
Goran Dragic went back-and-forth about playing for the Slovenian National Team but ultimately decided to represent his home nation in the upcoming European Championships. Kerr credits Dragic’s youth for allowing him the ability to play the entire summer without needing much rest.
“This will be a great experience for him,” Kerr said. “The more he can play, the better it is for him.”
He’s scheduled to return to Phoenix in mid-September, just in time to cram in a few weeks of pick-up ball with his teammates before training camp begins. Slovenia defeated Macedonia in two exhibition games and Russia in another one. Dragic posted 11 points in Slovenia’s most recent exhibition loss against Russia.
Jared Dudley has been consistently working out in Los Angeles with Lou Amundson. Other than that, the Boston College graduate recently spent a little time at his basketball camp in Boston.
“Even though Jared is only entering his third year, he might as well be a 10-year veteran in my eyes,” Kerr said. “He’s just unbelievably professional and mature.”
Channing Frye spent a large amount of his time in Chicago working out this summer. Frye, along with other NBA players, trained with Michael Jordan’s former trainer, Tim Grover. A native of Phoenix, Frye will also be getting married in the Valley before the start of the season.
Taylor Griffin will most likely be the final addition to the Suns’ roster. According to Kerr, the No. 48 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and the club have been engaged in contract talks. Besides participating in the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League, the former Oklahoma Sooner appeared at the 2009 Suns Camp to work with the youth of Phoenix.
Grant Hill was busy being courting by opposing teams before deciding to sign a two-year deal with the Suns this summer. Hill will be returning to Phoenix earlier than most players because his children begin school on August 17.
Kerr says that he doesn’t even bother checking in with Hill because he’s fine-tuned his offseason routine over the years. Hill has been back-and-forth between his home in Orlando and his home in Phoenix, most recently returning to the area for Suns equipment manager Jay Gaspar’s wedding.
Robin Lopez became so competitive during a game at Grgurich’s camp that he was actually tossed from the contest. Since Kerr is aware of Lopez’s emotional nature, he lightheartedly tried to remind his young center, “It’s summer league for the refs too.”
Steve Nash has been all over the place this summer. Besides traveling around the world, acting in an episode of “Entourage” and putting on his popular charity soccer game in New York, he also managed to find the time to sign a two-year extension with the Suns.
Nash also will be returning to the Valley in the next week as his children begin school. However, last week, Suns strength and conditioning coach Mike Elliot visited Nash in New York to work with him on his conditioning.
Sasha Pavlovic’s existence on the roster will more than likely be in name only. The organization has been communicating with Pavlovic and his agent about what they intend to do with his contract. The Serbian swingman has $1.5 million of his $4.95 million contract guaranteed if the Suns choose to release him.
Jason Richardson has been working out in Phoenix, Denver and Charlotte. Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry spoke with him last week and said that Richardson is excited to have a full training camp under his belt with the organization.
Amar’e Stoudemire has been resting and recuperating all summer. Kerr spoke with him yesterday when he visited with the Suns’ training staff. Stoudemire has been inactive almost five months with his eye injury and it turned out to be much worse than the organization anticipated.
STAT had a procedure where the fluid in his eye was drained a couple of weeks ago. The four-time All-Star should have about seven weeks of conditioning before training camp starts.
This past Monday, Stoudemire began working out in the Suns’ weight room with Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson. His road to recovery is officially underway.
Alando Tucker has been back in Illinois for the majority of the summer. He will be returning to Phoenix at the end of August to train in the weight room with the Suns’ training staff.