Even if you’re a Phoenix Suns’ fan, it’s hard to begrudge Channing Frye cashing in and signing a big contract. After being forced to sit out the 2012-13 season with a potentially fatal heart condition, Frye returned to the court in 2013-14 and almost powered the Suns to a playoff berth. His return to the court has now been parlayed into a four-year, $32 million deal with the Orlando Magic, and I couldn’t be happier for him.
How should Orlando feel about this deal? It’s probably a little bit of overkill and overpaying, considering they just drafted Aaron Gordon with the fourth overall pick, ostensibly to play power forward. It seems likely that Frye’s veteran leadership was one of the reason’s he was brought over, as this Magic squad is sorely lacking in veterans. Frye will most likely start at power forward, with Gordon and Kyle O’Quinn backing him up, although Frye will also play some centre when Nikola Vucevic sits. This move reaffirms my stance on Gordon holding little to no fantasy value this season. Adding another power forward also signals that Tobias Harris will play more small forward than power forward.
Frye started all 82 games last season for the Suns, posting very respectable numbers.
One of the original stretch fours/fives, Frye picked up right where he left off, nailing two triples a game, as well as hitting a great clip from the line, especially for a centre. He’s also a plus contributor in blocks and only turned it over 1.1 times per game. Finishing 75th last season was actually the lowest fantasy finish over the last four seasons of Frye’s career, twice ending up in the top 50.
Even though the Magic did draft Gordon, I think Frye will play at least the same amount of minutes as last season, probably more as they strive to add a veteran presence. I have Frye playing 30 minutes a game and that should produce a stat line like this.
If Frye can perform like this, he projects as a top 65 player in nine category leagues, partially fuelled by his great turnover rate.
As I said earlier, the Magic probably overpaid for Frye a bit, but you can’t help but feel good for the young man and you also should feel good for Frye’s fantasy prospects next season and not be scared off by the rookie waiting in the wings.