Suns introduce Frye

Updated: July 15, 2009, 10:12 AM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Channing Frye grew up cheering for the Phoenix Suns. Now he'll play for them.

"It feels good to be home," Frye said at a U.S. Airways Center news conference Tuesday. "I know I'm comfortable here. I know I can win in this state."

Frye
Frye

The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Frye agreed to a two-year contract with the second year at his option. He will earn about $2 million next season.

The Suns formally introduced Frye, not that he needed it. His news conference was held in the arena where he led St. Mary's High School to the 5A state championship in 2001.

Frye went on to become a star at the University of Arizona, and four years later, he's back in the desert.

"Just having an opportunity to play here, I take a lot of pride in this Suns uniform," said Frye, who will wear No. 8. "Probably more than any other team I've played for, this is that home team."

The 26-year-old Frye said he chose the Suns over Cleveland, Denver and Washington. That was a business decision, but there also may have been some emotion involved.

Frye spoke of growing up a Suns fan. He attended church with former Suns star Kevin Johnson, and he said his favorite player was Elliot Perry, who suited up for Phoenix from 1993-96 and again in 2000-01.

"As soon as I was a free agent, I was like, 'I hope Phoenix calls,'" Frye said.

Frye's signing comes after the club unloaded center Shaquille O'Neal and his $20 million contract in a trade with Cleveland. The lithe Frye is a very different player than the lumbering O'Neal, who wasn't a good fit with the uptempo Suns.

"This is an important signing for us, obviously, following the Shaq trade," Suns general manager Steve Kerr said. "We felt like it was really important to add some depth in the frontcourt, and Channing was No. 1 on our list.

"Channing fits our style perfectly because of his ability to run and shoot with range, and he's our kind of person, too -- a great teammate with high character and someone who is very community-minded," Kerr said.

Frye was a highly touted NBA prospect after four standout seasons at Arizona, where he earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in his junior and senior years. He finished his career with 1,789 points, ninth on the school's career list, and helped lead the Wildcats to within one game of the Final Four in March 2005.

"It just feels good to be around my U of A alum," Frye said, nodding to Kerr, another former Wildcat.

"Oh, here we go," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said with a smile. "I knew that wouldn't take long."

Frye was drafted eighth overall by the New York Knicks in 2005.

He averaged 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a rookie and was named to the NBA's All-Rookie first team.

But Frye's scoring and rebounding averages have dropped every year since.

The Knicks traded Frye to Portland after two seasons. Last year, Frye played in only 63 games, averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game.

The Suns expect more from Frye, and they say they'll give him more time on the floor.

"I think he's going to be in a situation here where he'll get some consistent minutes, and I think over the past couple of years, that's been the negative about it, in that he just hasn't had consistent minutes," Gentry said. "I think he's going to be a terrific player for us. I think he was made to play in this system right here."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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