Shannon Brown spent part of his first two seasons in the D-League and was on his fourth team in three seasons in 2009 when his career hit a turnaround that set up this important offseason. NBA free-agency rumor mill: The latest | Paul Coro’s updates | FacebookAfter posting career-high scoring averages as Kobe Bryant’s backup on a loaded Lakers team for the past two seasons, Brown’s choice to sign with the Suns on Friday was not made lightly.The one-year, $3.5 million contract that the shooting guard will sign is an indication in duration that he expects to break out this season with more opportunity. The money shows he correctly gauged his increasing value after declining a $2.4 million option to stay with the Lakers.Instead, Brown will duel his former Charlotte Bobcats teammate, Jared Dudley, for the Suns’ starting off-guard job this season.”It’s a critical part of his career,” Brown’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, said. “He’s in a transition stage to become a better player in the league. We think Shannon is really ready to emerge as a player. It’s a great environment in Phoenix with a chance to win.”They have a great medical staff who keeps you healthy. There’s a point guard (Steve Nash) who gets the ball to players. It’s fun to play with someone who gets you the ball when you’re open. And Alvin Gentry is a terrific coach who is disciplined and lets you play.”Bartelstein said the Suns are “as player-friendly of a franchise as there is in the NBA.”The truth is the Suns need Brown just as much for his athleticism, wing scoring and defense. The Suns’ roster was lacking in all three departments. Bartelstein considers Brown to be one of the top five athletes in the league with a 44-inch vertical leap.Brown, who arrived in Phoenix on Thursday, averaged 8.7 points, 1.2 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 19.1 minutes per game for the Lakers last season. He shot 42.5 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range, where he took 212 shots last season. Some consider him to be a combo guard, although the Suns will already have three point guards once free agent Sebastian Telfair signs Friday.If Grant Hill returns to Phoenix, the Suns would have the most talented swingman wives in the league with singers Tamia Hill and Monica Brown.For a Hill update, go to this link for Hill’s comments from today.