According to several reports, Phoenix Suns draftee Alex Oriakhi will play for Limoges CSP Elite, a French team that competes in French Pro A league. The Suns will retain his NBA rights as he develops his skills overseas.
As Ridiculous Upside reports, NBA teams are increasingly getting their guys some more seasoning across the pond rather than warming the very end of the bench. The old "draft and stash" method is no longer exclusive to foreign players. Teams still own the rights to the second round pick, just as they have for foreign players selected who take years to join an NBA team.
Mike Muscala decided last week to play in Greece next season and several other fellow second round picks may follow.
Oriakhi played sparingly for the Suns summer league team, losing out on minutes to fellow tank Orinze Onuaku and spending most of his time on the bench next to the Suns' last "Mr. Irrelevant" big men Dwayne Collins. The Suns were looking for a mold - big, beefy power forwards who could gobble up rebounds - and apparently concluded quickly that the 26 year old Onuaku was the most ready of the bunch.
The Suns power forward/center rotation is overflowing at the moment. Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat are the starters, with rookie Alex Len and Channing Frye as the primary backups. Marcus Morris and Michael Beasley will compete for time at both forward positions, and Miles Plumlee will compete for time at center. Even if the Suns subtract one or two players from that crowd before the season tips off, there's still no room for Oriakhi in 2013-14.
A last-second attempt to contact Suns GM Ryan McDonough for comment on Oriakhi's future has not yet been returned. Once I get that, I will update the story.
In any event, you should stop dreaming up plays for Oriakhi for next season. He won't be wearing a Suns uniform.