Today, the Phoenix Suns made what is likely to be the final move to their roster before the start of the NBA season, by waiving 7' 0" center Earl Barron.
Barron, a seven-year NBA veteran, was a training camp invitee who signed with the Suns on Sept. 26th. Earl was given the opportunity to help fortify the center position behind Miles Plumlee and Alex Len. Barron's competition for the 15th and final spot on the roster was also the other player hoping to be the team's third center, Shavlik Randolph.
The advantage for Randolph coming in, is that he was already signed to a guaranteed contract of $1.22 million for the season, so if Earl was planning on unseating him, he would have to make a big statement.
In the first few preseason games, Barron did just that. In his best game, he scored 10 points on 5/8 shooting from the field and grabbed 13 rebounds against the Houston Rockets.
However, he was not able to sustain his production over the entire preseason the way he needed to, and Shavlik Randolph answered back shortly after with an impressive game of his own against the Los Angeles Lakers, in which he showed of his three-point shooting range...including a clutch shot to help the Suns win in overtime.
In the end, the Suns chose to keep their guy who was already under contract for the season. But it isn't just because of that.
In addition to his improved shooting range, Randolph has also proven to be reliable enough to play at both the four and the five, and always hustles on both ends of the floor. His versatility as a player, ability to spread the floor, and energy on both ends of the court were probably the most substantial factors in the decision to keep him over Barron.
With this move, the Suns are now at 15 players, the maximum they can keep on their regular season roster. This is likely the last move they will make before the start of the season, but that doesn't mean they won't continue to look for opportunities to continue improving their team during the season either.
If the Suns were able to keep a 16th player, I have little doubt they would have kept Earl Barron on the roster for now. However, there simply isn't enough room, and someone had to go.
Good luck, Earl.