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Saying Goodbye to Alan Williams, may your Big Sauce coat the Big Apple

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Big Sauce Alan Williams will not be back to start the season in Phoenix.

Portland Trail Blazers v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Until mid last week, former Suns center and native Phoenician Alan Williams appeared to still be holding out hope he would be able re-sign with the Phoenix Suns for the coming season.

Despite being released in early July from his non-guaranteed $5 million contract, Big Sauce’s twitter profile still splashed his Suns gear all over the pictures and bio.

But now, Big Sauce is heading to the Big City to take a bite of that Big Apple.

On a two-way contract, Williams can make a minimum of $77,500 up to a maximum of $385,000 (up from last year) if he spends all 45 days in Brooklyn with the NBA team. Of course, the Nets can convert his contract to a full NBA minimum deal (just over $1 million) if he plays well.

Why wouldn’t the Suns bring him back? Why would he sign with the Nets instead of taking up the Suns available two-way contract?

Probably because he wanted the opportunity to play next season.

Ed Davis (a forward) and Jarrett Allen are the only big men on the Nets roster taller than Sauce’s 6’8” and NO ONE has the 260 pound girth that our former center will bring to their team.

Sauce will give them rebounding power and a low post pick-and-roll presence, though his biggest impact on the NBA came a year ago before he hurt his knee last off season and never recovered.

Sauce’s rebound rates have dropped precipitously over the years, from grabbing 30% of available rebounds as a rookie, to 22% his second season to 16% this past season. Still respectable, but he needs to recover his health to maximize limited mobility.

The Suns just don’t have room right now.

The Suns have rookie center Deandre Ayton penciled in for 25-30 minutes a night this season, with 18-year center Tyson Chandler his primary backup and the bouncy Richaun Holmes running third string.

It was the acquisition of Richaun Holmes that really sealed Sauce’s fate.

Holmes is a 3-year NBA veteran, all with the Sixers, who just lost his rotation spot this past season behind young Joel Embiid and veteran Amir Johnson. The Sixers were much better defensively with Amir, so they re-signed him and sent Holmes packing.

The Suns acquired Holmes for basically nothing but cap space for just over the league minimum this July.

And that took up Alan Williams’ potential spot.

Each was best in their second NBA season, 2016-17, and if you look at the numbers they were fairly comparable backup centers.

Sauce is the better rebounder, but Holmes is much more athletic and has proven himself over more time. Sauce’s best parts of his NBA career were on pick-and-rolls with Tyler Ulis in half a season, while Holmes has three solid years as an energy big.

We will miss Big Sauce SO MUCH though.

The Phoenix native is one of the best rebounders per minute in the NBA, and his teardrops in the lane off the catch were things of beauty.

But it’s his spirit and sideline cheerleading that set Alan William apart from the rest, and we will miss him dearly.

Goodbye Sauce!

For now, anyway.

Williams signed a two-way contract with the Nets, meaning they can have him on the big league roster for no more than 45 days next season. You remember that with Mike James last year, as well as Alec Peters.

Assuming he makes the big club out of training camp, once Williams’ 45 days is up he will have to decide whether to go down to the G-League with the Nets or ask for his release if he can sign on with an NBA team on a full contract.

So if the Suns have injuries or trades that deplete their center rotation, maybe they’ll give Sauce’s agent a call...