As many wondered whether the Suns might elect to convert one of their three training camp contracts into a two-way deal by way of the Exhibit 10 provision, Phoenix on Tuesday instead decided to waive all three players to get their roster down to 16 players heading into the regular season.
Those three players were David Kramer, Tariq Owens and Norense Odiase, each of whom saw limited playing time in the preseason. Kramer was suffering through a stress reaction in his left leg and has not played since Summer League, while Owens was hurt in Las Vegas and finally saw court time in preseason. Odiase was a surprise addition to the roster with his Texas Tech teammate Owens but will head back to free agency now.
That left all three on the outside of the roster battle looking in. The Suns have 15 guaranteed NBA contracts as well as Jared Harper’s two-way deal. So these three could have either been transitioned into a two-way deal (each team is allowed two) or potentially been added to the main roster if they really impressed.
However, no one with a guaranteed NBA contract played poorly to allow a way in for Owens, Kramer or Odiase.
“He’s made a name for himself,” coach Monty Williams said Monday night of Elie Okobo. “When he gets minutes, he plays well. He’s a good guy to have around in case you have an injury.”
If anyone was going to fade away, the assumption would have been Okobo or Jevon Carter. Yet Okobo clearly showed up in a positive way and Carter has received major minutes during the preseason and is in line for a potential spot in the regular season roster.
Now, the Suns will move forward with the 16 guys we expected to see.
They can still look to other teams’ cuts for their second two-way player. Expect Owens, Kramer and Odiase to likely land in Northern Arizona with the Suns’ G League affiliate unless a different NBA team gives them a guaranteed contract.
Williams said before the first preseason game that the goal was to keep things very simple and constant among all players to see how each person picked up on scheme and mentality. The team did this because they expected that everyone on the training camp roster would have a strong chance to remain with the organization, he said.
Keeping all three of these players would give Harper and fellow rookie Jalen Lecque a strong foundation of fringe NBA talent to develop their games with the Northern Arizona Suns.