Big names don’t always mean big change.
Jimmer Fredette instantly becomes one of the most famous players on the Suns’ roster, particularly considering the large population of BYU alumni in Phoenix and the school’s proximity to the town. However, unless he looks like a shockingly different player with the Suns than he did previously in his NBA career, the outlook at guard for the Suns is no different than it was three days ago.
Fredette will reportedly sign with the Suns for two years.
Guard Jimmer Fredette has agreed to a two-year deal with the Phoenix Suns, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Team option on second season for Fredette, who is returning to NBA once he receives his clearance from China.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 21, 2019
Let’s quickly walk through what the deal actually means for the Suns.
The deal has a team option for next season, and with just nine games remaining this year, his guaranteed salary is going to be minuscule. This is not much of a commitment, mostly just the cost of being the team who gets to see Fredette up close before anyone else.
His contract will likely be similar to that of Ray Spalding or Shaquille Harrison, with a later guarantee date next season in case the Suns want to maintain flexibility with the roster without committing too much money to end-of-bench players.
Fredette lit up The Basketball Tournament last summer and averaged 36 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists in China this year. It’s not crazy to bring him back for a few weeks to see if anything about his game has improved.
In the NBA, Fredette’s only real skill was three-point shooting. If his finishing or decision-making have improved, there might be a real NBA bench scorer in him. At age 30, this is probably Fredette’s last chance to prove it.
Yet the Suns already have two rookie point guards and have been linked to nearly a dozen others who will be available this summer. De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo have done enough to earn another season in the league and Ricky Rubio, Terry Rozier and others will garner a ton of interest in free agency. Fredette changes none of that.
He will fill seats and he will get some eyes on the Suns and he will be a warm body. Without Tyler Johnson and with Okobo and Jawun Evans seemingly locked into the G League, the Suns just need players. Fredette is a player.
Your first instinct when you heard Fredette was coming back to America and playing for the Suns was probably to giggle. That was the right reaction. It’s crazy to see his name back in NBA news and it’s even crazier that it involves the Suns, adding to the insanity that has taken place at the point guard spot in Phoenix the past two seasons.
Remember Mike James? How about Josh Gray? Missing Isaiah Canaan? Add Fredette to that list, sit back, and watch what happens. It can’t get any worse than those other guys.