The dust has mostly cleared for the Phoenix Suns this offseason, but one last decision is left to be made for James Jones and the front office.
That would be the 15th and final roster spot, which opened up this week when the team decided to waive Elie Okobo rather than guarantee his minimum salary for 2020-21. There aren’t many expected contributors left on the market, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Suns. If the team doesn’t decide to sign anyone now, they can use the flexibility of the open roster spot and some extra spending power to add talent in-season.
The potential targets
It’s the bottom of the barrel left in free agency.
Best remaining available FAs cont:— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) November 27, 2020
A. Davis (not really!)
However, in my opinion, the Suns should look long and hard at Dewayne Dedmon. He is probably the only player left who could actually contribute for the Suns in 2021. Though he struggled with injuries and unhappiness last year with Sacramento and Atlanta, the big man has proven to be a capable defender and floor-spacer in a backup role. He has had a true shooting percentage at or above 60 percent in three of the past five seasons and usually gets a couple blocks per 36 minutes.
If they can’t get Dedmon, the priority should still be the frontcourt. I would keep an eye on how things play out between Cleveland and JaVale McGee. They clearly have no need for him, so if they buy him out at some point, he would be a nice fit backing up Deandre Ayton for the Suns.
The bi-annual exception
That brings us to the money. By not using their bi-annual exception this offseason, the Suns were thought to be saving it for 2021. That’s certainly possible for the $3.6 million deal up to two years that can be given out through the BAE, but the Suns could also keep it open to use in-season this year.
Should McGee or someone else even better become available, the Suns could use the BAE as a means of out-bidding other teams that only have minimum salaries to offer. The Suns could also use the BAE as a way to give a player a guaranteed second season on a contract rather than just for the remainder of the season.
It’s odd to think of the Suns as an appealing destination for such players, but Chris Paul should change the perception of this organization and how desirable it is to play here.
Training camp competition
Of course, the Suns could go the traditional route and look for young talent to bring into camp and duke it out for the final roster spot. They signed two such guys in Ty-Shon Alexander and B.J. Johnson this week, who are both likely to go into the season as the Suns’ two-way players, but they could be escalated to full rostered players at some point.
Players like Jordan McCrae and Thon Maker seem like possibilities here too, in addition to the numerous draft prospects who are still unsigned.
Again, the Suns should definitely target the wing or center position here.