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Where Are They Now? Part I: The Departed Bubble Suns

Part I in a new weekly series catching up with former Suns, this episode takes a look at the Bubble Boyz who are no longer with us

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Phoenix Suns v Charlotte Hornets Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images

Almost 14 months have passed since the Orlando Bubble, where the Phoenix Suns catapulted themselves back among the game’s elite franchises. While that iteration of the team fell just shy of a playoff berth, their 8-0 Floridian rampage signaled that the 2010s lottery extravaganza would soon be a distant memory. Of the 15 players the Suns brought to the Bubble, eight are no longer on the roster. What is that octet up to?

Ricky Rubio

Bubble Stats: 8 Games, 8 Starts, 26.8 MPG, 12.9 PPG, 43% 3-PT, 7.9 APG, 4.9 RPG

2020-21 Stats: 68 Games, 51 Starts, 26.1 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, 1.4 SPG with T-Wolves (2nd Stint)

2021-22: Traded to Cavs this August

Ricky’s arrival stabilized the team’s post-Bledsoe point guard circus. Suns’ history is filled with some of the league’s outstanding lead guard play, and Rubio’s year in the desert helped re-establish that legacy. After aiding a young Minnesota squad last season, he will look to mentor up-and-coming floor general Darius Garland this year in Cleveland. His hair? Still perfect.

Jevon Carter

Bubble Stats: 8 Games, 23.9 MPG, 7.0 PPG, 55% 3-PT, 2.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG; Game against Heat where he transformed into third Curry brother

2020-21 Stats: 60 Games, 1 Start, 4.1 PPG, 37% 3-PT, 1.5 RPG, 1.2 APG with Suns

2021-22: Traded to Nets this July

The only member of the eight-man band who spent last season with the Suns, Jevon revels in making his opponents’ lives a living hell.

A great teammate and lethal shooter, The Bulldog’s energy will be missed next season. There is always a spot for shooting and defense next to superstars, and I would not be surprised to see JC carve out a role on a title-hungry Brooklyn team.

Ty Jerome

Bubble Stats: 3 Games, 4.2 MPG, 1.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG

2020-21 Stats: 33 Games, 1 Start, 23.9 MPG, 10.7 PPG, 42% 3PT, 3.6 APG, 2.8 RPG

2021-22: 2nd Season with Thunder

The 2019 NCAA champion’s rookie year got off to a promising preseason start before an unfortunate ankle injury. Although skilled, Cam Payne’s emergence and the opportunity to add Chris Paul contributed to his exodus from the roster. Jerome was a bright spot on the rebuilding Thunder last year, for whom he provided high-level spacing (BBall Index’s 90th percentile perimeter shooting) and playmaking (87th percentile playmaking talent).

He will look to solidify a rotation spot in OKC this season.

Elie Okobo

Bubble Stats: 1 Game, 12 Minutes, 4 Points, 2 Assists, 2 Rebounds

2020-21 Stats: 14 Games, 3 Starts, 27.2 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 5.1 APG, 3.4 RPG with Long Island Nets (G-League)

2021-22: signed with ASVEL Basket (France)

The smooth lefty Frenchman had some solid moments in the desert (e.g. on my birthday in 2019, when his third-quarter three-point barrage injected life into Talking Stick Arena). Elie spent this past season honing his craft with the Nets G-League affiliate before being waived in December.

He is set to play this upcoming season back home under the tutelage of team president Tony Parker, where he will be sharing the court with NBA mega-prospect Victor Wembanyama.

Cheick Diallo

Bubble Stats: 3 Games, 3.8 MPG, 2.7 PPG, 60% FG, 1.3 RPG

2020-21 Stats: 13 Games, 1 Start, 16.5 MPG, 7.9 PPG, 57% FG, 5.2 RPG with Avtador Saratov (VTB United League) and Urbas Fuenlabrada (Spanish Liga ACB)

2021-22: Free Agent

The former McDonald’s Game MVP played four NBA seasons before moving overseas this past year. Diallo was on the Wizards Summer League roster in August, although he did not log game action. He was spotted working out with Drew Hanlen and a host of all-star talent this month.

Jalen Lecque

Bubble Stats: 1 Game, 6 Minutes, 2 Rebounds

2020-21 Stats: 4 Games, 3.0 MPG, 1.3 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.5 APG with Pacers

2021-22: Free Agent (Waived by Pacers in March)

The bouncy prep product never got much run before his inclusion in the Chris Paul trade, and after landing with the Pacers he was waived in March. He spent Summer League with the Thunder, scoring 14 points across two games. Lecque is young and talented, and should get a shot at a G-League or overseas roster soon. Plus, he is immune to gravity.

Kelly Oubre

Bubble Stats: Did Not Play

2020-21 Stats: 55 Games, 50 Starts, 15.4 PPG, 32% 3PT, 6.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG

2021-22: Signed with Hornet on 2 Yr/$25m deal in August

The Valley Boyz originator, Kelly gave the franchise a jolt after arriving via the Trevor Ariza heist. Although he did not play in Orlando, Oubre’s efforts helped set the tone throughout the 2019-2020 season. A poster-in-waiting during his time in Phoenix, he was a key part of the Chris Paul trade. Kelly spent this past year with the Dubs before joining Charlotte in free agency.

Aron Baynes

Bubble Stats: Did Not Play

2020-21 Stats: 53 Games, 31 Starts, 6.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG

2021-22: Free Agent (Waived by Raptors in August)

Splash Volcano provided an early spark for the 2019-20 Suns. Despite dealing with a multitude of injuries throughout the campaign (including missing all eight bubble games), the former NBA champion and Washington State Cougar had a collection of standout performances. Perhaps none were greater than the monster 37-point, 16-rebound, 9-three-point outing against the Blazers.

After spending last year on a transitioning Raptors club, Baynes may miss the entire 2021-2022 season after suffering nerve damage to his neck during the Olympics.

Note: Tyler Johnson, Tariq Owens, Jared Harper, and Jonah Bolden all contributed to the 2019-2020 Suns, but were not on the Bubble roster.

If you would like to see a player (or group of players) from Suns’ past featured in a future segment, please let me know in the comments.

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