After signing Terrence Ross yesterday to join a suddenly deep (but not all that good) wing rotation, the Phoenix Suns now have 14 players on standard NBA contracts and 2 on two-way contracts.
That means there’s still room for one more guy, either through the conversion of Ish Wainright to a full-time deal or the signing of player bought out by another team.
Buyout season has been busy already. G/SF Terrence Ross signed with the Suns. PG Reggie Jackson went the Nuggets. SF Danny Green went to the Cavaliers. SF Justin Holiday is going to Dallas.
But there’s still a lot out there for the Suns to consider, as they make a choice between Ish Wainright and someone else’s castoff. Ish has been on a two-way contract all season, but as of tonight’s game versus the Clippers he will be out of eligibility to play NBA games. (Two way contracts are meant to be split between G-League and NBA, with the majority being G-League assignments).
Here are the best names the Suns might consider for their 15th slot, including a guy who just became available this morning.
- Kevin Love, PF/C
Shams just reported today that the Cavaliers are working on a buyout with Love, who’d recently lost his rotation spot on the Cavaliers during a down season (8.5 points, bad shooting, 6.8 rebounds).
But it’s just one year after being a 6th Man of the Year candidate with those same Cavs, so maybe there’s a little life left for a stretch run?
Fit with the Suns: better than Landale? We should note that Love and Suns GM James Jones are close friends from their Cavaliers days, heading to three straight NBA Finals as the wind beneath LeBron’s wings. The Suns can always use more weak side shot making and a little more rebounding. He’s no great shakes, but I’d venture to guess he’s better as a PF pairing next to Ayton against big teams than Dario Saric or Jock Landale have been (although with KD in the lineup, the Suns might not worry about that kind of size matching anymore).
- Will Barton, SF
ESPN reported that Will Barton was working on a buyout from the Wizards a week ago, but nothing has come of it since. He’s just a year removed from averaging 15 points per game in Denver, but has been terrible this year in Washington and is now out of the rotation.
It’s strange that so many other wings have found new homes already, while Barton’s buyout was one of the first to leak.
Fit with the Suns: better than Wainright? Depends on what he’s got left in the tank, but late year’s Barton could have earned minutes in a supporting wing rotation that now consists of T.J. Warren, Damion Lee, Terrence Ross, Ish Wainright, Torrey Craig and Josh Okogie. Who all could Barton beat out besides Ish?
- John Wall, G
Wall was finally bought out by the Rockets, though it required two trades (to the Clippers and back) to do it. You’ll want to think he’s a great floor general who was once one of the best in the business, but here’s the bottom line on Wall: the Clippers’ biggest need is point guard, yet they traded away both Wall and Reggie Jackson couldn’t even stay on the floor with All-NBA talents Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Wall can’t shoot (30% on threes), doesn’t defend much and doesn’t play every game anymore, but he can drive into the paint and draw fouls.
Fit with the Suns: better than Saben Lee? The only guys the Suns have behind Chris Paul are Cameron Payne, who’s getting closer to returning to action, and two-way Saben Lee who won’t be able to play in the playoffs (and shouldn’t). If the Suns are worried at all about Paul and Payne’s health for the playoffs, maybe they take a chance on Wall.
- Russell Westbrook, G
LA reporter Dave McMenamin shared a quote from an unnamed source with the Lakers that Russ’ departure means ‘the vampire is gone’, in that Russ had been sucking the life out of the locker room.
While I’ve never been a fan of Russ as a player, especially in these late stages, that’s probably giving Russ way too much credit for all those Lakers problems. There’s a lot more blame to go around, and we’ll see that soon enough.
Here’s a comment from John Hollinger of The Athletic:
Westbrook could still help in the right situation, if a team has enough shooting and is starved enough for shot creation. I don’t think the Clippers or Bulls are that team, and I’m nervous about how that might go for either of them. Russ is gonna Russ, which means a high usage rate and 50-ish percent true shooting. But there are some playoff-contending teams on which he’d either be an upgrade on what’s already there or fill a glaring pit of a hole.
Fit with the Suns: oof. The Suns already have three primary playmakers in KD, Book and CP3. Sure, Russ could lift up the second unit, but that’s the job he had in LA and look how that turned out.
Others who might become free agents in the next two weeks but have not yet been waived so they may never become available.
- Cory Joseph (Pistons)
- Frank Kaminsky (Rockets)
- Dario Saric (Thunder)
- Kelly Oubre Jr. (Hornets)
- Seth Curry (Nets)
- Goran Dragic (Bulls)
Players who are released before March 1 can be signed to an NBA team and be eligible for the playoff roster.
What do you think? Who should the Suns sign for that last roster spot?
Who gets the 15th spot?
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Wait for someone else!