The Phoenix Suns have exercised the $1.9M option to keep Ish Wainright in the Valley. This move was an expected one as, seeing as the roster is extremely top heavy relative to salary, the team had a need to fill out the roster with cheap contracts.
Bringing Ish back has other benefits as well. While the team doesn’t have any draft assets to add to a deal, Wainright does now become tradeable if need be. The team will possess his Bird rights next summer, as well as have the ability to make him a restricted free agent next offseason.
Due to numerous injuries last season, Wainright saw his playing time increase dramatically. He was seventh on the team in total games played, appearing 60 times en route to 4.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. While he possesses the size to be a decent defender, opportunity exists around his shooting. He is a 32.9% three-point shooter. If he wants to grow in this league, that is where it needs to happen.
Where he will ultimately fall in the rotation for Phoenix is to be determined. With his signing, the Suns now have seven players under contract; we are waiting to see what Phoenix plans to do with Cameron Payne’s non-guaranteed $6.5M contract. Based on how Phoenix fills out the roster and who they bring to the Valley with display their plans for Wainright.
Is he a roster filler? Or will he be in the bottom third of the Suns’ availability? My guess is it’s the latter. That being said, it’s a smart move by James Jones to bring Ish Wainright back. Financially, of course, but also due to the character of the man.
Plenty more to come, so stay tuned in to Bright Side during free agency to see where all the chips end up falling!