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Stein: Suns are interested in recently waived Bol Bol

The Magic moved on from Bol. Should the Suns move in?

NBA: Orlando Magic at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, you thought the Phoenix Suns were done, did you? You might have been mistaken. While the Suns have done a splendid job navigating free agency this off-season, building a roster that has many believing that Phoenix has done the best job with their roster this offseason (especially considering the limitations that lied before them), there still appears to be work to be done. At least in the eyes of James Jones.

Phoenix traded recently acquired Isaiah Todd, along with two first-round pick swaps, to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for three second-round picks on Thursday.

On the surface, this transaction appears to be the Suns attempt to try to gain some draft capital back after dealing everything they had to the Brooklyn Nets and the Washington Wizards in an exchange for Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. James Jones built his superteam by leveraging the future of the franchise. Phoenix does not control any of their picks until 2031. I’ll be 49-years old.

It doesn’t hurt to send a player who most likely isn’t going to be on the roster and some swaps you don’t control for some draft capital, right? Is it because Todd was set to wear jersey number 14, and Jones was so hurt by the Landry Shamet transaction that he traded #14 for the second time in one offseason? I kid, I kid. Or do I? I do.

The other side of this transaction, however, may have something to do with the fact that the Orlando Magic waived Bol Bol on Tuesday.

Marc Stein reported via The Stein Line that, “Phoenix is said to have a level of interest in Bol”. I’m sure that numerous teams are, especially considering he doesn’t appear to be someone who will demand a large contract.

It’s an interesting thought, bringing in Bol Bol. His acquisition will truly fortify the center position behind Deandre Ayton as it would he and behind DA. The question then would become what to do with newly acquired Chimezie Metu. More of a wing than a big, Metu is a man in the middle relative to his position. Currently as the roster sits, he would be the third center for Phoenix.

Bol is a 7’2” center who attended Oregon University prior to being taken 44th overall in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. He never played in Miami as he was dealt to the Denver Nuggets for a second round pick and cash considerations. After three seasons in Denver, he was eventually traded to the Orlando Magic, where he played 70 games last season.

For the first time in his young career, Bol received consistent playing time with the Magic. He averaged 9.1 points per game, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks. He shot 54.6% from the floor and 26.5% from beyond the arc on 1.6 attempts.

So why waive him? Well, the Magic are headed in a different direction. Around last year’s 1st overall pick Paolo Banchero, the team is trying to get out of the business of giving young players like an abundance of minutes to develop and into the business of veterans who know what they’re doing. The Magic brought in Joe Ingles, resigned Mo Wagner, and want to get themselves out of the lottery.

Bol simply does not fit their vision. As The Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede observed:

Bol’s season, however, was up and down though he remained a fan favorite at Amway Center. At one point he made 32 consecutive starts but came off the bench during a stretch of games from mid-January through mid-March. Then, he was out of the rotation completely for seven games before closing the season back on the court.

Do the Suns want to go after someone who couldn’t stay on the court with a team that resembles Oprah Winfrey relative to minutes?

This is where opinion enters that chat. My opinion. Uh oh.

Bol Bol is a fan favorite-type of player, but I’m not sure that he meets a need or gives you an edge. He possesses size but not physicality. He can handle the ball a little bit, but that’s not what the team needs from their backup to the backup five. His defense leaves plenty to be desired as a big.

He isn’t the best rebounder either. Again, backup to the back up, so much much impact due you expect? The Suns could do better, but what else is on the market? If Bol possesses the highest talent/upside, then yeah, bring him in. But with a long summer ahead, opportunity my lie in other corners of the NBA.

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