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NBA Rumors: Phoenix Suns Upcoming Roster Move and Who Are the Leading Candidates For Veteran Big Man

The Phoenix Suns are among several NBA teams with an open roster spot, as they have 14 players on standard contracts. With the Suns well over the luxury tax and having a bill of over $66 million, it makes no sense for them not to add another player.

NBA Rumors: Phoenix Suns Upcoming Roster Move and Who Are the Leading Candidates For Veteran Big Man

So, who could Phoenix needssignneeds?

According to John Gambadaro of Arizona Sports 98.7, it won’t be veterans Mike Muscala or Patty Mills.

Muscala reached a buyout agreement with the Detroit Pistons on February 28. The 33-year-old big man will become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.

Phoenix has several players who can play either the four or five. So, it makes sense that the Suns wouldn’t be interested as they have a more significant need in the backcourt.

Phoenix has five healthy guards, with Damion Lee sidelined for the entire season. The Suns also need a true point guard on their roster. Thus leaving Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Grayson Allen, and Eric Gordon to man the position.

Booker has been fantastic at the one. Beal and Allen have done a fair job, though both are better suited to be off the ball.

However, Beal and Gordon are currently dealing with injuries. Beal missed his fifth straight game in last night’s Suns victory over the Houston Rockets due to left hamstring injury management. There is no word on his status for Saturday’s home game against the Rockets.

Gordon has now missed the last two games with a groin injury. He is considered questionable for Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Mills was officially waived last night by the Atlanta Hawks. Mills appeared in 19 games this past season, averaging 11 minutes per game.

Mills is capable of playing the one and two. He is also a career 39% shooter from beyond the arc.

Still, it makes sense that the Suns wouldn’t be interested in Mills, as Gambadaro said.

Mills is 35 years old and has not been a rotational player the last one and one-past seasons despite being on good teams. He is also not a good defender.

Saban Lee a Candidiate For Suns’ Final Roster Spot

While Gambardo doesn’t believe the Suns will be interested in Mills or Muscala, he did offer up a player to take the final roster spot. Gambardo tweeted that there is a “very high” chance that the Suns decide to convert Saben Lee’s two-way contract to a standard deal.

Lee has appeared in 38 games for Phoenix over the past two seasons, including 15 this year. Lee averaged 5.2 points and 2.2 assists, though he has compiled a shooting slash line of .397/ .308/.739.  He has scored in double figures six times and posted double-figure assists once with the Suns.

Lee has 125 games of NBA experience, including eight starts. The 6-2 lightning quick point guard excels at getting to the rim and the free throw line. He is also an elite distributor, though he does have turnover issues.  Lee is also an excellent defender, and while he struggles from beyond the arc, he makes over 36% of his threes from the corner.

Boston Celtics Not Interested In Muscala

The Boston Celtics are not expected to sign Muscala, who played 20 games for the Celtics last season, according to  Brian Robb of Masslive.

With multiple contenders appearing to have interest in Muscala, it’s hard to foresee a reunion in Boston at this point unless the big man is set on securing the best possible chance to win a ring. Several Eastern Conference teams are battling injuries to key big men, which could give Muscala a chance at playing time off the bench for a squad like the [Philadelphia] 76ers or potentially the [New York] Knicks, among others.

Boston would not be able to offer any regular minutes while the team is healthy, and they also added more big man depth already at the trade deadline with Xavier Tillman. However, Muscala’s skillset would probably still be welcome as insurance in Boston’s final roster spot since he provides much more shooting than the rest of Boston’s backup bigs (Luke Kornet, Xavier Tillman) in the event of injury to Al Horford or Kristaps Porzingis. Muscala has also spoken highly of his experience in Boston in past interviews.

Other News

  • Atlanta officially filled its open roster created by waiving Mills by converting Trent Forrest’s two-way deal to a standard contract.  Forrest averages 2.0 points and 2.1 assists in 10 minutes over 20 appearances. He has appeared in 133 career NBA games.

 

  • Marcus Morris Sr. has agreed to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs and has officially been waived. He will hit the waiver wire before the Friday night deadline for free agents to be eligible for the postseason. Morris won’t be able to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns.

 

  • Knicks’ center Isaiah Hartenstein earned some bonus money in the Knicks’ loss to the Golden State Warriors last night. Hartenstein contributed six points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes. While the 25-year-old center only played 20 minutes, he surpassed 1350 minutes this season, triggering a $350K bonus.

With the bonus, Hartenstein is now guaranteed to make around $8.5 million. He is projected to earn an extra $950K  in likely bonuses, increasing his to total salary around $9.5 million.

Hartenstein will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Knicks do hold Hartenstein’s early Bird rights, which means that the Knicks can offer him a multi-year deal though they limited to offering him $16 million a season.

  • Knicks’ forward OG Anunoby has been cleared to do some on-court work, but still isn’t doing any contact, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps and other media members on Thursday.

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