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Suns Big Man To Decline Player Option, Enter Free Agency

© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns are likely in the market to find a new reserve center. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that center Drew Eubanks is declining his player option for next season. It was worth $2.65 million. Unless he were to re-sign, Eubanks’ Phoenix tenure will end after just one season.

By declining the option, the 27-year-old Eubanks now will become an unrestricted free agent. He joins a free agent market that does not have a lot of notable centers after Isaiah Hartenstein and Nic Claxton.

Suns Big Man To Decline Player Option, Enter Free Agency

Drew Eubanks Will Decline His Player Option

Last offseason, the Suns signed Eubanks to a two-year deal worth slightly more than $5 million. The second year is the player option that he is seemingly declining. It was originally expected that Eubanks would be the backup to Deandre Ayton for Phoenix. That changed when Ayton was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers in a deal that sent Phoenix back last season’s starting center, Jusuf Nurkic. Last offseason, the Suns acquired Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards. With Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant taking on so much salary, Phoenix had to fill the roster with low-salary players.

One of those players was Eubanks, who spent the 2022-23 season with the Portland Trail Blazers. His first 3+ seasons were with the San Antonio Spurs, who he joined as an undrafted free agent. He was traded to the Toronto Raptors in February of 2022, who subsequently released him. Portland signed him to multiple 10-day contracts after his release before signing him for the rest of the 2021-22 season.

Last season with Phoenix, Eubanks appeared in 75 games (four starts). In 15.6 minutes per game, he posted averages of 5.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks. He shot 60.4% from the field as much of his offensive work was done down low. Eubanks played a total of 37 minutes in the four-game sweep that Phoenix suffered at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the opening round of the playoffs. After not scoring in the first two games, he had nine in Game 3. He did not play in the series finale.

Through six seasons, Eubanks has averages of 5.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks while shooting 60.6% from the field. He scored a career-high of 27 points in March of 2022 with Portland.

Backup Big Needed For Phoenix

Other than Nurkic, who is signed for two more seasons, the Suns do not have a center on the roster for next season. Others that could play center from the 2023-24 roster such as Bol Bol and sparingly-used Udoka Azubuike are free agents.

Much like last offseason, Phoenix is limited to cheap deals in free agency. If they can’t find a backup big in free agency, they do own the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft. Centers that could be options at that pick include Kyle Filipowski, Yves Missi, and Kel’el Ware.


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