Suns Sign Saben Lee To Two-Way Deal, Waive Duane Washington

5:58pm: Lee’s two-way deal and Washington’s release are now official, the Suns announced (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

2:47pm: After signing Saben Lee to a pair of 10-day contracts, the Suns are making a move to ensure that he sticks with the team. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Phoenix has agreed to sign Lee to a two-way contract and will waive current two-way player Duane Washington Jr. to open up a spot.

The 38th overall pick in the 2020 draft, Lee played for the Pistons during his first two years in the NBA, then spent time earlier this season on a two-way deal with Philadelphia before being cut in December. Over the course of his first 20 days in Phoenix, he averaged 7.0 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per night in 10 games (17.3 MPG), with a shooting line of .455/.500/.774.

After a player signs two 10-day contracts with the same team, he’s ineligible to sign a third, so if the Suns wanted to retain Lee, a rest-of-season commitment was necessary. Phoenix has an opening on its 15-man roster, but chose instead to use one of its two-way slots on Lee — he’s still eligible to be a two-way player since he’s only in his third NBA season.

It’s not surprising that the Suns would choose to avoid locking in a 15th man with the trade deadline just eight days away, since they’ll have more roster flexibility at the deadline this way. Still, waiving Washington to make room for Lee likely wasn’t an easy call.

Washington has had several strong outings for the Suns in his second NBA season, including four games of 21 points or more. In total, he averaged 7.9 PPG and 2.0 APG in 31 games (12.7 MPG) while making 36.0% of his three-point attempts. Assuming he clears waivers, he could certainly draw some interest from other NBA teams.

Forward Ish Wainright occupies Phoenix’s other two-way slot.

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