Isaiah Canaan

Suns To Guarantee Isaiah Canaan’s Contract

The Suns have guaranteed point guard Isaiah Canaan‘s contract for the rest of the season, tweets Scott Bordow of Arizona Central Sports.

Canaan, 26, is dealing with a left adductor strain that sidelined him for Phoenix’s last game. In 10 games for the Suns this season, the former second-round has averaged 10.0 PPG and 4.9 APG in 23.2 minutes per night.

Canaan was originally signed using the Suns’ hardship exception due to four players being out with injuries  Last month, the Suns elected to keep Canaan over Mike James, who the team waived in favor the fifth-year guard. He was signed to a minimum deal after James’ release but did not see his contract guaranteed until today.

Suns Notes: Canaan, Booker, James, Monroe

Isaiah Canaan‘s playmaking and defense helped him win a roster spot in Phoenix, writes Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic. After joining the Suns when they were granted a hardship exception 10 days ago, Canaan has been rewarded with a contract for the rest of the season.

“I wasn’t caught up in how many days and how long I might be around here,” he said. “Make a splash and showcase what I can do. I was going to come in, do what I knew I was capable of doing and what I needed to do to stay around.”

Canaan earned the nod over incumbent starting point guard Mike James, who was waived Friday. The Suns see Canaan as more of a natural point guard than James, Bordow explains, and were happy with how he ran the offense. He also exhibited a willingness to fight through screen-and-rolls and helped Phoenix hold its opponents under 100 points twice in his first four games with the team.

There’s more tonight out of Phoenix:

  • The Suns expect Devin Booker back in the lineup Tuesday, Bordow relays in the same story. That will mark exactly three weeks since he suffered a left adductor strain. Booker will participate in Sunday’s practice, then will be medically evaluated to see how he responds. “He’s moving well, but it’s a tough situation because I’m not one of the guys that’s going to make the decision on that,” coach Jay Triano said. “And I think we’re going to be cautious more than anything else. With where we are and where he in this franchise history, I think it makes sense to be cautious.”
  • With Booker returning soon and rookie guard Davon Reed expected back around the first of the year, the Suns chose to waive a player from their backcourt rather than seek a buyout with Greg Monroe, Bordow adds. Monroe sat out three straight games before playing 27 minutes Thursday, but was back on the bench tonight. However, Triano wants to keep him around for depth so Tyson Chandler won’t have to play on back-to-back nights.
  • Monroe hasn’t given up hope of returning to the rotation and has played pretty well when given the chance, Bordow notes in a separate piece. He is averaging 11.2 points and 8.3 rebounds and is shooting better than 60% from the field in 11 games since being acquired from Milwaukee. “I want to play,” Monroe said. “But I’m just trying to control what I can. That’s all I focus on. But it definitely is hard. I’d definitely like to be playing consistently.”

Suns Sign Isaiah Canaan For Remainder Of Season

The Suns have signed point guard Isaiah Canaan to a minimum deal for the remainder of the 2017/18 season, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (via Twitter).

Canaan was originally signed using the Suns’ hardship exception due to four players being out with injuries. In four games since joining the Suns, the 26-year-old has averaged 13.0 PPG and 5.0 APG. Earlier this week, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough said that Canaan’s performance earned him a longer look, possibly for the rest of the season.

“I think with what Isaiah’s done, we should plan on having him in Phoenix for the rest of the year, if not longer,” McDonough said (via Arizona Sports).

Phoenix waived Mike James — who had his two-way deal converted to an NBA deal — yesterday despite the 27-year-old rookie’s own success this season. In 32 games (10 starts), James averaged 10.4 PPG and 3.8 APG. Canaan — despite having played for five teams in five seasons — is still younger than the rookie James and the Suns elected to go with the younger, more experienced player.

Mike James Waived By Suns

The Suns have waived guard Mike James, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets. The 27-year-old rookie had initially been signed to a two-way contract with the franchise but had that deal converted into a regular season contract.

The decision was likely a difficult one for the organization to make, considering that James had thrived on a young team that found stability in the mature first-year player. We discussed on Wednesday, however, that such a decision may have been looming for the franchise.

With four players sidelined due to injury, the team had recently been granted a hardship exception and used it on December 13 to sign journeyman point guard Isaiah Canaan. Canaan’s play in the four games since has essentially forced the team’s hand.

In four matchups this season, playing 25.0 minutes a night, Canaan has averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. While James’ numbers were respectable in their own right, Canaan may have the higher ceiling, not least because despite being a five-year veteran, he’s still actually younger than James.

James, who went undrafted in 2012, will now turn his attention to finding a new home, a task that may be a bit easier now that he has a quarter of a season of big league games under his belt.

McDonough: Isaiah Canaan Likely To Stick With Suns

After a pair of impressive performances for the Suns, point guard Isaiah Canaan has likely earned a spot on the roster going forward, general manager Ryan McDonough confirmed today during a radio appearance, per Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

Canaan, who signed with Phoenix last week, has played in two games so far, and has a major impact in both contests. On Saturday, he posted 15 points, seven assists, and five rebounds in a win over the Timberwolves. Two days later, he put up 17 points, six assists, four rebounds, and three steals to help the Suns beat the Mavericks.

Because Canaan was signed using a hardship exception, the Suns will have to trade or waive another player if they intend to keep him when one of their injured players (likely Devin Booker) returns. I covered this topic in detail earlier today, suggesting that Mike James, who recently had his two-way contract converted into a standard NBA deal, may be in danger if Canaan sticks around.

However, Bordow suggests that retaining Canaan may instead force the Suns to finally clear their logjam at center, where Greg Monroe, Tyson Chandler, and Alex Len are all vying for minutes. If the team goes in that direction, Monroe would probably be the odd man out, Bordow tweets.

With a decision due soon and no leverage to speak of, the Suns will find it difficult to trade Monroe, so it will be interesting to see if the club is willing to waive him outright. He has been very productive since coming over from Milwaukee, but hasn’t played in three of Phoenix’s last four games, with Chandler and Len splitting the minutes at the five.

Another Roster Decision Looming For Suns?

It was just a couple weeks ago that the Suns were forced to make a roster decision — in order to make room on their 15-man squad to convert Mike James‘ two-way contract into a standard NBA deal, the team had to trade or waive another player. Ultimately, Phoenix opted to waive Derrick Jones to open up that roster spot.

In that case, the Suns’ decision was fairly simple — Jones’ salary was non-guaranteed and he had only appeared briefly in six games all season. He didn’t have a key role in Phoenix, and his upside wasn’t so substantial that he was a crucial part of the team’s long-term plans. It made sense that he’d be the man out.

Now though, another roster decision may be approaching for the Suns, and this one may not be quite as simple.

With four players on the shelf due to injuries, the Suns were recently granted a hardship exception, giving them an extra roster spot, and used it to sign point guard Isaiah Canaan. Since joining the club, Canaan has played a crucial role in a pair of Suns wins, averaging an impressive 16.0 PPG with 6.5 APG and a .600/.600/.917 shooting line in his two games.

Obviously, that sample size is extremely small. It’s entirely possible that Canaan will struggle in his next couple games and the Suns will simply opt to let him go when their hardship exception expires and Booker – or another player – is ready to return. Still, Canaan is making a strong case for a permanent spot on the roster, and if he keeps it up, the Suns would have to trade or waive another player to get back down to 15 players.

Players with modest salaries or non-guaranteed contracts are generally the most vulnerable in this sort of situation, but after waiving Jones, Phoenix doesn’t have any other players on non-guaranteed deals. And most of the team’s lowest-paid players are promising youngsters that the club wouldn’t want to waive — that list includes Davon Reed, Tyler Ulis, Booker, Marquese Chriss, T.J. Warren, Troy Daniels, Alex Len, Dragan Bender, and Josh Jackson, in ascending salary order.

The Suns’ roster also features high-priced veterans like Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Tyson Chandler, and Jared Dudley, plus injured big man Alan Williams, whose $6MM salary puts him squarely between the pricier vets and the inexpensive young players. Knight, Chandler, and Dudley all have significant guarantees beyond this season, Monroe has been playing too well to simply be cut, and waiving Williams – who has yet to play a single game since signing a three-year deal in the offseason, doesn’t seem logical either.

So who’s left? Only James, whose minutes have been significantly reduced during the past two games since Canaan arrived.

Since the Suns won’t have much leverage to push for a trade in the coming days, waiving a player seems more likely. Phoenix’s decision might ultimately come down to the point guard whose impressive play on a two-way deal earned him a full-fledged roster spot earlier this month vs. the point guard who has had only played two games (albeit two very good games) for the team so far. We may soon find out whether Canaan has made a strong enough impression to win that battle.

Pacific Notes: Curry, Wilson, Williams, Lakers

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry suffered a sprained right ankle earlier this month, but a medical reevaluation on Tuesday revealed he has made significant progress in his recovery, the team announced. Curry is scheduled to begin modified on-court workouts in the coming days and will be reevaluated in a week, the press release noted.

The Warriors have played well in Curry’s absence, winning all five games since he suffered the injury. Even without their former two-time NBA Most Valuable Player award recipient, the Warriors remain a potent threat, led by the likes of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. However, replacing Curry’s production in the lineup is no small feat. In 23 games this season, Curry has averaged 26.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 5.1 RPG.

Read up on other news out of the Pacific Division below:

  • A pair of two-way deals with Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams didn’t seem like major moves at the time of their signings, but both men have played considerable roles for the Clippers, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Two-way players are not permitted to spend more than 45 days with the NBA team but both Wilson and Williams have been burning through those days, providing an impact for a struggling Clippers team.
  • While Wilson has been impressive for the Clippers, he could be on the chopping block by the end of the week as the Clippers may elect to sign a new two-way player once his 45 days are up, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).
  • The Lakers elected to go in a completely new direction last season and Kobe Bryants former agent turned general manager, Rob Pelinka, was at the forefront of that change. With young talent in abundance and ample resources, Pelinka feels the team can soon lure the right players to the city of angels, USA TODAY’s Sam Amick writes. “We have as much cap flexibility, or cap health, as any team in the league. We know that this is a destination city for players to want to be in,” Pelinka said. “We have a legacy with our franchise that really can’t be duplicated, and we’ve got a pass-first, ball-sharing point guard (in Lonzo Ball), which players want to play with. So I think the culmination of all those forces is, like you said, we feel like we’ve become a destination again. Now it’s going to be Magic’s job, and my job with Jeanie’s guidance to complete the puzzle with the right pieces as we move forward.”
  • Isaiah Canaan has been a revelation for the Suns in Devin Booker‘s absence, but the team would need to create a roster spot for him once Booker returns, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter).

Suns Sign Isaiah Canaan To NBA Deal

2:59pm: Suns GM Ryan McDonough has confirmed the signing, indicating that Canaan will be in uniform and available to play for the club tonight, per Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).

1:04pm: One day after landing with the Suns’ G League affiliate, Isaiah Canaan appears poised to be called up to Phoenix. As Shams Charania of The Vertical reports (via Twitter), the Suns intend to sign Canaan to an NBA contract.

[RELATED: Isaiah Canaan joins Suns’ G League affiliate]

The Suns, who had to waive Derrick Jones last week to accommodate a standard NBA deal for Mike James, won’t have to make a corresponding roster move to add Canaan to their roster. According to Charania, the veteran guard will join the Suns via a hardship exception, which will allow the squad to temporarily add a 16th player to its NBA roster.

A team can be granted a hardship exception when it has at least four players who have missed three or more games, assuming those four players are expected to continue to miss time. In Phoenix’s case, Brandon Knight, Davon Reed, and Alan Williams have been sidelined all season, and Devin Booker missed his third straight game on Tuesday. Booker is expected to miss at least another week or two with a left adductor strain.

Canaan, 26, began his NBA career with the Rockets in 2013/14, and has since bounced around the league, spending time with the Sixers and Bulls before briefly returning to Houston this season. Canaan signed with the Rockets in October after Chris Paul was sidelined with a knee issue, but he was waived just four days later.

A Murray State alum, Canaan has appeared in 186 regular season NBA games, averaging 8.4 PPG in 20.2 minutes per contest. He signed a G League contract this week and was claimed by the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, who subsequently traded him to the Northern Arizona Suns. If Phoenix cuts Canaan when Booker returns, Northern Arizona will retain his G League rights.

Isaiah Canaan Joins Suns’ G League Affiliate

Veteran guard Isaiah Canaan has landed with the Suns’ G League affiliate, the team announced today in a press release. After Canaan signed a G League contract, he was claimed off waivers by the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, who flipped him to the Northern Arizona Suns for a first-round pick in the 2018 G League draft.

Canaan, 26, began his NBA career with the Rockets in 2013/14, and has since bounced around the league, spending time with the Sixers and Bulls before briefly returning to Houston this season. Canaan signed with the Rockets in October after Chris Paul was sidelined with a knee issue, but he was waived just four days later.

A Murray State alum, Canaan has appeared in 186 regular season NBA games, averaging 8.4 PPG in 20.2 minutes per contest.

While Canaan doesn’t currently have an NBA contract or even a two-way deal, he finds himself in an interesting spot. With Eric Bledsoe having been traded last month and Brandon Knight out for the season, the Suns have been leaning on Tyler Ulis and Mike James at the point this year. Neither player is viewed as the cornerstone point guard in Phoenix, so if the team likes what it sees from Canaan in the G League, he could become a candidate for a call-up later in the season.

Free agent forward Derrick Jones has also joined the Northern Arizona Suns after being waived last week by Phoenix, tweets Brian M. Bergner Jr. of The Daily Courier. Jones spent time on assignment in Northern Arizona when he was under contract with Phoenix, but now will be on a straight G League deal as he seeks another NBA opportunity.

Southwest Notes: Parsons, Canaan, Brown, Curry

Chandler Parsons may have won over Grizzlies fans with his 24-point performance in Saturday’s win over Houston, writes Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal. Beset by injuries and disappointing numbers since signing with Memphis in the summer of 2016, Parsons was being being booed on his home court as recently as last week.

“Tonight was just a night that we finally got to see Chandler,” Mike Conley said of Parsons, who has undergone three knee surgeries over the past three years. “He could finally be himself, be happy, be animated and just have the energy that we know he is capable of playing with. Will he do it every night? Who knows. But we will definitely take it.”

There’s more from the Southwest Division:

  • Trevor Ariza‘s unexpected return from injury made Isaiah Canaan expendable, relays Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. The Rockets made the surprising decision to waive Canaan on Saturday, just four days after he was signed. Coach Mike D’Antoni explained that the team expected Ariza to be sidelined three to four weeks with a sprained left foot, but he recovered in a matter of days. “We’re disappointed because I know Isaiah was really excited about getting back with the Rockets,” said Mark Bartelstein, Canaan’s agent. “When they got the perimeter play of Trevor back, Daryl [Morey], the Rockets general manager called and said ‘I don’t think there’s enough minutes for us to just justify using up our cap flexibility.’ While we’re disappointed, we understand it. If there’s not an opportunity for Isaiah to play, they’re so tight up against it, it put them in a tough situation. They want to stay in close contact where if something were to happen with the roster and they have a need, I know he’s the first guy they’ll look at.”
  • The Rockets used Bobby Brown, rather than Canaan or Demetrius Jackson as their backup point guard in their last two games, Feigen writes in a separate piece. Jackson got the call after Chris Paul was hurt on opening night, but he has a two-way contract and is limited to 45 days in the NBA. The team wants to give him time to develop in the G League. Brown played just 25 games last season, but appears to be part of the rotation until Paul returns.
  • The prognosis for Mavericks guard Seth Curry remains week-to-week with a stress reaction in his left tibia, according to Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Curry has been forced to rest since October 7 and is projected to return in mid- to late November. “I started shooting a little the past couple weeks,” Curry said. “We’re trying to let it heal and slowly ramp up what I can do. I’m trying to test it out as much as I can and make some strides each week. I just can’t do a lot of pounding on it.”
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