Suns Rumors

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/11/18

As we detailed earlier today in a full story, the Knicks assigned veteran wing Courtney Lee to the G League to get in some minutes and improve his conditioning. Lee struggled a little with his shot for the Westchester Knicks on Tuesday night, scoring 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting (1-of-9 on threes).

Here are the rest of today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:


  • The Jazz assigned Grayson Allen and Georges Niang to the Salt Lake City Stars in advance of the team’s game tonight against Austin, the team announced in a press release.
  • Rookie point guard Elie Okobo was assigned to the G League today by the Suns, as Gina Mizell of The Athletic relays (via Twitter). Okobo, who has been in and out of Phoenix’s rotation this season, started at the point for Northern Arizona tonight.
  • The Bucks assigned D.J. Wilson to the G League in advance of the Wisconsin Herd’s two-game road trip this week, according to the club (Twitter link). A first-rounder in 2017, Wilson still isn’t part of Milwaukee’s rotation, having played just two games for the Bucks this season.
  • Sixers rookie Jonah Bolden was recalled from the G League this morning, then re-assigned several hours later, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter links). Bolden has averaged a double-double in four G League contests, posting 15.5 PPG and 12.3 RPG in Delaware.


  • After helping lead the Memphis Hustle to a Monday victory with 25 points and 10 boards, Ivan Rabb was recalled to the NBA today by the Grizzlies, according to the club (Twitter link).
  • The Hawks recalled Daniel Hamilton from Erie, as Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. Hamilton posted back-to-back double-doubles for the BayHawks during his latest G League stint.
  • 2018 first-round pick Troy Brown was recalled to the NBA by the Wizards, the team announced today (via Twitter). Brown has averaged 18.3 PPG on 47.5% in four NBAGL games this season.
  • The Pelicans have recalled Frank Jackson from the G League, per a team press release. New Orleans doesn’t have its own affiliate, so Jackson had been with the Texas Legends, Dallas’ NBAGL squad.
  • The Bucks recalled Christian Wood from the Wisconsin Herd today, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Wood has appeared sparingly in just six games for Milwaukee in 2018/19.

Pacific Notes: Durant, Green, Ariza, Fultz

Everything appears to be back to normal with the Warriors after last month’s altercation between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, writes Shams Charania of The Athletic. Green returned from a sprained right toe last night, giving the team a healthy lineup for the first time in weeks, not counting free agent addition DeMarcus Cousins, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury. The Warriors have climbed back near the top spot in the West with a 19-9 record and looked poised to re-establish themselves as the league’s best team.

More importantly, any fears that disharmony might tear the team apart seem to have passed. Warriors officials gave Durant “plenty of space” after the Nov. 12 incident and the situation appears to have been resolved.

“People I lean on told me to stay centerfield with my thoughts and my feelings,” Durant said. “I received so many people reaching out; my former coaches saying to stay centered, stay measured, stay pushing forward and keeping my foot on the gas. At that time, we were losing games, and people were banged up, so it’s easy to go the other way when you’re searching for answers. It was about staying positive and going to work.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Green, who missed nearly a month of action, was often frustrated as the Warriors‘ medical staff opted to be cautious with his injury, but he tells Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that it was the right decision. “Overall, it was good for me not to rush it,” Green said. “I was starting to question the plan, but I tried it my way the first time and came back premature. I forced myself to trust their expertise because the main goal was getting me back healthy.”
  • The Lakers are trying to work out a three-team trade to acquire Trevor Ariza from the Suns, and Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype believes he would be a valuable addition in L.A. In addition to his defense and 3-point shooting, Ariza is one of the league’s best players at finishing in transition. He averaged 1.31 points per possession in transition with the Rockets last season, placing him ninth among players with at least 100 transition possessions.
  • There has been speculation that the Suns might be willing to take a chance on Markelle Fultz, but John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 doesn’t expect it to happen (Twitter link). He states that Phoenix has no interest in taking on “any issues” that the second-year Sixers guard has.

Suns Sign Eric Moreland

8:15pm: The Suns have officially announced their new deal with Moreland.

12:26pm: The Suns are in the process of finalizing a contract agreement with free agent big man Eric Moreland, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The Suns have been carrying just 13 players on their NBA roster after buying out Tyson Chandler and waiving Isaiah Canaan earlier this season. As I noted last week, the team has until this Wednesday (December 12) to get back to 14 players, the league-mandated minimum.

Assuming Moreland and the Suns finalize their agreement, he’ll be the second player to join the club in recent days — Phoenix signed Jawun Evans to a two-way contract on Friday.

Moreland, who will turn 27 later this month, was leaned on as a rotation piece in Detroit last season after only playing sparingly for the Kings in two seasons earlier in his NBA career. In 2017/18, the forward/center averaged 2.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG in 67 contests (12.0 MPG) for the Pistons, emerging as a solid frontcourt option after Jon Leuer went down with an injury.

Waived by the Pistons in July before his salary for 2018/19 could become fully guaranteed, Moreland caught on with the Raptors for training camp, but didn’t earn a spot on Toronto’s regular season roster. He participated in the latest round of World Cup qualifiers, helping Team USA clinch a berth in next year’s event, but has otherwise been a free agent this fall.

Suns Notes: Warren, Jackson, Ayton, Booker

The Suns are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak and have dropped 11 of their last 12, as their offense struggles immensely without top scorers Devin Booker and T.J. Warren in the lineup. Phoenix has cracked the 100-point mark just once in its last six games and has posted nine-point first quarters twice during that stretch.

However, while Booker’s return still isn’t imminent, the team will get some added firepower this week, with Warren poised to return to the lineup on Monday, as Bob Young of The Athletic details.

“We’re missing him and Book, our two leading scorers,” Jamal Crawford said. “When you have those guys, it kind of settles everybody else down. (Warren) is somebody who helps give the team that swagger, for sure. Offense has been pretty hard to come by, but I think we’ll figure it out.”

Here’s more out of Phoenix:

  • Since entering the NBA in 2017, former fourth overall pick Josh Jackson has played for three different head coaches and two general managers. Speaking to Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer, Jackson said that he thinks the instability in Phoenix has had an effect on his play. “It would definitely be a lot better if we were more stable,” Jackson said recently. “I don’t think any other player in my class has gone through as much change within their team as I have. Since the moment I came into the league, it’s just been all about changes and adjustments, new coach after my second game of the season, like, c’mon now, really? That doesn’t happen.”
  • Addressing a heated postgame exchange with Devin Booker that took place after last Thursday’s loss to Portland, rookie center Deandre Ayton downplayed the incident, saying that he and Booker are “just two guys that want to win,” writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.
  • Earlier today, we relayed a couple other Suns-related news items, passing along word of the Suns’ contract talks with Eric Moreland and writing that at least eight teams have inquired on Trevor Ariza.

At Least Eight Teams Have Inquired On Ariza

Suns forward Trevor Ariza won’t officially become eligible to be traded until Saturday, but plenty of potential suitors are checking in now to inquire on his availability. According to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link), Phoenix has heard from “no less than eight teams” with interest in Ariza.

A report on Sunday indicated that the Lakers were looking to acquire Ariza – who is on a one-year, $15MM contract – and Gambadoro confirms that Los Angeles is indeed one of those clubs that has inquired. However, nothing is close at this point, per Gambadoro, who notes that the Suns aren’t interested in a package of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a bench player.

Of course, Sunday’s report on L.A.’s interest in Ariza indicated that the Lakers and Suns would have to find a third team to facilitate a deal anyway, since KCP likely wouldn’t have any more interest in joining the last-place Suns than they’d have in acquiring him. Caldwell-Pope has the ability to veto any trade he’s involved in, so he’d require a favorable landing spot if he’s dealt.

Whether they pursue a trade with the Lakers or another team, it seems the Suns will have a number of options with Ariza. Still, Gambadoro cautions (via Twitter) that he doesn’t believe Phoenix is all that interested in adding more projects to its roster — the team wants players that can contribute now.

That’s a somewhat odd stance for a team with an NBA-worst 4-22 record — even if Suns ownership, management, and fans may be tired of perpetually rebuilding, the time seems right to roll the dice on a high-upside “project.” But if Gambadoro’s intel is accurate, that would significantly reduce the odds of a Suns deal involving someone like Markelle Fultz.

Lakers Looking To Acquire Trevor Ariza

One of the worst-kept secrets around the league is the Suns‘ desire to trade Trevor Ariza, a valuable 3-and-D wing who can help a lot of potential playoff teams. Well, it appears the Lakers are the team at the front of the line, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Lakers are working hard to acquire Ariza in a potential three-team trade.

According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers and Suns have been working to reach an agreement with a third team that would take on Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as part of a potentially larger deal. It must be pointed out that Caldwell-Pope has veto power on any potential trade, but Wojnarowski also reports that the Lakers have shown a willingness to work with his agent, Rich Paul, if there’s a deal that might increase his role.

Meanwhile, the Suns are reportedly looking to land a playmaking guard and a draft asset as the price of unloading Ariza. Ultimately, Wojnarowski reports that the two teams have made progress on a potential deal, but also that no agreements are close and both teams remain active in multiple trade discussions throughout the league.

This will certainly be something to monitor as it could significantly impact the Western Conference playoff picture. Ariza and Caldwell-Pope both become trade-eligible on December 15.

Frustration Plaguing Suns After Blowout Losses

The Suns have been struggling through an extended rebuild for several years now, which has led to them piling up plenty of young players and prospects that have had to compete for playing time. First it was Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, now it appears to be Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson. As Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer writes, Bridges appears to have the edge moving forward as a result of the added shooting he can provide.

Bridges has impressed so far this season for the Suns while Jackson has only continued to disappoint, which has led to inconsistent playing time and opportunities for the sophomore wing. With shooting being emphasized all over the league, it’s no surprise that Bridges is getting more opportunities, especially considering that he has been solid on the defensive end for a rookie.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see how the playing time and opportunities play out on the wing for the Suns, especially as they will likely add another top prospect to the roster for next season.

  • As the lopsided losses continue to pile up for the Suns, frustration is mounting within the locker room. As Duane Rankin writes for Arizona Central, there have been numerous instances of friction and disconnect throughout the team, especially because the Suns were looking to be more competitive this season.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

Jonas Jerebko, Warriors, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.18MM deal in 2018
Jerebko has bounced around the league the last few seasons but he always stays within his role and provides solid contributions wherever he lands. He’s averaging 7.2 PPG while shooting a career-high 48.9% from the field in 19.8 MPG. He’s also helped on the boards (5.5 RPG). An above-average 3-point shooter, Jerebko shouldn’t have too much trouble finding another contender to sign him as their backup stretch four next summer. It could be Golden State if he’s willing to settle for the veteran’s minimum again.

Tobias Harris, Clippers, 26, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $64MM deal in 2015
When news leaked over the summer that Harris turned down an $80MM extension offer from the Clippers, many people wondered what Harris was thinking. He was willing to bet on himself that he could do even better as an unrestricted free agent and thus far, the odds have increased in his favor. Harris is posting career highs in several major categories, including scoring (21.0 PPG), shooting (50.8%) and rebounding (8.5 RPG) for one of the league’s surprise teams. When the superstars come off the board, Harris will be next in line for a big payday.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers, 25, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The previous Pistons regime declined to give Caldwell-Pope a multi-year extension. He wound up signing a pair of generous one-year contracts with the Lakers but he’s been reduced to backup duty. Most of the shots he’s taken have come from beyond the arc and he’s not particularly good at it (33% this season, 34.4% for his career). Caldwell-Pope doesn’t appear to have a future with the Lakers beyond this season and will have to take a pay cut to find work elsewhere.

Dragan Bender, Suns, 21, PF (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $13.4MM deal in 2016
When the Suns drafted Bender No. 4 overall in 2016, then traded with Sacramento for No. 8 selection Marquese Chriss, they seemingly resolved their power forward spot for years to come. Instead, they wound up with two of the biggest busts in that draft. Chriss was traded away to Houston during training camp while Bender is barely seeing the court in Phoenix. He’s appeared in eight games while averaging just 5.5 MPG. Bender needs a change of scenery but he’ll have to settle for a modest deal next year until he proves he’s a genuine NBA player.

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, 25, PF (Up)– Signed to a four-year, $15.35MM deal in 2015
The Kings have a lot of young bigs but Cauley-Stein has been a fixture in the lineup. He’s posting career highs at 14.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG while generally playing the same amount of minutes as last season. Cauley-Stein came into the league with a reputation of being a quality defender and he’s posted positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus ratings each season, according to Basketball-Reference. He’ll be a restricted free agent but might be one of the few who gets a substantial offer sheet, considering Sacramento will like choose to make Marvin Bagley III their main man in the middle.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Sign Jawun Evans To Two-Way Deal

5:55pm: The Suns have officially signed Evans, the team announced in a press release.

5:00pm: The Suns will sign guard Jawun Evans to a two-way contract, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets.

Evans has been playing for the team’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. The 6-foot Evans, 22, has appeared in 14 G League games this season, averaging 18.5 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 4.6 APG and 1.6 SPG in 30.4 MPG.

The Suns have been searching for a short-term solution at point guard with Devin Booker, who had been moved to the point in the starting lineup, nursing a hamstring injury.

Phoenix had an open two-way slot. George King, a shooting guard, has the other two-way deal.

The Clippers waived Evans in mid-October despite having a guaranteed contract worth approximately $1.378MM after they acquired swingman Wesley Johnson. Evans underwent sports hernia surgery last spring after appearing in 48 games with the Clippers as a rookie. He averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.1 APG in 16.2 MPG.

The Oklahoma State product was the 39th pick of the 2017 draft and was traded by the Sixers to the Clippers in a draft-night swap.

Pacific Notes: Ariza, James, Cauley-Stein, Ingram

Suns forward Trevor Ariza is viewed by teams as a player who will become available before the NBA’s Feb. 8 trading deadline, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported this week. However, Ariza rejected the idea upon hearing the rumors and explained his desire to stay in Phoenix, despite his team holding just a 4-20 record as of Thursday.

“I’m not one to get somewhere and then just duck out,” Ariza told Gina Mizell of The Athletic. “I’m one to be in it, regardless of whatever the situation is. Fight until the end. That’s the type of person that I am, and that’s what I expect.”

Of course, the Suns could always choose to move Ariza against his wishes if the right deal comes. He signed a one-year, $15MM deal to join the young team in free agency, entering a vastly different situation than what he had in Houston during the 2017/18 season.

“It gives you a different perspective,” Ariza told Mizell. “Although I love to win, sometimes you have to be the person that’s able to take these punches and be able to still get up. (I have to) teach the next generation, teach the younger players how to prepare, how to become better pros.

“Right now, that’s the situation that I’m in, so I’m not worried about it. I’m not crying about it. I’m very thankful for my position. The only thing I can do is hope that we get better every day.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division tonight:

  • LeBron James tuned out the noise surrounding him against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring 20 fourth-quarter points to propel the Lakers to victory. “I’m past the [taking things] personal stage,” James said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I can do whatever. I can have a huge workload, I can have a not so huge workload. … It doesn’t matter for me. What’s most important is seeing my teammates make huge shots in the fourth quarter. … That’s what’s most important to me. I can care less about the narrative about me. It doesn’t matter. I’m a staple in this game.”
  • Willie Cauley-Stein is proving his worth with the Kings this season, gunning for a bigger contract in free agency next summer, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Cauley-Stein is averaging a career-high 14.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, shooting 54% from the floor in 23 contests.
  • Lakers forward Brandon Ingram will miss at least two games after spraining his left ankle on Wednesday, according to McMenamin (Twitter link). Ingram didn’t travel with the team and is set to undergo a precautionary MRI Thursday evening. His status will be updated Friday morning.