Suns Rumors

Thunder Claim Jawun Evans Off Waivers

The Thunder have claimed point guard Jawun Evans off waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

This comes as a surprising development, as the Rockets were expected to claim Evans after the two-way player was waived by the Suns on Saturday. Oklahoma City, which has tumbled to sixth in the Western Conference standings, made a preemptive strike to prevent Evans from going to Houston. The Rockets are currently third in the West.

It’s a kind of homecoming for the 22-year-old Evans, who starred at Oklahoma State. He made seven brief appearances with Phoenix this season.

Oklahoma City had a two-way opening after converting Deonte Burton‘s two-way deal to a standard contract earlier this month. Two-way players are not eligible for the playoffs.

It’s unlikely Evans will get any significant playing time with Russell Westbrook, Dennis Schroder and Raymond Felton at point guard.

Houston was looking to fill a two-way slot after promoting Danuel House to its 15-man roster.

Evans spent a good portion of this season with Northern Arizona in the G League, posting a 15.1/3.8/5.8 line in 32 games.

The Clippers waived him in October just before the start of the regular season, although he had a guaranteed $1.378MM deal.

Fredette Grateful To Be Back; Kokoskov Not Worrying About His Future

  • Jimmer Fredette played four minutes and went scoreless in his return to the NBA last night and said he’s thankful to the Suns for giving him a chance, relays Cody Cunningham of NBA.com. I was just excited to get back out there and try to help the team in any way that I can,” Fredette said. “Obviously, it’s towards the end of the year. My job is to come in and try to keep these guys positive, be a veteran guy and go in there and try to be aggressive.”
  • First-year Suns coach Igor Kokoskov is staying focused on the end of the season instead of his shaky future with the team, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Despite having a three-year contract, Kokoskov isn’t certain to return after leading Phoenix to the worst record in the West.

Suns Waive Jawun Evans; Rockets Expected To Make Claim

4:57pm: Phoenix has waived Evans, tweets Gina Mizell of The Athletic.

4:17pm: The Suns will waive two-way player Jawun Evans, who already has interest from the Rockets, tweets Michael Scotto of The Athletic.

Evans signed a two-way deal with the Suns in December, but has only appeared in seven games for Phoenix, playing about nine minutes per night and averaging less than a point per game. He was much more productive with Northern Arizona, posting a 15.1/3.8/5.8 line in 32 games.

The second-year point guard had a promising rookie season with the Clippers, but couldn’t earn a spot on this year’s roster. He was waived in October just before the start of the regular season, although he had a guaranteed $1.378MM deal.

The Suns won’t be able to replace Evans because the deadline for signing two-way players has already passed. The G League season ends this weekend, and Northern Arizona won’t be in the playoffs.

Houston has a two-way slot open after promoting Danuel House to the 15-man roster. No move would be necessary before adding Evans, but the Rockets’ record puts them toward the back of the line for waiver claims, so it’s possible another organization could seize Evans. Teams will have 48 hours to submit claims once Evans is officially waived.

Kelly Oubre Out For Rest Of Season

MARCH 22: The Suns have officially announced that Oubre underwent a procedure on his sprained left thumb, ruling him out for approximately four to six weeks.

MARCH 21: Suns forward Kelly Oubre is set to undergo a minor procedure on his left thumb, which will sideline him for the rest of the 2018/19 season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). The regular season will end in less than three weeks, and Oubre’s recovery projects to take about four to six weeks, per Wojnarowski.

Oubre will be a restricted free agent this summer and should be fully recovered well before he’s eligible to sign a new deal in July. As Wojnarowski observes, the 23-year-old’s play since arriving in Phoenix has also helped raise his stock as he prepares to enter free agency.

In 40 games for the Suns, Oubre has averaged 16.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 1.4 SPG in 29.5 minutes per contest. Since entering the starting lineup after the All-Star break, he has boosted those numbers to 20.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.1 SPG with a .469/.343/.750 shooting line in 12 games.

The Suns will have the right of first refusal on Oubre this offseason, assuming they issue him a qualifying offer, so they’d have the ability to match any offer sheet he signs. While Phoenix’s small forward spot is somewhat overcrowded, Oubre – who was acquired earlier this season in the swap that sent Trevor Ariza to D.C. – looks like a potential keeper.

With Oubre sidelined down the stretch and T.J. Warren still on the shelf too, Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson should get the opportunity to play big minutes in Phoenix’s final 10 games.

Suns Sign Jimmer Fredette

MARCH 22: The Suns have made it official, announcing Fredette’s new deal today in a press release.

MARCH 21: The Suns have reached an agreement to sign former lottery pick Jimmer Fredette to a rest-of-season contract which will include a team option for 2019/20, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. Because Phoenix has an open spot on its 15-man roster, no corresponding move will be required to create an opening.

The move is not yet official, as Fredette still requires clearance after spending the 2018/19 season in the Chinese Basketball Association, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. That should happen soon.

Once Fredette officially finalizes his new deal with the Suns, he’ll be back in the NBA for the first time since the 2015/16 season, when he appeared in just six games for the Pelicans and Knicks. Since then, the 30-year-old guard has made a name for himself in China, where he has put up huge scoring numbers for the Shanghai Sharks. In 43 games this season, Fredette averaged a league-leading 36.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, and 2.6 SPG.

Although he never developed into a reliable rotation player in 235 games for the Kings, Bulls, Pelicans, and Knicks, the former BYU star has said that he feels as if he’d succeed if given another opportunity in the NBA. Given how often teams are launching three-point shots these days, Fredette’s outside touch should be an asset — he made 38.1% of his three-point attempts in his previous five NBA seasons.

“I definitely get that itch when I watch NBA games, I know that I can be out there,” Fredette told Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype in November. “They’re shooting so many three-pointers and so much of it has to do with space, movement and transition. During half-court sets, they’re looking to space and drive and shoot and that plays into my skill set so well. It’s absolutely my style. I see their offensive systems and everyone can use another shooter, another scorer.”

The Suns will now have a full 15-man roster, with all 15 players on guaranteed contracts. The exact terms of Fredette’s deal aren’t yet known, but if he signed for the minimum, his non-guaranteed 2019/20 option would be worth just shy of $2MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jamal Crawford Reflects On Challenging Season With Suns

  • Suns veteran Jamal Crawford reflected on his season in Phoenix, calling this year “the most challenging year by far on so many levels” of his NBA career. “This is a younger team and I’m having to lead more,” Crawford said, as relayed by Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. “I’m talking more than I ever have as well. Just different challenges.” Phoenix has the second-worst record in the league at 17-55, with Crawford stepping into more of a leadership role to help the team’s younger players.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/21/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

Kevin McHale, Jim Paxson Among Suns’ GM Candidates?

The Suns are still in the early stages of their search for a permanent general manager, but a couple names have emerged as potential options, per Marc Stein of The New York Times. According to Stein (via Twitter), Phoenix has spoken to Kevin McHale and also has interest in Jim Paxson.

McHale, who currently works as an analyst for TNT, was the head of basketball operations for more than a decade in Minnesota before he stepped down from that role to become the club’s head coach. He went on to coach the Rockets as well, holding that position until 2015.

The Wolves had a run of eight consecutive playoff appearances during McHale’s time in the front office, though the team advanced beyond the first round just once in that stretch. The club was also stripped of multiple first-round picks for agreeing to a cap-circumventing deal with Joe Smith during McHale’s stint in Minnesota.

As for Paxson, he currently serves as a Bulls consultant after previously working in management roles in Portland and Cleveland. He was the Cavaliers’ general manager from 1999 to 2005. During his time as GM, the Cavs didn’t earn a playoff spot, though adding LeBron James in 2003’s draft helped buoy the club to five consecutive postseason runs from 2006-10 after Paxson left the organization.

It’s now clear how serious Phoenix’s interest in McHale or Paxson is, or if that interest is reciprocated. While McHale and Paxson are the first names to emerge in the Suns’ search, the franchise will likely consider a number of other options.

James Jones and Trevor Bukstein have been Phoenix’s interim co-GMs since former GM Ryan McDonough was fired in October, a week before the season began. They’re expected to receive consideration in the team’s search for a permanent GM and could remain with the organization even if neither gets the full-time job.

Suns To Meet With Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer Fredette‘s next shot at the NBA might come in Phoenix. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports is reporting that Fredette will meet with the Suns tomorrow about the possibility of filling an open roster spot.

Fredette, 30, is available after his Shanghai Sharks were eliminated from the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs on Tuesday. He has been a star in China since leaving the NBA in 2016, and led the CBA in scoring this season at 36.9 points per game.

The 10th pick in the 2011 draft, Fredette played for four teams in five seasons and hasn’t been in the NBA since signing a 10-day deal with the Knicks three years ago. He was never more than a part-time player in the league, averaging 6.0 PPG in 235 games.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/15/19

Here are Friday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Spurs recalled rookie forward Chimezie Metu from the Austin Spurs, according to a team press release. In 23 games with Austin, Metu has averaged 14.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 1.5 BPG in 27.7 MPG. The second-round pick out of USC has played 28 games with San Antonio.
  • The Suns recalled rookie guard Elie Okobo from the Northern Arizona Suns, according to a team press release. Okobo is averaging 18.1 PPG, 7.4 APG and 4.7 RPG in nine G League appearances. Okobo is averaging 5.5 PPG and 2.5 APG in 17.8 MPG in 44 games with the Suns.