Tucker banished to Minnesota for cap purposes

Alando Tucker

Alando Tucker

I’m often asked on Daily Dime Live chats about what trade the Suns need to make to vault them to contender status.

This one isn’t it, but the Suns did save a few more dollars by jettisoning seldom-used guard Alando Tucker to Minnesota with a conditional second-rounder and cash for Jason Hart, whose non-guaranteed contract was immediately waived.

According to The Arizona Republic, Minnesota will get the Suns’ second-rounder if it’s not in the top 40 or Cleveland’s second-rounder from the Shaq deal if it is. Along with the Cleveland pick, the Suns also are owed Charlotte’s second-rounder from the J-Rich deal, so they are flush with second-rounders although Oklahoma City owns their first-rounder.

Phoenix will also pay Tucker’s $1.07 million contract and send the Wolves $100K, but they will save about a million.

“We want to thank Alando for his service to our organization,” Suns GM Steve Kerr said in a release. “He is a high-character person who has been a good teammate and a hard worker since arriving in Phoenix and we appreciate all of his efforts. We wish him well in Minnesota.”

This also ends the discussion on whether the Suns should keep Jarron Collins. The Suns traditionally only keep the the 13-player roster minimum, which is what they are down to after the trade. Collins was picked up as No. 14 when Robin Lopez was injured during the first month of the season and he has stayed on despite diminishing minutes upon Lopez’s return.

Collins essentially won a game in Houston with his size down the stretch and is an invaluable mentor to Lopez. He’s also the type of big who could go months without playing and then come up huge in a critical spot down the stretch.

At first glance, the Suns gave up a guy they’re not playing, a crappy second-rounder and a bit of cash to save a bit more cash. That in itself means this trade was inconsequential. Tucker’s option for next year has already been declined, so he’s been a lame duck whose biggest contributions have come through starring in Steve Nash’s video productions.

The deal is most meaningful in that it guarantees the Suns will keep Collins for the season, and unlike Tucker — a player stuck behind a glut of guards — Collins could come up useful when the interior-deficient Suns need it most.

Griffin back to Iowa

The Suns also announced that forward Taylor Griffin has been sent to Iowa for a 12-game stint.

Griffin averaged 13.5 points, 8.0 boards and 4.0 assists in a previous two-game run with the Energy.

This can only help Griffin’s development being that he only gets burn in Phoenix in the most lopsided of blowouts. A mix of NBA practice instruction and now D-League playing time should help Griffin improve greatly as a rookie.

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