Aside from Robin Lopez, the Phoenix Suns have no other true center on the roster.
But the Suns may be able to fill that void if they can sway free agent center Erick Dampier to join Planet Orange when he visits Phoenix Thursday.
The Republic’s Paul Coro reported early Thursday morning that the 14-year veteran big man will meet with the Suns Thursday, although he has interest in Chicago, Houston and Toronto as well.
The Suns need someone to sure up their extremely thin front line, and the 6-foot-11 265-pound center is the best option out there.
Dampier and his $13 million expiring contract were dealt from Dallas to the Charlotte Bobcats in the trade that brought Tyson Chandler to the Mavericks.
The 35-year-old was then released by the Bobcats and is expected to see a bi-annual exception offer of around $2.08 million from the Suns, according to Coro.
“Phoenix is a really good team,” Dampier’s agent, Dan Fegan, told The Republic.
“He had a great year last year. The Suns lost a big man and need another big man. It’s a great team and a great place to live.”
Although he’s only averaged double figures in two seasons, he’s the epitome of a rebounder and interior defender — which is exactly what the Suns are missing.
He averaged 6.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks last season with the Mavs in 23.3 minutes per game. Dampier isn’t much of an offensive threat, although he’s shot over 60 percent in each of the last four seasons.
But the center’s main value comes defensively and on the boards. He has averaged over a block per game in 13 of his 14 seasons and is a giant step up from Dwayne Jones or Garret Siler. Dampier wouldn’t be able to play next to Robin Lopez, as neither offers a perimeter game.
He is the epitome of a backup center, however, and would offer great insurance for the Suns’ center of the future. It’s still too early to say whether or not Phoenix is his frontrunner, but Phoenix needs Dampier more than ever and Lon Babby and Lance Blanks will surely do their part in making a run at the big man.
Here are his career stats via ESPN: