The Phoenix Suns announced on Tuesday that they have waived point guard Ish Smith, effectively making him a free agent. The acquisition of former Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas combined with the drafting of Syracuse product Tyler Ennis made this move expected.
“We thank Ish Smith for his contributions to the Suns,” president of basketball operations Lon Babby said in a statement. “He played with an infectious joy. We wish him well.”
As I wrote in a follow-up bit to the Thomas sign-and-trade, Smith’s value in changing the pace for the Suns’ second unit very well could have pushed the team to acquire a speedy point guard like Thomas. Smith averaged 3.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, but his impact was more impressive by way of the eye test than the numbers.
Smith, a likable locker room presence, joined the Suns last summer in a trade that sent Caron Butler to the Milwaukee Bucks. Slava Kravtsov and Smith came back to Phoenix in the exchange that helped the Suns save a good deal of money expected to be paid to Butler.
Smith’s non-guaranteed salary of $992,435 is now officially off the books, and the roster is officially down to 11 players under guaranteed deals, not including Eric Bledsoe (still a free agent), Dionte Christmas (non-guaranteed) and Shavlik Randolph (non-guaranteed).
Where Smith lands will be quite interesting. While his individual scoring may be a liability to some degree, he did help his value last season by logging extensive minutes and proving capable of helping a team that won 48 games. Smith might have gotten the least amount of credit on the defensive end, where his ability to press and pressure opposing point guards added to his total package.