Has T.J. Warren played his last game with the Phoenix Suns?

T.J. Warren Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)
T.J. Warren Phoenix Suns (Photo by Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images) /

With only six games remaining in the Phoenix Suns’ miserable 2018-19 season, it appears the T.J. Warren has played in his final game with the franchise.

When T.J. Warren left the court after playing only 16:05 in a 27-point loss vs the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 22, nobody outside of the organization really thought much of it.

Warren attempted only two field goals, making them both, but as the Suns were in the midst of another blow out (their 5th of 17 consecutive losses) and there was no obvious moment of injury, it never dawned on anyone that that might not suit up for the rest of the season.

It was only recently stated that it is a deep bone bruise which has afflicted him, although it has now been over two months since his last appearance, and while interim General Manager James Jones has said that Warren would not be shut down and that they would like him back on the court sometime before the end of the season, with only six games remaining, that seems highly unlikely.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns /

Phoenix Suns

And should Warren not don his Phoenix threads again in 2018-19, it’s only reasonable to question if he will never wear them again.

One has to wonder if his 43 appearances this season, combined with his reasonable contract, is enough to have built up trade value that will suit Phoenix this offseason in their presumed search for either a point guard and/or a power forward.

The emergence of Kelly Oubre has certainly made Warren that much more expendable for Phoenix when taken into consideration Oubre’s younger age (by two years), much more infectious personality (this is no mark on Warren but he hardly brings a level of excitement to any game with his personality), and tough defensive game, makes him a valuable commodity that the Suns should eagerly look to re-sign.

Certainly should the Suns be unable to retain Oubre in restricted free agency they then might look to keep Warren around, and while it would make sense for Sarver to foolishly let Oubre go rather than pay him, that result still seems highly unlikely.

At this moment, it just appears that the next time Suns fans see T.J. Warren plays a game live in Phoenix, he will be a visitor on a team traded to in the offseason, welcomed back heartily, but once the ball goes up, vigorously rooted against.

Warren’s time in Phoenix was short, but his mark indelible. He worked hard, played hard, improved his game every season, dramatically improved his 3-point shooting making him a huge threat from the outside (he shot 42.8% this season, and had made a 3 in 14 consecutive games prior to his final outing, and 20 of his last 21), and was never one to publicly complain, to whine about the losing, to point fingers in any direction, but rather take his professionalism as a mark of pride playing the game the right way.

Entering this season, even before we knew of his pronounced 3-point shooting improvement, he was considered by many a cornerstone player, the exact kind of guy that winning teams need, a hard-notes scorer who can be counted on to put the ball in the bucket whenever called upon.

His ability too to come off the bench playing multiple positions, perceptively made him even more valuable, adding depth that the roster so desperately needed.

While Josh Jackson‘s lack of growth this offseason relegated him to the bench (when he was the presumed starting small forward) which hurt the Suns’ potential to bring Warren off the bench, he could still fulfill either role for a winning team in the future, with many years ahead of him to prove his value.

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Should T.J. Warren truly be done with the Phoenix Suns, he will certainly be missed, and fans just have to hope that who or whatever is acquired via his departure is part of the puzzle that when put in place finally makes this franchise a winner once again.

He may not have been able to help make this team a winner while with Phoenix, but he certainly could still help them become one this offseason.