After flying high not very long ago, Dion Waiters’ stock has never been lower after he was traded from Miami to the Grizzlies and then cut a few days later. Waiters is exactly the reclamation project the Phoenix Suns should look for.
After recently turning 28 years old, Dion Waiters should be at the prime of his basketball life. Instead, as of Sunday, he is unemployed, even while he will be cashing checks from the Memphis Grizzlies for the next season and change. The Phoenix Suns may want to consider his services.
After moving on from another former Heat combo guard on Sunday in Tyler Johnson, the Phoenix Suns have an open roster spot for the first time this season. With the trade deadline having just passed, there are more than a few names that could be interesting.
The one that caught my attention the most was Waiters. That is because he is the best and most proven of the players cut, and is not on a team because of actions that did not take place on the court. Firstly though, the Suns would have to wait for him to clear waivers so that his current contract will not come attached with him.
The biggest concern that comes with Dion is his off-the-court actions and the impact it might have on the team. I would not have recommended cutting a great locker room presence like Tyler Johnson to bring in Waiters, however the hard part is already over.
The Phoenix Suns should be built to handle a reclamation project. Ricky Rubio and Monty Williams both signed, long, lucrative contracts this past summer due in part to their leadership abilities both on and off the court. While the Heat are known for having great culture, it could be like with the Patriots in the NFL in that it is not for everyone and he just needs to be somewhere else.
A lot of times, a player’s frustrations with a team stems from either a lack of playing time or a lack of winning. With the Heat, they were doing plenty of winning, which makes it likely part of Dion’s frustration was from a lack of playing time, something the Phoenix Suns can offer.
Waiters offers a lot of what the Suns lack coming off the bench. If nothing else, Waiters is an accomplished scorer who can knock down 3’s. With four point guards on the roster in addition to Devin Booker, the Suns do not lack creation, but they need more guys who can finish plays like Waiters.
Waiters has never been a good defender and has taken a step back after recent injuries. Then again, it is not as though many of the Suns guards are world class defenders in their own rights. The issues with bringing in Waiters lie either with locker room troubles he might cause or the possibility that he is too expensive to bring in.
While Dion comes with some risk, it is not so immense that a team in the Phoenix Suns’ position should be avoiding it. If he does not want to sign, he simply won’t, and if he starts to cause problems before the season ends, simply release him.
If things start to click for Waiters again, the Phoenix Suns would have an up-close look while putting themselves in a position add a cheap contributor in an area of need for the future.