The Phoenix Suns waived Tyler Johnson in a somewhat puzzling move Sunday, which frees up a roster spot for someone, anyone, to fill.
Ever since Tyler Johnson picked up his player option for $19.25 million this season, most people knew his time with the Phoenix Suns was limited. Johnson would be used as Booker’s overpaid backup, but there likely was no long-term plan that involved him.
There was good reason to think that large of an expiring contract would be great trade fodder for someone like Kevin Love, Andre Drummond, or Karl-Anthony Towns (okay, that was more of a pipe dream). However, perhaps partly due to his lack of strong play, there wasn’t a market for him and the trade deadline came and went without the Phoenix Suns doing anything.
Many folks like myself found that frustrating, but maybe sitting pat was the smart move. Keeping the expiring contract through the end of the season would free up that money to sign a big name free agent this summer.
Well, big-ish name, considering there isn’t a lot of big names entering free agency this time around.
But then, on Oscars night, Woj dropped the bomb that the Phoenix Suns have waived Tyler Johnson, a move that was downright puzzling.
Huge expiring contracts for sub-par players don’t do anyone any good if you waive that player and replace him with someone else on a different contract. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of planning in this move.
It feels like they wanted to trade him before the deadline, couldn’t, and then just said, “Oh well, he wasn’t playing that well anyway, just find someone better.”
If this speculation is remotely accurate, it does not bode well for fans’ confidence in this front office.
Then again, it all depends on what they do with this newly opened roster spot. Who is out there that may be worth adding once they clear waivers?
Isaiah Thomas is available again. Would the Suns considering bringing him back? I hope not.
The next most prominent name to be waived is Dion Waiters. Should the Suns make a run for him?
Who knows. Whoever they add will hopefully not be part of a multi-year deal so the Suns will still have that money available to spend this off-season. There likely isn’t anyone walking through the door that will revive the Suns’ playoff aspirations this year, but with this front office, expect the unexpected.