Phoenix Suns: Where Ex-Suns Signed as Free Agents This Offseason

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Even if you spend just a few games playing for the Phoenix Suns, their ferocious and passionate fanbase will never forget about you. The “once a (team name)…always a (team name)” cliche absolutely applies to them as a franchise, doing so all the way across their 53-year history.

But more recently, some former Suns jumped onto new ships during the always entertaining NBA offseason. This includes both players who left the Valley just this year, as well as a few that made additional pitstops in between Phoenix and their new homes.

Where Did All Former Phoenix Suns Sign this Offseason?

Trevor Ariza – Los Angeles Lakers

As the most traded player in NBA history, it felt only right for Trevor Ariza to change teams once again during this year’s free agency period. Looking only to chase a second ring at 36-years-old, Ariza once again joined the Los Angeles Lakers, who he won it all with during the 2008-09 season.

Ariza last played with the Suns during the 2018-19 season, where he averaged 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. Phoenix traded him though halfway through the campaign though for Kelly Oubre Jr., who better fit into the team’s youth movement amidst their rebuild efforts.

Richaun Holmes – Sacramento Kings

Running with the Suns during the 2018-19 season, Richaun Holmes worked as a real grinder down low for Phoenix. Many wanted the Suns to make an attempt at bringing him back, but he re-signed with the Sacramento Kings not long after free agency opened up this year.

With Phoenix though, Holmes recorded 8.2 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. He threw down some backboard threatening dunks as well, presenting himself as an exciting and memorable player even with such little time on the team.

Kelly Oubre Jr. – Charlotte Hornets

Coming to the Valley via the same trade which sent Ariza packing, Kelly Oubre Jr. also made his presence known as a Sun throughout the 2018-19 season. He ended up playing one more year with the Phoenix after that, where he averaged a career-high 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Moved due to the Chris Paul trade, Oubre Jr. eventually made his way to the Golden State Warriors, where he often flashed his potential, but quite frankly looked like a bad fit with the team. This summer, he signed a two year, $26 million dollar deal to join LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets.

P.J. Tucker – Miami Heat

Unfortunately for Phoenix fans, their most recent glimpse of P.J. Tucker involved him hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy above their beloved Suns, having joined the Milwaukee Bucks midway through last year’s season to win a title. But before all that, Tucker played for the Suns from 2012-2017.

Appearing for a total 337 games in Phoenix threads, Tucker averaged 8.0 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. This summer though, he chose to sign with the Miami Heat under a two year, $15 million dollar contract.

Torrey Craig – Indiana Pacers

As a more recent and impactful player for the Suns, Torrey Craig’s choice to join a new team stings the most across this extensive “where are they now” catalogue. Averaging 7.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for Phoenix last year, Craig operated as a key glue guy off the bench, surely to go missed once the 2021-22 season tips off.

This summer, he signed a two year, $10 million dollar deal with the Indiana Pacers. Set to make more than just the veteran’s minimum for the first time during his career, Suns fans can at least feel happy that Craig finally got his bag.

Ish Smith – Charlotte Hornets

Before bouncing around to a six different teams, Ish Smith joined the Phoenix Suns, coming by way of Caron Butler’s trade to the Milwaukee Bucks. He suited up for 70 total contests with the team, but averaged a forgetful 3.7 points and 2.6 assists per game.

He most recently played with the Washington Wizards under a larger role, but chose to sign with his hometown Charlotte Hornets this offseason. Able to make up to $9.2 million dollars across two seasons, he joins fellow ex-Sun Kelly Oubre Jr. in Buzz City.

Alex Len – Sacramento Kings

The Suns spent the No. 5 overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft on Alex Len, but he failed to live up to the hype which follows most players taken that high. After five seasons with Phoenix where he averaged just 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, the Suns allowed him walk as a free agent.

Having played for the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors, and Washington Wizards from that point on, he continues to search for proper fitting in the NBA. This offseason though, he signed again with the Kings under a two year, $7.6 million dollar contract, hoping that retracing his steps will finally help him find some answers.

Robin Lopez – Orlando Magic

As another big who got his start running with the Suns, Phoenix selected Robin Lopez with the No. 15 overall pick during the 2008 NBA Draft. He played four seasons with the team, averaging 5.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks per game.

Marcin Gortat’s improved play eventually forced him into a backend rotation role, so he later left for the New Orleans Hornets during the 2012 offseason. Last year though, he averaged 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game with the Washington Wizards, choosing this offseason to sign with the Orlando Magic under a one year, $5 million dollar deal.

E’Twaun Moore – Orlando Magic

Also joining the Magic comes E’Twaun Moore, who played a small role for the Suns last year. As a 10-year veteran, Moore provides locker room leadership above all else at this point. But quite frankly, the Magic need that right now.

With Orlando, Moore joins his sixth NBA team, playing under a one year, veteran’s minimum contract.

Markieff Morris – Miami Heat

Markieff Morris reunites with P.J. Tucker down in South Beach this coming year, signing a one year, $2.3 million dollar deal with the Miami Heat. Morris and his brother played on the Suns for five years, and although it ended uglier than desired, he averaged a solid 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game during that stretch.

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The Heat vastly improved their roster this summer, so Morris now finds himself with an opportunity to chase a second NBA championship, having won with the Los Angeles Lakers two years ago. Expect him to play a minimal role though, as he averaged just 6.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest last season.