3 Players Phoenix Suns Should Sign with COVID-19 Hardship Exception

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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As the latest COVID-19 spike rampaged through almost every other NBA team during the past few weeks, much like a thunderous Deandre Ayton or JaVale McGee slam dunk, the Phoenix Suns somehow avoided it all, becoming one of just six teams to enter Christmas Day without any players subjected to league health and safety protocols.

But unfortunately, the boogeyman caught up to the Valley Boys this past Monday and changed everything.

Fresh off the heels of a disappointing loss to the Golden State Warriors, the pandemic kicked the Suns while they were down, sending starting forward Jae Crowder and backup guard Elfrid Payton into quarantine. A day later, Payton actually tested out, but Phoenix also lost Deandre Ayton and head coach Monty Williams just hours apart from each other.

It forced the Suns to play last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies notably short handed, missing Ayton, Crowder, and Williams alongside injured role players Frank Kaminsky, Abdel Nader, Ish Wainright, and Dario Saric.

But with so many teams having gone through what Phoenix now finds themselves dealing with, the league’s hardship exception recently became a popular way for teams to add “replacement” players to fill in for those stuck in protocols.

Under this exception, teams may sign new players and exceed the 15-man roster limit when others become injured or ill. Given the domino effect we saw occur with players going into protocols on other teams this season, it unfortunately feels likely that we will see more Suns go into quarantine as well, making this something for Phoenix to utilize.

As the lone negative coming from their previous ability to avoid entering protocols when everyone else did, not too many notable free agents exist for the Suns to strike a deal with at this point. But some diamonds in the rough certainly exist, such as these three options.