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

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Phoenix Suns, Mike James
Phoenix Suns, Mike James. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Replacement Player to Add: Mike James

Having run with the Suns during the 2017-18 season, even starting 10 games, Mike James needs to be on Phoenix’s radar should they lose more players this week.

The Suns eventually waived him partway through that earlier season, and he then played for the New Orleans Pelicans before they waived him as well. But then James went back overseas and tore things up, even averaging 21.1 points and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 42.0 percent from three during his 2019-20 season with CSKA Moscow.

That prompted the Brooklyn Nets to bring him back to the NBA last year, where he filled in remarkably during his few spurts off the bench, averaging 15.3 points per 36 minutes and shooting 35.5 percent from three.

Like the Suns this year, last year’s Nets represented a fast-moving team looking to win a championship, and James understood that, giving the team exactly what they needed while they dealt with their own injuries.

James even collaborated with veterans Blake Griffin, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant to complete arguably the league’s best play from the 2020-21 regular season. He also played 15.5 minutes per game during Brooklyn’s Eastern Conference Semifinals series vs the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging a solid 4.8 points per game.

Right now, James finds himself attached to another overseas contract, but the Nets still managed to acquire him last year all the same. With that, James Johnson could likely figure out a way to dissolve his latest contract and bring him to the desert if he pleases.

Doing so clearly makes sense though, as James possesses a history with the organization, a more recent history as a contributor to a playoff team, and all the skills needed to excel at the NBA level.