The Phoenix Suns had too many players to start the season. You have to have, at most, 15 players by the time the season rolls around. On Monday, October 23, the league requires that all teams get their rosters to 15 players.
The Suns started this at 17 but recently waived Ish Wainwright, who just signed with the Portland Trailblazers just a few days ago, and were at 16 afterward. Now, there is news that they will release their last player for that rule – to get to 15 for opening night on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors, for whom they will need their best collection of players.
Here is what the NBA insider of ESPN, Adrian Wojnarowski, tweeted out about the Phoenix Suns’ young guard they received in the Deandre Ayton trade:
"“The Phoenix Suns are planning to waive guard Keon Johnson to get the roster to 15 for opening night, sources tell ESPN. Johnson, 21, landed with Phoenix from Portland as part of the three-team trade with Milwaukee. He was the 21st overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.”"
We didn’t see much Johnson in the preseason, and what we saw certainly wasn’t impressive. I think most people saw him as being the last player that would be cut. It was either that or Bol Bol, who just barely made it with that last roster spot.
Johnson was part of the big Damian Lillard – Deandre Ayton Trade this offseason. The Suns got Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson for Ayton and Toumani Camara. The Suns got back quite a bit for Ayton, including Johnson, who they liked a lot.
However, and this happens all the time in the NBA, the Suns bench is just too deep with guys they absolutely love. So, they had to let someone go; it was just Johnson who happened to get the short end of the stick.