Suns beat out stiff competition to sign undrafted big to two-way deal

After taking two bigs in the 2024 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns have added another prospect to a two-way deal from Baylor.
Clemson v Baylor
Clemson v Baylor / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns ended up having much more involvement in the 2024 NBA Draft than most predicted. Armed with the 22nd pick, they managed to turn that into the 28th selection in a trade with the Denver Nuggets - taking the defensive-minded Ryan Dunn - as well as three future second rounders.

Two of those were then packaged together to move up in the second round, and take another big man in Iso Ighodaro. Although it is still unclear if both players will remain in The Valley - the Suns drafted and subsequently flipped Toumani Camara last summer - all indications so far are that these players will be staying.

The organization didn't stop there however, and moved quickly to secure the undrafted Jalen Bridges of Baylor as soon as the draft was completed.

The addition of Bridges on this roster makes a ton of sense for the Suns. With the organization now having a G League affiliate for the 2024-25 season - the Valley Suns - there is a place for Bridges to go down to and get some minutes. Playing on a roster with a former high lottery pick big man who has been out of the league for a while now may also be a beneficial experience for the player.

Bridges heading to Phoenix also puts even more pressure on starting center Jusuf Nurkic to continue to hold onto his spot on this team. Neither Bridges or Ighodaro are as big as Nurkic, and they aren't centers in the traditional sense. But it is that plodding big man type that the Suns need to move away from, and both Bridges and Ighodaro represent exactly that.

Bridges also appears to possess an ability to time his cuts from the weak side perfectly, landing in the paint unmarked for easy points. That skill alone isn't going to be enough to stick in Phoenix, but too often last season the lack of a point guard meant possessions turned into one of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal going to work to try and make something happen.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer needs young and selfless players to move without the ball to create the space for his stars - as well as gunners such as Grayson Allen - to operate. Bridges, much like the other draft selections, would appear to fit the bill in that regard. Another bouncy and athletic big man who can also give the Suns more juice on the defensive end.

Really though the signing of Bridges demonstrates a welcome change of pace from the Suns' front office. When Mat Ishbia bought the team, he jumped straight into the massive trade to acquire Durant. That was followed up by going after a name in Beal, even though he possessed one of the worst contracts in the history of the league.

dark. Next. Grade the trade: Suns fleece Nuggets in four-for-one deal. Grade the trade: Suns fleece Nuggets in four-for-one deal

All that lead to a postseason sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and so going back to the draft to add some young - and just as important inexpensive - talent seems like the way to go at this point. With a lack of depth and a frontcourt that was exposed in the playoffs, the Suns have tripled down on this position with the signing of Bridges to go with their pair of draft picks.