Suns player makes shock decision to enter free agency

The Phoenix Suns need all the help they can get to fill out their roster, but one player is leaving early to test free agency this summer.
Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns
Atlanta Hawks v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have entered this offseason with not a lot of wiggle room to make their roster better, and the 22nd pick in this year's draft that the organization may not even use. The veteran's minimum is their only way to add players to their roster, and they have three stars who aren't going anywhere.

The franchise also have four players who have player options on their contracts, which gives them the choice to either pick up that option and come back next season, or else test free agency. Damion Lee is one of the four - but given he missed all of last season with a knee injury - it is highly likely he picks up that option to get some job and financial security ahead of next summer.

One player who won't be returning is backup center Drew Eubanks, who has declined his player option to hit the open market.

The news came as a surprise to some, especially as Eubanks had an underwhelming campaign in The Valley. One in which he averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 75 games (six starts), but whose limitations were obvious from early on in the season.

He wasn't physically imposing enough to bully other players, or quick enough to get around lumbering bigs, instead being stuck somewhere between the two. With starting center Jusuf Nurkic a physical but limited presence himself, it would have been nice to have a more athletic big come in and offer a different look each night.

Athleticism is a quality Eubanks does possess, but it wasn't seen very often while with the Suns. When it came to the postseason, he saw his minutes decrease from 15.6 to 12.3 and the massive Minnesota Timberwolves picked on him across what would become an embarrassing sweep. Was much of this the fault of Eubanks?

It wasn't, he did what he was supposed to do for this group. But despite being seen as a nice get last summer, the whole Eubanks experience was underwhelming. At this point this moment is still likely what he is most known for in the league. That and getting punched in the face by Isaiah Stewart.

Which is why it is surprising that he has decided to test the open market. Eubanks did little to prove he could help with a fringe contender, while rebuilding organizations are surely going to take a swing on a younger player with more upside. Eubanks still has a spot in the league and somebody will pick him up, but despite his flaws Phoenix looked like the best place for him.

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Nurkic isn't likely to remain as healthy this coming season, and new head coach Mike Budenholzer could have used him as a four with a bit more offensive responsibility. This is a partnership that should have worked for both, but failed to ever take off. Suns fans will move on from Eubanks quickly, and he will be able to as well once he has landed somewhere else.