Despite the Phoenix Suns’ power forward logjam being cleared up, moderately, with their recent trade of Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers, second-round draft pick Alex Oriakhi has elected to play overseas this season.
SunNGun.com reports Oriakhi, the 57th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, signed with Limoges CSP in France on Friday.
Oriakhi played in seven games with the Suns’ Las Vegas Summer League squad, averaging just 2.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. He played three years at Connecticut and his senior year at Missouri before being drafted by the Suns. His lone year with Missouri was his best college campaign: He averaged 11.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 64 percent from the field.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek appeared to favor Arinze Onuaku during the Summer League as a backup to Markieff and Marcus Morris. Onuaku, an undrafted Syracuse product, played more than twice as many minutes as Oriakhi.
With Oriakhi’s departure, the Suns still have 16 players competing for a roster spot — 17 if Onuaku is in the mix. The team acquired Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green in the Scola trade. One of those two players may get cut if Diante Garrett makes the final roster.
Markieff Morris and Channing Frye are expected to battle for the starting power forward spot this year. Markieff’s brother, Marcus, may also see some time at PF, as will Michael Beasley.
Oriakhi played center in college, but he wouldn’t have found playing time much easier for the Suns at that spot, since the team has Marcin Gortat, Plumlee and first-round draft pick Alex Len competing for minutes there.