Suns release guard Archie Goodwin, retain Jenkins and Jones Jr.
The Phoenix Suns chose guard John Jenkins’ shooting and undrafted rookie Derrick Jones Jr.’s defensive potential by releasing fourth-year guard Archie Goodwin just as his final year on his rookie contract was set to begin.
That was only part of the decision-making process.
General manager Ryan McDonough told Jon Bloom and Eddie House on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Suns preseason special Monday that it was a tough decision to cut the 22-year-old but a mutual one as well.
“Not that these decisions are ever easy,” McDonough said. “We felt like we got down to 16 really good, quality NBA players. Archie and his agents for the last few months asked us to accommodate a trade request.
“With that in mind, we told Archie and his agent we’d try to help him move to a team where he’d have an opportunity and play,” the general manager added. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to work out a deal. This time of a year, it’s hard.”
Earlier Monday, Goodwin tweeted out a thanks to the Suns after parting ways with the franchise.
Goodwin was set to become a restricted free agent after the 2016-17 season, assuming the Suns did not agree to an extension on his rookie deal before Oct. 31.
The move comes as the Suns reached a final decision on the final 15-man roster. It appeared Jenkins and Derrick Jones Jr. were battling out the final roster spot, but there is room for both with Goodwin off the roster.
McDonough said Jenkins’ shooting ability kept him in contention to remain on the roster.
“Derrick Jones Jr. kind of came out of nowhere and wowed us with his length and athleticism,” McDonough added.
Goodwin, the Suns’ 2013 first-round (29th overall) pick, averaged 8.9 points, 2.1 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game last season. The 22-year-old, however, shot 42 percent from the floor and in his third year of development had not made major improvements on his jump shot — his 23 percent shooting from three-point range reflected that.
Lacking an opportunity behind a deep backcourt that includes Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Devin Booker, Leandro Barbosa, Tyler Ulis and perhaps Jenkins, it appeared Goodwin was on the outside looking in in terms of making the Suns’ rotation. Phoenix will pay him the $2.1 million owed in the final year of his deal unless Goodwin is picked up off waivers.
Jenkins, 25, will be paid $1.1 million this upcoming season after averaging 4.1 points and shooting 31 percent from three during 43 games last season. He is a career 36-percent three-point shooter.
Jones, a 19-year-old who at UNLV only showed flashes of his potential as an athletic transition scorer and defender, is the biggest surprise to make the roster, though Phoenix signed him to training camp on a non-guaranteed deal that runs four years and starts at $543,471 this season, according to Basketball Insiders.
Suns pick up options on Booker, Warren
Phoenix also announced a day before NBA opening night that it had picked up the 2017-18 options on the rookie deals of second-year guard Devin Booker and third-year forward T.J. Warren.
Booker is coming off an First Team All-Rookie season in which he became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to reach the 1,000-point mark.
Warren averaged 12.5 points on 47 percent shooting in six preseason starts for the Suns after averaging 11 points and 3.1 rebounds last year before suffering a season-ending foot injury.
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