Keita Bates-Diop agrees on 2-year contract with Suns

Jun 30, 2023, 3:26 PM | Updated: 3:26 pm

Keita Bates-Diop...

San Antonio Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop (31) drives to the basket past Phoenix Suns forward Jalen Smith (10) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Forward Keita Bates-Diop, who played the past three years with the San Antonio Spurs, agreed to a two-year, $5 million minimum contract with the Phoenix Suns as NBA free agency opened Friday, his agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bates-Diop averaged 9.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.5 assists in his best pro season in 2022-23 with the San Antonio Spurs.

He was efficient as well, shooting 51% overall and 39% from three-point land in 20 minutes per game.

A second-round pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2018, the Ohio State product also spent part of his second season with the Denver Nuggets before landing with San Antonio in 2020.

At 6-foot-8 and 229 pounds, he joins rookie second-round pick Toumani Camara, Isaiah Todd and, reportedly, Josh Okogie as wing defenders. The Suns can also pursue a re-signing of starter Torrey Craig, who is an unrestricted free agent.

The Suns began the free agency period on Friday with nine players under contract: Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Deandre Ayton, Cam Payne, Jordan Goodwin, Wainright, Todd and Camara.

Due mostly to the max contracts owed to Beal, Booker, Durant and Ayton, Phoenix was restricted in how it could spend money.

While the Suns could re-sign free agents like center Jock Landale (restricted) and Craig (unrestricted) to larger-than-minimum deals, the team being over the second tax apron only left them veteran minimum deals to hand out to outside free agents.

With four max players all expected to start, the roster-building begins with who takes over the fifth starting spot.

Point guard Cam Payne, whose contract became fully guaranteed on Thursday, is among the candidates after Phoenix dealt Chris Paul away as the main money piece to acquire Beal earlier this month.

“Cam Payne will get a look, we’ll see what other free agents that we will sign and those answers will play out in camp,” first-year Suns head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Thursday.

“From a roster perspective, we’ll have a ton of qualified great players that can fill that fifth spot,” Suns president of baskteball operations and GM James Jones added. “But luckily for me, I don’t make those decisions. The players decide through competition and coach has to make that tough choice.”

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Keita Bates-Diop agrees on 2-year contract with Suns