PHOENIX SUNS

Suns officially sign former Timberwolves point guard Monte Morris

Jul 5, 2024, 3:20 PM | Updated: 3:25 pm

T-Wolves point guard Monte Morris is joining the Phoenix Suns...

Monte Morris #23 of the Minnesota Timberwolves celebrates his three-point basket against the Golden State Warriors in the fourth quarter at Target Center on March 24, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Timberwolves defeated the Warriors 114-110. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns signed point guard Monte Morris to a veteran’s minimum contract, the team announced on Friday. It fills a need at point guard that was widely regarded as the biggest missing piece of the 2023-24 team.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported the news on Tuesday.

The Suns were limited to signing players on minimum deals due to second-apron restrictions placed on them by the NBA salary cap rules.

Morris last season played six games for the Detroit Pistons and then 27 for the Minnesota Timberwolves but never cemented a spot in the T-Wolves’ playoff rotation.

He averaged 5.1 points and 2.3 assists in 15.1 minutes per game with Minnesota.

In 2022-23, Morris played significant minutes for a struggling Washington Wizards team alongside current Suns guard Bradley Beal, averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 assists over 27.4 minutes per game. He spent his first five years developing into a reliable rotation player for the Denver Nuggets, and Morris started 74 games there in 2021-22.

The point guard is notably a career 39.1% three-point shooter who can playmake while limiting turnovers.

Why did the Suns target a point guard in NBA free agency?

The Suns were without a traditional point guard last season. Devin Booker and Bradley Beal served as the Suns’ floor generals more times than not, while starter Grayson Allen was often left to defend the opposing point guards.

NBA veteran Isaiah Thomas was brought in late for a seven-game run that included a playoff appearance, though he didn’t break into the rotation. Two-way guard Saben Lee occasionally played a role off the bench, though not a consistent one.

While the Suns struggled for a variety of different reasons across an underachieving 2023-24 campaign, a large amount of the conversation both during and after the season swirled around point guard. Former head coach Frank Vogel, general manager James Jones and new head coach Mike Budenholzer were asked numerous times about the missing component.

“The conversations have been great and there’s no doubt we have to look at the whole roster and talk about point guard,” Budenholzer said in May after he was introduced. “I’m sure it’s a hot button here, whether it’s with you guys, the media, the players, front office. We need to think about it. We need to be able to play without one. We probably need to have one.

“We need to be versatile. We need to play different ways: bigger, smaller. I think the point guard position has a place.”

Booker led the team with a career-high 6.9 assists per game last season followed by his running mates Kevin Durant and Beal, who each averaged five per game. Jusuf Nurkic added four per game, which was top five among centers.

The Suns didn’t plug that lead guard hole in the NBA Draft. They traded out of the 22nd slot to acquire four picks from the Denver Nuggets, sliding to 28th in the first round and then 56th in the second while also acquiring two future seconds in 2026 and 2031.

Potential point guard targets Isaiah Collier (29th, Jazz) and Tyler Kolek (34th, traded to Knicks) were not yet off the board at the No. 22 pick, and the Suns left both of them hanging again at No. 28, instead going with defense-first wing Ryan Dunn out of Virginia.

Phoenix then in a flurry of deals moved from 56th back up to 40th to select Marquette big man Oso Ighodaro.

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