PHOENIX SUNS

Suns’ Drew Eubanks will decline player option to become free agent, per report

Jun 21, 2024, 12:26 PM

Drew Eubanks will decline his $2.7 million player option to return to the Phoenix Suns for the 2024-25 season and become a free agent, reported ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday.

The 27-year-old backup center appeared in 75 games with six starts in 2023-24 after joining Phoenix as a veteran’s minimum signing.

He averaged 5.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game over 15.6 minutes behind starter Jusuf Nurkic.

While the Suns pressed to give Eubanks minutes needing an athletic rim-rolling big man, Eubanks’ defensive lapses hurt him in earning the trust of the former coaching staff led by Frank Vogel. Phoenix went away from Eubanks completely for an elimination game in its last-grasp efforts to avoid a first-round sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The only semi-regular rotation player with a worse on-court plus-minus than Eubanks (-1.4) was wing Nassir Little. Eubanks had the highest off-court plus-minus (4.4).

Part of those ratings, however, did have to do with how positively Nurkic impacted the Suns, as he had the best on-court plus-minus (5.3) and lowest off-court plus-minus (-1.9).

Eubanks went undrafted out of Oregon State and spent his first three-plus NBA seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. He played 22 games of the 2021-22 season for the Portland Trail Blazers after being traded in 2022 and averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in his most significant role as a pro.

That role was reduced to a backup one the next season before the Suns, limited by financial restrictions last summer, signed him to the veteran’s minimum deal. Phoenix tagged on the player option for 2024-25 to entice him to join an expected contender.

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