Suns officially sign former Clippers C Mason Plumlee

Jul 5, 2024, 2:32 PM | Updated: 6:20 pm

Mason Plumlee...

Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns shoots the ball as he is defended by Mason Plumlee #44 of the LA Clippers during the fourth quarter in game five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 25, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns signed veteran center Mason Plumlee to a one-year contract, the team officially announced on Friday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported on June 30.

Plumlee is a 34-year-old, 6-foot-10 big man who made his NBA debut in 2013-14. He spent the past season-plus with the Los Angeles Clippers but has also played for the Charlotte Hornets, Denver Nuggets, Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets.

In 46 games last year, Plumlee averaged 5.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 14.7 minutes per game with the Clippers. He missed nearly two months after suffering a sprained MCL. The Clippers also had center Ivica Zubac and Daniel Theis on the team, and Plumlee’s minutes fluctuated.

He averaged 10.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 2022-23 between the Hornets and Clippers.

Plumlee’s brother, Miles, played for the Suns from 2013-15.

Former Suns backup center Drew Eubanks declined his player option, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. With or without Eubanks, though, the Suns were expected to prioritize adding another center.

The Suns were a completely different team when starter Jusuf Nurkic went to the bench for a rest, a testament to both the underrated value Nurkic provided over the season but also in the tremendous dip in quality of play from his reserves.

Phoenix outscored teams by 9.2 points per 100 possessions when Nurkic was in, the best net rating for the team over the full season, per NBA Stats. It was a -3.8 net rating when Nurkic sat, a difference of 13 points per 100 possessions that correlates with Eubanks’ numbers.

Eubanks really struggled to earn the trust of his teammates, often frustrating the ball-handlers with his lack of proper positioning on rim runs and decision-making around the basket. Defensively, he was the target of many discussions after an error in the team defense occurred. Former head coach Frank Vogel tried his best to stick with Eubanks through his issues but eventually looked elsewhere at times, including in smaller lineups with either Bol Bol or buyout signing Thaddeus Young.

Those lineups were problematic as well, so Eubanks was the best choice still for the playoffs in Vogel’s eyes. That was a mess, as was Phoenix’s play as a whole in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Plumlee’s agent is Mark Bartelstein, whose son Josh Bartelstein is the Suns’ CEO.

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