Suns Waive Jared Harper; Delayed Season Allowing Kelly Oubre Jr., Frank Kaminsky to Heal

Jared Harper

Getty Jared Harper reacts to a play in Auburn's win over North Carolina in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

While the NBA season might be delayed, the Phoenix Suns are still making roster moves. On Thursday, the team decided to waive rookie point guard Jared Harper.

The Suns signed Harper as an undrafted free agent right after the 2019 NBA Draft, which is usually a sign that the team was eager to have him. The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 20.9 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Northern Arizona Suns. He is also coming off a season in which he averaged 15.3 points and 5.8 assists per game for an Auburn team that made an unlikely run to the Final Four in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

The fact the Suns allowed Harper to go was a head-scratcher. He was the G League team’s best player, and the entire league is essentially in a holding pattern because of the coronavirus. However, general manager James Jones noted that Harper is only on a one-year deal, and he wanted to help him out by allowing him to get a head start on looking for other basketball opportunities.

Search for a Backup Point Guard

Before the NBA suspended its season, head coach Monty Williams had seemingly decided on Jevon Carter as the team’s backup point guard. But he had struggled with that decision all year, so it’s a bit surprising that the Suns never gave Harper more of a chance.

Finding a trustworthy backup at point is going to be a priority moving forward. The hope for Phoenix is that Ty Jerome, a first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is able to improve over the summer. He’s a lights-out shooter with good size, but his lack of athleticism has been a problem early on. The rookie has been a sieve defensively this year, and he has been a bit slow to make decisions on the offensive end. But Jerome does have a high basketball IQ, so that decision-making should be fine once he has a little more confidence.

Time to Heal Up

With the season on hold for at least 30 days, the Suns do have some time to get their injured players back on the floor. Sure, there might not be much regular season left to play, but it’d be nice knowing that guys like Kelly Oubre Jr., Frank Kaminsky and Cameron Johnson were all ready to go heading into the offseason.

Oubre Jr. had to have surgery on a torn meniscus a few weeks back, and the initial thought was that he would have to miss the remainder of the season. But the timetable of his recovery isn’t all that long, so he could be feeling better in a matter of weeks.

Kaminsky has been recovering from a right patella stress fracture since early January. The Suns recently stated that he wasn’t ready to return as fast as they had hoped, but the extra time off could easily change that.

As for Johnson, the rookie was ruled out for at least two weeks as he deals with mononucleosis. That news came about a week ago, so he’d likely be completely healthy by the time the season picked back up.


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