According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Detroit Pistons have claimed guard Jordan McRae off waivers.
The 28-year-old wing agreed to a buyout with the Denver Nuggets a few days ago. He was originally acquired in a trade for Shabazz Napier, but he ultimately wasn’t able to secure a spot in head coach Mike Malone’s rotation.
Originally, it appeared as though McRae would be heading to the Phoenix Suns. However, the Suns would have needed to claim McRae off of waivers in order to secure his bird rights. The Pistons had a higher waiver priority than the Suns, so they were able to swoop in and grab him.
Why the Pistons Need McRae
Derrick Rose has been having a great season for the Pistons, averaging 18.1 points and 5.6 assists per game on 49 percent shooting from the floor. But in Detroit’s loss to Sacramento on Sunday, the three-time All-Star suffered a rather significant ankle sprain.
With the Pistons needing some help in the backcourt, it was only fitting that the team turned to McRae. In 29 games with the Washington Wizards this season, McRae averaged 12.8 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field and 37.7 percent shooting from three.
With McRae’s ability to play both positions in the backcourt, he should be able to carve out some solid minutes with the Pistons. Considering he’s in a contract year, that was the most important thing for him.
What This Means for the Suns
Throughout the course of the season, the Suns have been looking for a backup shooting guard. Devin Booker is having a career year for Phoenix, but he has been playing far too many minutes as of late. Since the start of February, Booker has played at least 37 minutes in eight of the 14 games that the Suns have played.
McRae figured to be a great fit for Phoenix. The guard had spent time with general manager James Jones in Cleveland, and he has shown the ability to consistently knock down threes. With the way Booker commands attention, it’s always nice to put more shooters around him.
Deandre Ayton’s Injury
While picking up another shooting guard is certainly a need, the Suns might also look to use a roster spot to bring in another center. In Tuesday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors, Deandre Ayton injured his ankle again. He’ll be in a walking boot while he recovers, so that leaves the Suns with only Aron Baynes. Frank Kaminsky isn’t expected to return anytime soon.
Phoenix had previously brought in Jonah Bolden as a backup big, and he actually did some nice work in limited minutes. It’ll be interesting to see if Phoenix ends up bringing him back.
Regardless, the Suns are no longer legitimately in the mix for a spot in the postseason. With that being the case, it might make sense for them to prioritize bringing in another young player or two. You never know who might impress the front office. The Miami Heat—and the previously mentioned Raptors—consistently turn unlikely guys into rotation players, so it’s worth scanning the market for people that might contribute down the line.