Suns sign Bol Bol, trade Cameron Payne

new balance

Bol Bol

Bol Bol

We’re down to one more day of basketball until the FIBA World Cup begins in late August, with Monday’s championship game of the NBA2K Summer League being all that’s left. While the Cavaliers and Rockets punched their respective tickets to the title game, the Suns made multiple moves on Sunday, with one set to have a significant impact on the fantasy prospects of one of the team’s starting guards.

— Suns trade Cameron Payne to San Antonio

Phoenix moved a player in Payne who had been a valued reserve in the past, sending him and a future second-round pick to the Spurs in exchange for a second-round pick. That pick would be one of four second-rounders that Phoenix added on Sunday, as the Suns received three from Orlando. Those picks could have value down the line as the Suns continue to work on filling out their roster.

Payne moving on to San Antonio means that fantasy managers hoping for a top-100 season (or close to it) from Tre Jones could be in a difficult spot. Jones finished last season as a top-100 player in 9-cat formats while falling just outside of that threshold in 8-cat. Payne wasn’t a great fantasy option in Phoenix outside of nights when the Suns were without Chris Paul, but his addition makes for a crowded group of playmakers in San Antonio. In addition to those two veterans, there’s also Malaki Branham and Blake Wesley, with the former being the better fantasy option.

If Jones (or someone else) emerges as the clear starter, then they may be worth selecting with a late-round pick in standard leagues. But this trade is not a great development for him.

— Beal will reportedly begin camp as the starting point guard

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The trades of Paul and Payne leave the Suns without a point guard on the roster, and it isn’t like they have a lot of space under the luxury tax to sign a replacement. According to The Athletic, Bradley Beal is expected to enter training camp as the starting point guard. While that could have been the case even without the Payne trade, the Suns don’t have much margin for error as far as depth is concerned.

And that’s a pretty big deal because since playing in all 82 games during the 2018-19 season, Beal has played no more than 60 in the four since. That was also the year in which he averaged a career-best 5.0 assists per game. Serving as the primary playmaker has the potential to give Beal’s fantasy value a slight boost, even if the scoring stands to take a hit due to the presence of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant. Sunday’s trade also boosts Jordan Goodwin, whose contract for next season will not be fully guaranteed until January 10. He may be worth taking a late-round flier on, especially if the Suns don’t add another point guard to the roster before the start of the season.

— Suns sign Bol Bol to a one-year deal

Bol had his moments in Orlando last season, finishing with averages of 9.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.2 blocks, and 0.4 3-pointers in 21.5 minutes per game. Starting 33 of the 70 games he appeared in, Bol shot 54.6% from the field and 74.9% from the foul line. However, even with that production, he was essentially deemed surplus to requirements in Orlando, hence his still being on the market as a free agent. Bol finished last season ranked outside the top 150 in both 8- and 9-cat, per-game value after not even being on the radar in most fantasy leagues.

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There will be some who look to talk themselves into Bol being viable in fantasy leagues, even though he’ll be coming off the bench in Phoenix. But his signing is unlikely to move the needle, even if the Suns manage to get something out of Bol that neither Denver nor Orlando was able to. Fantasy managers would be best served to leave him alone come draft time and simply be ready for moments when Bol would be worth streaming due to a player ahead of him in the pecking order being lost to injury.

— Cavaliers, Rockets advance to Summer League title game

As noted in the intro, a champion will be crowned in Las Vegas on Monday, with the two best teams fighting it out. Cleveland outlasted Brooklyn in overtime while the Rockets handled the Jazz in the second semifinal. Isaiah Mobley has been outstanding in Las Vegas for the Cavaliers, but he may not be in the best spot regarding the ability to offer consistent fantasy value once the regular season begins. Younger brother Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are the starters at the four and five, respectively, with the former playing 34.4 minutes per game last season and the latter 32.6. That doesn’t leave much room for Isaiah, especially with the Cavs signing Georges Niang in free agency.

Rockets rookie Cam Whitmore could find himself in a similar spot when Houston opens training camp, as there’s no shortage of wings on the roster. Houston signed Dillon Brooks in free agency, and they also have Tari Eason and Jae’Sean Tate on the roster. Add in the likelihood that Kevin Porter Jr. and lottery pick Amen Thompson will have to play off the ball more due to the presence of Fred VanVleet, and Whitmore could have a tough time getting the minutes he would need to achieve fantasy relevance as a rookie.

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Whitmore has improved by the game in Las Vegas, with the biggest bump in production occurring after Houston shut down Eason and Jabari Smith Jr. for the remainder of the summer. While it has been good to see the rookie step up in this situation, that may not be the best sign regarding his fantasy potential next season.

— Clippers’ Brown injures ankle during summer finale

Coming off of a stellar 35-point performance, Clippers first-round pick Kobe Brown was looking to close out his summer in style. Unfortunately, he only played six minutes in Sunday’s 104-103 loss to the Lakers due to a sprained ankle. The injury didn’t appear to be severe in nature, but there’s no reason to risk pushing a player too far during Summer League. Brown was asked to handle a bit of everything while in Las Vegas, taking on a role that’s unlikely to be the one he’s asked to fill when the regular season begins.

Prior to Sunday, Brown shot nearly 41% from three on 6.8 attempts per game, and he was a plus shooter in college as well. That should help with his assimilating into an offense headlined by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but that’s unlikely to be enough to justify making Brown one of the first rookies off the board in drafts.

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