Report: Suns to renounce Payton, won't re-sign Len
Len, who the Suns drafted fifth overall in 2013, accepted his qualifying offer last summer and will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Payton, who was acquired in a deadline-day trade this past season, would become a restricted free agent if the Suns extended him his $4.7-million qualifying offer for 2018-19, but they appear unwilling to do so. Assuming he isn't tendered before the July 30 deadline, he too will enter unrestricted free agency. Renouncing him will clear his $10-million cap hold from the Suns' books.
Len, 25, failed to live up to his billing in Phoenix, and there's no longer room for him there after the Suns drafted big man DeAndre Ayton first overall last week. This past season was by far Len's most productive on a per-minute basis (15.1 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per 36), but the market for centers - particularly earthbound ones who don't stretch the floor - hasn't exactly been robust in recent years.
Payton, himself a former top-10 pick, apparently didn't do enough in his 19-game stint with the Suns to merit a longer look, even from a rebuilding team with cap space to play with. In those 19 games, he averaged 11.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and one steal - decent counting stats that evidently couldn't make up for his woeful shooting (48.1 true shooting percentage) and negligent defense. The Suns got outscored by 20 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor.
For the reasonable price of a future second-rounder, he was worth the flier the Suns took on him, and he should garner interest this summer from teams in the market for backup point guards. He was actually having a solid shooting season with the Magic (52 percent from the field, 37.3 percent from deep) before the trade, and has improved his efficiency every year he's been in the league. At 24, he may still have some untapped upside.
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