Phoenix Suns decline option of Alex Len, release Elfrid Payton

With the arrival of Deandre Ayton, Len became more expendable. The high price tag of Payton along with his consistency made him more expendable. With more flexibility, the Suns can try to add a point guard or stretch forward in free agency.

Phoenix Suns decline option of Alex Len, release Elfrid Payton
Alex Len #21 of the Phoenix Suns looks to pass around Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half of the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena |April 7, 2018 - Source: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America|

As first reported by Scott Borrow of AZCentral.com, the Phoenix Suns will renounce the rights to Elfrid Payton and Alex Len, making them free agents and clearing around $10 million in cap space.

The decision to part ways with both players is no surprise. When the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton in the NBA Draft, Len became more expendable. Payton, whom the Suns acquired last February from Orlando in exchange for a second-round pick, was very inconsistent during his tenure with the Suns. Payton became disposable when the Suns drafted Elie Okobo in the second-round of the draft.

Payton has a $10 million cap hold figure, money the Suns believe will be better used in free agency. Len, the No. 5 pick overall in 2013, had an uneven five seasons with Phoenix. He never averaged more than nine points and 7.6 rebounds per game and started only 140 of 335 games.

Possible free agent targets

 LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) dribbles the ball past New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee |Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports|
LA Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) dribbles the ball past New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee |Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports|

The moves will help make financial room for the team as they seek to add a veteran around a young core of Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker, Josh Jackson and Mikal Bridges

The Suns could also potentially clear additional cap space by ridding themselves of four non-guaranteed contracts: Alan Williams ($5.5 million), Tyler Ulis ($1.5 million), Davon Reed ($1.38 million) and Shaq Harrison ($1.38 million). That could get the Suns to a little over $18 million in cap space.

If the Suns can add only a point guard, ​Patrick Beverley would be the best guard they could add. Technically, he’s not a free agent; he has a non-guaranteed contract worth $5 million in 2018-19. But the Clippers added some guards during the draft, possibly making Beverley available.

Other guards the Suns could show interest in are Fred VanVleetMarcus Smart, and Isaiah Thomas.

If the Suns decide to add a stretch-4, they could add Trevor ArizaJabari ParkerRudy Gay and Ersan Ilyasova.