NAZ Suns complete trade with Spurs for Hollis Thompson, Livio Jean-Charles
NBA G League
Club sends all-time leading scorer Josh Gray to Austin; Isaiah Canaan too
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Hours after announcing they waived their 2018 second round draft pick, Northern Arizona completed a trade with the Austin Spurs for the returning player rights of Livio Jean-Charles and Hollis Thompson on Monday afternoon.
By Tuesday morning, the Suns (3-16) activated Thompson in time for the annual NBA G League Showcase set to open play Wednesday in Las Vegas.
“Thompson has NBA experience, with 4 years of service to his name. He’ll bring experience and a high-quality skill set with the ability to shoot and defend,” Suns interim General Manager Dylan DeBusk said in a phone interview from the club’s hotel in Las Vegas.
To complete Monday’s trade, Northern Arizona sent the returning player rights of Isaiah Canaan and Josh Gray to the Spurs. Canaan was released by the Phoenix Suns on Nov. 28, and has yet to sign into the G League moving forward.
Gray, Northern Arizona’s all-time leading scorer with 1,544 points, is playing overseas in Korea. The former local tryout also holds Suns’ records for most assists (522), steals (184) and minutes placed (2,790) in club history.
“We appreciate their contributions to the Phoenix and Northern Arizona Suns. We enjoyed having them around as players and people,” DeBusk said about Gray and Canaan.
LaQuinton Ross, selected 51st overall by the Suns in the 2018 NBA G League Draft, played in 15 games this season and was waived to make room for Thompson.
The 6-foot-8, 206-pound Thompson most recently played for Olympiacos in the Greek A1 Basketball League. He was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans. He was undrafted out of Georgetown in 2012.
Thompson, 27, has played 64 games in 2 years for the G League, including 2012-13 with the Tulsa 66ers and the 2016-17 season with the Spurs. He averaged 14.4 points on 48.6 percent shooting from the field with Austin two seasons ago.
At 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, Jean-Charles is currently with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne of the French Pro-A League.
FLURRY OF MOVES
When asked why the Suns have moved forward with trading not only Gray and Canaan, but former standouts like Archie Goodwin, Shaquille Harrison, Rahilr Hollis-Jefferson and Xavier Silas this season, DeBusk said there’s nothing to “read in to.”
“We didn’t expect those guys to be with us this season,” DeBusk said. “From a roster perspective, we’re trying to put a competitive roster together. That’s not to say any of those guys wouldn’t be competitive, but in this period of time, this season, we didn’t expect them to be with us.”
DeBusk added that “you have to give up talent to get talent,” and in the G League, you don’t know when players will return with other options overseas, or at the NBA level.
So when the opportunity presented itself to give up Gray and Canaan to acquire Thompson and Jean-Charles on Monday, DeBusk didn’t hesitate.
Northern Arizona’s roster currently stands at 13, with two-way players Jawun Evans and George King, along with assigned guard Elie Okobo, on the list above the required 10 spots.
Evans is the only player not currently in Las Vegas with the Suns for this week’s annual showcase.
The Suns are scheduled to face the Windy City Bulls in Wednesday’s showcase opener. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN U and is set to tipoff at 8:30 p.m.
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier of Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.