The Phoenix Suns made a financially motivated move on Saturday night, waiving center Hamed Haddadi. The move opens up $1.2 million in cap space for the Suns this season. Though Haddadi had some great games down the stretch last year and became a fan favorite, the writing on the wall seemed to be there for him on Thursday night when the Suns selected center Alex Len, a 7’1” force who is projected to be more or less a better version of Haddadi.
Though his trade deadline acquisition was not seen as a big deal last season, he definitely did all he could to impress with the Suns. The 7’2” big man shined with two double-digit scoring efforts versus the Denver Nuggets and was a solid defensive rebounder, even when he was faced with limited minutes. His breakthrough performance even caused some Suns fans to create “who’s your Haddadi?” chants.
Even though he showed some good potential, the additions of Len and second-round pick Alex Oriahki overcrowded the Suns’ front court. With proven big men like Marcin Gortat, Luis Scola and Markieff Morris and some role players like Marcus Morris, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O’Neal still potentially in the picture, there must not have been enough time to work with a player like Haddadi.
Some would have argued that it would have been better for the Suns to get a talented scorer like Ben McLemore in the first round, which they have sorely lacked since the departure of Joe Johnson. This move may have allowed them to take a chance with the good things that Haddadi showed last season. But clearly, the new regime has other intentions, and they will continue to rebuild with a better game in the paint in mind.