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The Suns have excelled at identifying fringe players.

Unfortunately for Phoenix, that comes with complications.

Mike James thrived as a two-way player. To clear a roster spot to convert James to a standard contract, the Suns waived promising young forward Derrick Jones Jr.

Then – with Devin Booker, Davon Reed, Alan Williams and Brandon Knight injured – Phoenix used a hardship exemption to sign Isaiah Canaan. Canaan had 15 points and seven assists in a win over the Timberwolves and 17 points and six assists in a win over the Mavericks. But Booker is on track to return next week, according to Suns general manager Ryan McDonough. That means Phoenix would have to clear another roster spot to activate the star guard.

And it apparently won’t be Canaan getting waived.

McDonough, via Arizona Sports 98.7 FM:

I think Isaiah has certainly played well enough to find a home and be a guy we want to keep.

I think with what Isaiah’s done, we should plan on having him in Phoenix for the rest of the year, if not longer.

If not Canaan, Phoenix short on obviously expendable players. They’re not good, but the Suns are deep with interesting players and/or players with significant long-term financial commitments.

Phoenix has a logjam at center with Tyson Chandler, Alex Len, Greg Monroe and Alan Williams. Maybe Monroe gets traded or bought out. Chandler, due $13,585,000 next season, no longer fits with the Suns, but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to trade him. Phoenix could get proactive by dealing Len, who accepted his qualifying offer last summer, which usually leads to a player leaving in unrestricted free agency the following summer.

The Suns will surely be active in trade discussions in the next week.

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