The Phoenix Suns added a third minimum-contract player Saturday night, bringing in Australian big Jock Landale from Atlanta, though he was only a Hawk for a few days after being traded alongside Dejounte Murray from San Antonio.
The Phoenix Suns are in talks for Australian center Jock Landale from the Atlanta Hawks, sources say. @ElAthletic @Stadium. Landale averaged 4.9 points and 2.7 rebounds in 54 games for the Spurs last season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2022
Shortly after Charania broke the news, Chris Kirschner, who covers the Hawks for The Athletic, broke Phoenix’s deal:
The Hawks received money in the Jock Landale trade, according to the source.
—Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 2, 2022
The Athletic’s John Hollinger speculated that the exact amount of money would end up close to $110,000, which is the minimum amount that can be used in a trade.
Landale is the first Australian center for the Suns since Aron Baynes played a season in 2019-20, but Landale’s international footprint goes further.
After going undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft out of Saint Mary’s College, the 6-foot-11, 255-pound big man signed with KK Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia, which plays in the ABA League, one of the top leagues. European. He continued his stint in Europe with a year at BC Zalgiris in Kaunas, Lithuania, a newly conquered EuroLeague powerhouse in Lithuania.
Landale found his way back to Australia in December 2020 when he led Melbourne United of the National Basketball League (NBL) to a 3-0 Championship Series sweep against the defending champions, Perth Wildcats. During the series, he averaged 14.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, and was named NBL Grand Finals MVP.
He has also represented Australia in two major events so far, the 2019 FIBA World Cup and the Tokyo Olympics, in which his team won the bronze medal; in qualifying, Landale averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
He has played for two Summer League teams: the Atlanta Hawks (2018) and the Milwaukee Bucks (2019), though he probably won’t play for the Suns’ team in Las Vegas; trades can’t officially be completed until he ends the July moratorium period on July 8, and that’s the day of Phoenix’s first game. However, I suppose there is a possibility that it is a late addition.
Hey, Phoenix, maybe you’ll announce your Summer League roster by now.
Landale (veteran-minimum contract) rounds out a very affordable center rotation that also includes Dario Saric ($9.2 million) and Bismack Biyombo (newly signed at veteran-minimum).
From a statistical standpoint, Landale averaged 4.9 points (49.5 FG%) and 2.7 rebounds in 10.9 minutes in 54 games of action in San Antonio as a rookie.
However, looking a little deeper, I am excited about the solid shooting indicators: 82.9 FT% and 32.6 3P% at 5.4 3PA for 36 minutes. That three-point outlook is further supported by a three-point rate (3PAr, which essentially means 3PA divided by total FGA) of .436, meaning nearly half of his attempts are deep. He could fit nicely into the Saric-Baynes role of big pick-and-pop bookings that have thrived under Monty Williams.
Landale started a game as a Spur, totaling 10 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists in his 26 minutes in a Jan. 15 win over the Clippers. However, his career high for both points and minutes came on March 12 in a loss against Indiana, when he had 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 35 minutes.
The move to add another center, especially one on a minimum contract, lends even more credence to a possible Kevin Durant addition, given that Deandre Ayton is almost gone at this point as part of that deal.