This is the time of the year front offices should and do consider inexpensive rolls of the dice — and if that plays well with the fan base, all the better.
Enter Chase Budinger, who officially signed Tuesday with the Phoenix Suns, as had been expected since the Indiana Pacers cut him loose to make way for Ty Lawson. Budinger signed for the veteran minimum.
Is Budinger going to find a fit in Phoenix? The better question may be will his knees let him? Budinger was a solid NBA role player (8.1 points a game, shot 35.4 percent from three) with fantastic athleticism. However, he underwent a couple of major knee surgeries, which robbed him of that bounce that was at the heart of his game. Without it, he never could find a role this season in Indiana. He may not succeed in Phoenix, but with all their injuries and roster turnover he can get a little run and try to prove he belongs.
Why this works for the Suns is that Budinger played his college ball at Arizona, where he was very popular. This move is well received by the fanbase, in a season where they haven’t had much to get behind this season. Even if Budinger doesn’t work out, it plays well.
Not a bad roll of the dice during a lost season.