The Phoenix Suns added a third player on a minimum contract on Saturday night, bringing in Australian big man Jock Landale from Atlanta – despite only being a Hawk for a few days, after being traded alongside Dejounte Murray from San Antonio.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 2, 2022
Shortly after Charania broke the news, Chris Kirschner, who covers the Hawks for The Athletic, broke the end of Phoenix’s deal:
The Hawks received cash in the trade from Jock Landale, per source.
— Chris Kirschner (@ChrisKirschner) July 2, 2022
Athletic’s John Hollinger speculated that the exact amount of money would end up at almost $110,000, which is the minimum amount that can be used in a trade.
Landale is the Suns’ first Australian center since Aron Baynes played a season in 2019-20, but Landale’s international footprint goes beyond that.
After going undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft at Saint Mary’s College, the 6-foot-11, 255-pound big man signed with KK Partizan in Belgrade, Serbia, who play in the ABA League, one of the best European leagues. He continued his European stint with a year at BC Zalgiris in Kaunas, Lithuania, a Euroleague powerhouse fresh off a domestic title 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 sweep in the Championship Series against defending champions Perth Wildcats. During the series, he averaged 14.7 points and 11 rebounds per game, and he was named the NBL Grand Finals MVP.
He has also represented Australia in two major events so far, the 2019 FIBA World Cup as well as the Tokyo Olympics, for which his team won the bronze medal; in the ladder, Landale averaged 12.8 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game.
He has played on two Summer League teams – Atlanta Hawks (2018) and Milwaukee Bucks (2019) – although he probably won’t play for the Suns team in Vegas; the trades cannot be officially completed until the end of the July moratorium period on July 8, and that is the day of Phoenix’s first game. However, I guess there’s a chance it’s a late addition.
Hey, Phoenix, maybe announce your Summer League squad already.
Landale (veteran minimum contract) completes a very affordable center rotation that also includes Dario Saric ($9.2 million) and Bismack Biyombo (just re-signed on a vet minute).
Statistically, Landale averaged 4.9 points (49.5 FG%) and 2.7 rebounds in 10.9 minutes in 54 games of action at San Antonio as a rookie.
Looking a little deeper though, I’m thrilled with the solid shooting metrics – 82.9 FT% and 32.6 3P% on 5.4 3PA per 36 minutes. This three-point outlook is further supported by a three-point rate (3PAr, essentially meaning 3PA divided by total FGA) of 0.436, which means almost half of his attempts come from deep. He could fit well into the Saric-Baynes role of pick-and-pop reserve greats who flourished under Monty Williams.
Landale started a game as Spur, totaling 10 points, 11 rebounds and 2 assists in 26 minutes in a Jan. 15 win over the Clippers. However, his career high for points and minutes came March 12 in a loss to Indiana, when he had 26 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals in 35 minutes.
The decision to add another center — particularly one on a minimum contract — lends even more credence to a potential Kevin Durant addition, given that Deandre Ayton is pretty much gone at this point as part of that deal.