John Jenkins to Suns: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2016

DALLAS, TX - DECEMBER 30:  John Jenkins #12 of the Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors on December 30, 2015 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Danny Bollinger/NBAE via Getty Images)
Danny Bollinger/Getty Images

The Dallas Mavericks released guard John Jenkins when they signed David Lee on Monday, but it didn't take long for another team to add the former Vanderbilt star. 

The Phoenix Suns claimed Jenkins Wednesday and shared the announcement:

Shams Charania of The Vertical initially reported the news and also noted Jenkins is on a three-year contract.

Chuck Myron of provided financial context for the move from both teams' perspective:

The move had to have taken place before 4:00 p.m. Central, when Jenkins was set to become a free agent had no team put in a claim. He’s on a three-year minimum-salary contract, and the minimum salary exception only accommodates two-year deals, so Phoenix is using part of the $1.56M trade exception it created in the Markieff Morris deal last week. It’s a boon for Dallas, which gets to subtract the nearly $1M cap hit and Jenkins’ remaining salary from this season from its books.

While Jenkins has not appeared in a game since Feb. 1, Bobby Marks of The Vertical believed he was worth a look for other squads after Dallas released him: "Teams with room or an exception need to look at John Jenkins on a waiver claim. Great contract, only 24 y/o and was real good in pre-season."

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times echoed the same sentiment: "John Jenkins was one of the Mavs best players preseason when others injured—he needs to get some real run on a bad team."

As Marks mentioned, Jenkins is only 24 years old and has flashed his potential at times since he entered the league in 2012 as a first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks. He also averaged more than 19 points per night in each of his final two seasons at Vanderbilt and shot 43.8 percent from three-point range throughout his collegiate career.

Here is a look at his career stats in the NBA, as of Wednesday:

John Jenkins' Career Stats
2012-13Atlanta Hawks6114.
2013-14Atlanta Hawks1312.
2014-15Atlanta Hawks2412.
2015-16Dallas Mavericks219.23.30.410.1-0.9

While those numbers do not exactly jump off the page, provided his per-36 minute totals, which indicate he can be a regular contributor if given more opportunity:

John Jenkins' Per-36 Minute Totals
2012-13Atlanta Hawks6114.
2013-14Atlanta Hawks139.12.550.9-4.1
2014-15Atlanta Hawks2416.
2015-16Dallas Mavericks2112.

There is nothing wrong with a wing player who can score in double figures, hit from three-point range and help on the boards if he simply sees more minutes. Jenkins could well receive that necessary opportunity to prove himself with more action on the abysmal Suns.

Phoenix has lost its last 12 games and 18 of its past 19 contests. Only the 11-47 Los Angeles Lakers and 8-48 Philadelphia 76ers sport worse marks than the 14-43 Suns; it's a far cry from the past two seasons when Phoenix actually competed for a postseason spot in the competitive Western Conference.

Part of the problem for the Suns this season is backcourt injuries, which improves Jenkins’ chances at seeing the court.

Superstar Eric Bledsoe is out for the season following surgery for a torn meniscus, and Brandon Knight has not appeared in a game since Jan. 19 because of a groin injury. Bledsoe and Knight are arguably the Suns’ top two players on the offensive side and still lead the team in points per game this season (Bledsoe at 20.4; Knight at 19.7).

Few teams in the league could withstand serious injuries to their top two offensive options and still compete for a postseason spot, and Phoenix is no exception. 

This is a lost season for the Suns from a standings perspective, but at least Jenkins will now get the chance to prove what he can do on the floor and perhaps play his way into a rotation for the foreseeable future.