Dionte Christmas is the newest Phoenix Sun after the Suns announced the signing today. The Suns got an extended look at the talented scorer this year at the Las Vegas Summer League and he apparently impressed Ryan McDonough and Jeff Hornacek enough to earn him a contract.
McDonough sung the Temple product's praises in the press release announcing the signing:
"We’re excited to add Dionte to our roster," said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. "He was a key contributor for our Las Vegas Summer League team and his scoring ability, leadership and toughness will help us this season."
Here are his numbers and my analysis of his performance in Vegas:
Dionte Christmas is a Summer League vet who just finished up his fourth appearance in Las Vegas/Orlando. He's been right on the cusp of making it in the NBA the last couple years since going undrafted after a standout career at Temple. He's a versatile offensive player who knows how to get buckets, and he showed that with the Suns this year averaging double-figures. He played both on and off the ball, getting to the basket, knocking down perimeter shots and even making some nice passes from time to time.
However, Christmas also showed the flaws in his game that have kept him off the NBA court. Spotty shot-selection, defensive lapses and average athleticism were all evident in his performance.
However, Christmas cannot relax just yet. He is now the 17th player under contract for the Suns and faces an uphill roster to stick around for the season. Most teams offer unguaranteed contracts to players like Christmas in order to have plenty of bodies for training camp and the preseason. However, Christmas' contract is partially guaranteed which means he could very well make this roster.
Christmas is pretty familiar with being in this position as he has been signed by teams multiple times but was cut each time before he had a chance to play in a game. Most recently, he was one of the Boston Celtics' final cuts before the season started a year ago.
Christmas does bring shooting and a knack for scoring, two things this Suns roster is a bit short on.
Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin, Kendall Marshall, Shannon Brown and Gerald Green all have guaranteed contracts in the backcourt. Christmas will compete for a spot with Malcolm Lee and Ish Smith.
This could also mean the Suns are looking to unload some of their players (perhaps Kendall Marshall?) before the season starts. If that's the case, then Christmas' case for making the regular season roster becomes a bit stronger.
So is Christmas' singing just to bring another body in for camp? Or could it be foreshadowing of further moves soon to come? We'll have to wait and see.