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Damion Lee returns to Suns in free agency on one-year deal

Damion Lee returns to Suns in free agency on one-year deal

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Damion Lee will remain with the Phoenix Suns next season.

The reserve shooting guard and 3-point specialist has agreed to a one-year deal after missing the entire 2023-24 season following right meniscus surgery during training camp. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first to report on Lee’s return.

Lee, a six-year veteran, enters his third consecutive season with Phoenix on a one-year minimum veteran contract.

Lee was one of the Suns’ primary backups and one of their best catch-and-shoot threats from 3-point range in his first season with the team before being sidelined. He averaged 8.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists in 74 games and five starts. Lee’s 44.5% 3-point percentage led the NBA through the 2023 All-Star break.

Lee’s playing time began to dwindle after they acquired Kevin Durant midway through the 2022-23 season.

Last Saturday, Lee declined his $2.85 million player option for next year to become an unrestricted free agent before the free agency market opened the next day. He was one of four Suns bench players to do so, two of whom are now gone.

Eric Gordon joined Philadelphia on a one-year, $3.3 million deal Sunday, and Drew Eubanks agreed to a two-year, $11 million deal with Utah on Monday. Josh Okogie opted in for $2.95 million on Friday and was still on the market as of Wednesday morning.

More: Phoenix Suns rookies Ryan Dunn and Oso Ighodaro ready to compete with Durant, Booker and Beal

Veteran minimum deals are all the Suns can pay free agents to fill their open bench. They’re past the league’s second apron for next season with a projected payroll of $206 million, leaving them with one of the league’s largest luxury tax bills of around $105 million. Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal will account for around $150 million of the total player salaries next season.

Lee is the third free agent the Suns have signed, joining center Mason Plumlee and point guard Monte Morris earlier this week.

In addition, backup Royce O’Neale, who was acquired from Brooklyn before last season’s trade deadline, has agreed to a four-year contract that will keep him with the Suns, Wojnarowski reported last week. The team has also agreed to a one-year deal to retain 7-3 backup Bol Bol, he reported.