The Suns filled their open roster spot Tuesday morning by signing former Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards guard Dee Brown to a one-year, nonguaranteed contract.
Brown, 24, is the only one of the six players who came in for a tryout Monday who has played in the NBA this season. He started 11 games for the Wizards before Washington acquired guard Mike James (and Javaris Crittenton) in a three-team trade with New Orleans and Memphis on Dec. 10. Brown was waived the next day for roster space.
"We like what he brings to the team in terms of quickness and (defensive) intensity. He'll get after it on the floor," Suns general manager Steve Kerr said. "Dee led an Illinois team that reached the national championship game (in 2005) and he has playoff experience in the NBA with Utah. He's young, so he has some room to improve, but he's also at a point where he can deal with whatever we throw at him."
Brown will take a physical today and sign a nonguaranteed contract for the rest of the season to get the Suns to the required 13-player minimum by today's deadline. The Suns traded three players to Charlotte (Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary) for Jared Dudley and Jason Richardson on Dec. 10, leaving an open spot on the roster.
The signing also opens the door to the possibility of sending rookie Goran Dragic to the NBA Developmental League to get more playing time.
Dragic hasn't played in the last four games and nine of the last 14 overall, getting the most time in that span out of necessity when the Suns were short-handed following the Richardson trade.
Kerr said no decision on Dragic's future has been made, although he pointed out "that is what the D-League is for, to allow guys to play games and find their groove."
Brown and veterans Damon Stoudamire and Eddie Gill were the three finalists after Monday's workout.
The deciding factor was wanting to bring in someone who has a defensive lean while staying with the up-tempo lean of the team.
Brown played in 17 games with the Wizards and started 11 this season, averaging 2.4 points, 1.9 assists and 0.6 steals in 13 minutes per game. He's not a strong shooter, hitting 38.6 percent from the field (17-for-44) and 30 percent from 3-point range.
Brown also saw playing time as a rookie in Utah in 2006-07, averaging 9.2 minutes in 49 games and contributing 1.9 points and 1.7 assists.
The nonguaranteed deal leaves the door open for the Suns to make another move down the road if they lose Steve Nash or his current backup, Leandro Barbosa, for an extended period.