Eighteen months after finishing his collegiate career, Garret Siler is making the leap to the NBA.
Siler has agreed to a two-year deal with the Phoenix Suns. He is in Phoenix and said Monday he plans to sign this week.
A former All-American center at Augusta State, Siler played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association last season. He played in the NBA Summer League this year for New Jersey and Miami. All the while, the Suns kept their eyes on Siler.
"Phoenix wanted me when they saw me in the Summer League," Siler said. "They don't have a lot of bigs, and I'm a big."
The 7-foot, 280-pound Siler will head to the Suns' training camp Sept. 28. Siler didn't reveal the details of his contract, but the NBA minimum guarantees a salary of almost $474,000 the first year and more than $762,000 his second season.
Phoenix went 54-28 last season and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. Siler said the team expects him to be the backup center behind Robin Lopez.
"They told me they could see me being a great player," Siler said. "They said I haven't been pushed the right way."
Siler was the last player cut from Atlanta's training camp last year. Atlanta and Miami were in the running for Siler, but the teams failed to close the deal. The Heat, after signing Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, added four centers.
The Hawks invited Siler to training camp, but the team refused to give him a guaranteed contract.
"I didn't feel like dealing with that," Siler said.
Phoenix runs an up-tempo offense similar to the one Siler played in Shanghai. He said he's comfortable with the Suns' system.
"It's a good situation I'm coming into," he said. "I'm going to do everything I can and work hard."
In 38 games with the Shanghai Sharks, Siler shot 76 percent from the floor, averaging 14.1 points and 9.3 rebounds a game with 62 blocks.
In his Augusta State career, Siler led the Jaguars to three consecutive Division II Elite Eight appearances. In his senior season in 2008-09, he shot 79 percent from the floor. Siler holds the NCAA record for career field-goal percentage.