In December we can start to talk about these things. The Phoenix Suns have an open roster spot, a couple of injured players, and an aggressive GM in James Jones. Something is going to happen. We may see it coming, we may not.
Given Jones’ history with these kinds of things, we probably have no idea who he’s targeting and it comes out of left field again. And that’s just fine!
I wrote a primer for Bright Side of the Sun highlighting some of these names and the reasoning behind it here: Nine Potential Buyout and Trade Candidates for the Phoenix Suns
Now, we’ll dive into the meat and bones of the potential trades and see what they could look like on paper. Some of these cannot happen until December 15th due to the “newly signed” rule, just a heads up.
1) Acquire Thad Young from San Antonio.
Option #1? Secure Thad Young after a buyout. Option #2, send the Spurs your scraps to get it done.
The Thad Young to Phoenix train started last season and has persisted to the point where it feels like it’s probably not going to happen after feeling inevitable for a while. There’s a chance Phoenix doesn’t have to give anything up if the Spurs and Thaddeus can reach a buyout agreement.
That is the best-case scenario that allows Phoenix to keep its few trade assets around for another move (Eric Gordon, anyone?). Either way, don’t expect Thad to go for a ton. Matching salaries and a couple of second-rounders are a fair value.
2) Grab a Pacer wing/forward.
Indiana is likely to shake things up, so everyone should be on the table for them. A Torrey Craig reunion would make Suns fans very happy, as he played a key role in their Finals run last season. He cannot be traded until December 15th.
Holiday would be an excellent addition in the wing department, though he brings a different look than Craig does. He is an efficient high-volume shooter that can guard multiple positions on the perimeter, while Torrey is more of a “bigger wing” that can cover Crowder minutes or play occasional small-ball five. He also has another year of cheap team control so I believe it would take a first-rounder to get Indiana listening.
3) Portland firesale? We’ll take a forward!
The Blazers look to be on the verge of blowing things up, and if they do… boy do they have a pair of big forward that would be awesome fits in Phoenix. Whether it’s Larry Nance Jr. or RoCo, the Suns are likely going to have to part with a 1st rounder here. I’d prefer Nance, but he will likely be a little more costly than Phoenix would like, as they’ll have to outbid a few teams for his services I’d imagine.
Covington is having a down year, but I think the case to be made for him in Phoenix is that this team context favors his strengths quite a bit more than his current situation in Portland. That trade above also frees up some salaries for next year. I’m not sure giving up a first for him is ideal, but it’s likely the price of doing business with Portland. That price tag is more based on his reputation than production this season. I’m not as crazy about it as others, but I could talk myself into it given the team context here.
4) The (Ken)rich get richer?
Kenrich Williams in a Suns uniform might be the least appealing to the casual fan on here but might end up having the most positive on-court impact.
This one is my favorite. Williams is extremely underrated and would help Phoenix’s bench a ton.
I know some may be hesitant to include a first-rounder (even if lottery protected), but both players are under very cheap team control next season as well, so it would be an awesome way to fill out the depth for next year without breaking the bank. Combined, they’d make less than $5.8 million next season. Two rotation pieces that fit the identity of the team seamlessly for that cost? Sign me the hell up.
5) Houston, we have a favor to ask…
Eric Gordon might have his heart in Phoenix still… if that’s the case, make it happen!
If you can pair a move like this with a Thad Young buyout (or another “bigger forward”)… then we’re cooking with grease. The guard rotation would become very interesting with Paul, Booker, Shamet, Payne, and Gordon, but that’s a good problem to have. I think? Shot creation is still a weakness at times, and Gordon can fill it up.
That concludes our trade preview for the time being. I’m sure plenty of more names will pop up as we get closer to the deadline(s) and figure out which teams are buyers, sellers, etc.
Which trade was your favorite? Comment below with your pick, or with a different trade idea that you’re into.