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Suns trade grades: Reviewing Ryan McDonough’s 2013-14 deals

Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley (3) drives against Los Angeles Clippers' Eric Bledsoe (12) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, April 19, 2012, in Phoenix. The Suns won 93-90. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Heading into the 2017 NBA trade deadline, we’re reviewing every one of the Phoenix Suns’ trades since general manager Ryan McDonough was hired before the 2013-14 season.

Taking this season by season, we start with McDonough’s first year in 2013-14, when a team expected to rebuild via a wrecking ball did so only to win 48 games. By sniffing the playoffs, they were perhaps setting up a rushed attempt to win in the following years.

July 10, 2013

Suns acquire: Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler

Clippers acquire: Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick, and Traded Player Exception

Bucks acquire: Least favorable 2014 second-round pick (Lamar Patterson), conditional 2015 second-round pick and least favorable 2016 second-round pick

Kevin Zimmerman: Obviously, this is an A+ trade. Bledsoe remains the Suns’ most valuable player as an asset despite his knee problems, and giving up shooting guard Jared Dudley to get him back then didn’t stop the Suns from signing Jared Dudley the power forward this past summer.

Kellan Olson: One of the best turnarounds on a trade in the NBA this decade is an A+. The Bledsoe sweepstakes were a thing and he had real value, but somehow Ryan McDonough got him being the third team in a Redick deal.

July 27, 2013


Suns acquire: Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee and a conditional 2014 first-round pick (Bogdan Bogdanovic).

Pacers acquire: Luis Scola, cash and a Traded Player exception.

Kevin Zimmerman: Plumlee was the starting center, Green filled in amazingly off the bench and during Bledsoe’s knee injury that year … those are icing on top of the cake that was a first-round pick for Scola, so it’s an A.

Kellan Olson:Another excellent trade that gets an A. Scola was at the peak of his value, but getting a first-round pick for him was a huge win. Add in two players who were key contributors to a 48-win team and it’s a robbery.

August 29, 2013

 Los Angeles Lakers guard Kendall Marshall (12) guards Phoenix Suns guard Ish Smith (3) as he looks for the open in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 30, 2014, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

Suns acquire: Ish Smith and Slava Kravtsov

Bucks acquire: Caron Butler

Kevin Zimmerman: Caron Butler’s most notable performance as a Sun came when the team debuted their current jerseys at Scottsdale Fashion Square, and Slava once told me he was going to “create some damage in the paint.” This trade was most certainly an A. Also, Ish Smith was an above-average third guard, good teammate and all that.

Kellan Olson: Ish Smith was criminally underrated for a good portion of his career and the Suns were the latest team to capitalize on him. Because I am a man of principle, though, I give this trade a C because Butler’s telephone three-point celebration was never done in a Suns uniform.

Oct. 25, 2013

Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) has his shot blocked by Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 1, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Suns acquire: Emeka Okafor, conditional 2014 first-round pick (Tyler Ennis) and cash

Wizards acquire: Marcin Gortat, Shannon Brown, Kendall Marshall, Malcolm Lee

Kevin Zimmerman: Moving smaller contracts off the books and knowing the team was moving in a younger direction beyond Gortat’s looming free agency made this a heck of a deal as Phoenix took on the final year of Okafor’s hefty contract (he hasn’t played a game since). I would’ve given this better than a B- had the Suns not drafted Tyler Ennis in a weird 2014 class that had more misses than hits. But those hits — Rodney Hood 23rd overall, Clint Capela at 25th, Nikola Jokic at 41st and Jordan Clarkson at 46th — were bullseyes.

Kellan Olson: B- for me because the two assets (yes, I said two) in this deal were wasted. Okafor’s huge expiring contract had value, but was never moved. On draft day I was yelling into the emptiness that was my Twitter feed in 2014 for the Suns to take Gary Harris with either No. 14 or No. 18. I was half-right I guess. In a pretty fun “what if?” scenario, Harris, as it turns out, is quite good at basketball, but does that mean the Suns would have never taken Devin Booker? Maybe that makes the Ennis selection an A after all.

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