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Reviews are in, and Suns earn mostly positive grades for Tucker trade

Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan, left, is fouled as he drives at Phoenix Suns' P.J. Tucker during second half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP)

NBA writers and analysts from several sources gave the Suns mostly B grades for their trade of forward P.J. Tucker.

Phoenix sent Tucker, 31, to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for two second-round picks and Jared Sullinger.

The Suns received generally positive grades for the deal, even though they were unable to get the first-round pick they were reportedly asking for.

James Herbert of CBS, giving the Suns a B, pointed out that other teams got equal packages for far better assets.

This trade isn’t about Sullinger, who might be able to help the Suns if he gets in game shape. Tucker was a goner in July anyway, and the front office wanted to get something back for him before he left. Phoenix surely wanted a first-rounder, but getting two second-round picks for a role player who is turning 32 years old in May can’t be a bad thing. For comparison, the Philadelphia 76ers essentially got two second-rounders for 22-year-old center Nerlens Noel before the deadline.

Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch also gave the Suns a B, focusing on the fact that Tucker will likely see his first playoff action with his new team.

Tucker was the heart and soul of this Phoenix squad, and the Suns wanted to do right by sending him to a contender at the deadline. Getting a couple of second-round picks for the hard-nosed veteran is a solid return.

The Suns also got a B+ from Dan Favale of Bleacher Report. Favale brought up the point that Suns GM Ryan McDonough was part of the Boston Celtics’ front office when they drafted Sullinger in 2012.

Two second-round picks are a sound return for a soon-to-be 32-year-old hotfooting his way toward free agency. And Jared Sullinger is no mere throw-in. As The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted, general manager Ryan McDonough was a member of the Celtics’ front office when they drafted the tweener big.

Sullinger has yet to validate himself as a playmaking 4 or 5, and his conditioning remains an issue. But he’s only 24, his $5.6 million will be wiped off the books in July and Phoenix gets the rest of the season to see if he can be a part of its bigger picture.

There were a few people who took a more pessimistic view of the Suns’ return. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gave the Suns a C, pointing out that Phoenix failed to get the deal they very clearly wanted.

The Suns have to be disappointed that no better offer for Tucker apparently materialized. Phoenix was reportedly holding out for a first-round pick, and that was too much to expect for a role player in the final season of his contract. But I’m stunned the Suns couldn’t even get a second-round pick in the top half of the draft.

Pelton did concede that the Suns had no reason to keep Tucker, and getting anything back for him counts for something.

While the Suns received average or above average grades for the deal, Toronto got straight A’s for its part. The Raptors added to their depth as they prepare to challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers without giving up anything they need.

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