Do what’s worked before.
General manager Ryan McDonough appears to be taking that advice to heart in building the Phoenix Suns. As an assistant general manager for the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2007, he and the rest of the Danny Ainge-led front office turned a trove of young players and picks into that year’s version of the superteam.
With a flurry of moves, Boston teamed Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen with Paul Pierce, leading to the Celtics’ 2008 NBA Championship. If that’s one of several ways to build a superteam, them ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh sees the Suns having the potential to follow the same path.
He named Phoenix the runner-up in chasing the 2008 Celtics model of building, just behind the current Boston team.
There’s no doubt that the Suns will be lurking in case a disgruntled star makes noise next season. Like Boston, the Suns figure to keep a close eye on New Orleans, but Kristaps Porzingis, Blake Griffin and Klay Thompson are all names to watch down the line.
Haberstroh, of course, is attempting predict the next disgruntled stars before they even become tradeable.
New Orleans may be facing a crossroads soon if the pairing of big men DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis doesn’t develop into a winning recipe. Porzingis seemed ready to become a trade asset before the Knicks fired front office leader Phil Jackson.
Griffin’s Clippers could be blown up if the post-Chris Paul era doesn’t begin well, and money is on Klay Thompson to be the first key piece of the Warriors’ current superteam to jump ship.
While those situations have yet to play out, how do the Suns find themselves in a position to potentially land the next available star player via trade?
For one, Phoenix has been involved in plenty of big trade rumors over the past year because McDonough has stockpiled assets with young players like Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss. Phoenix also has all of its upcoming draft picks plus two from the Miami Heat via the Goran Dragic trade.
Several of those pieces could be included for an All-Star that could be paired with Booker, for example.
It would mirror the Celtics’ 2007 trade of a package centered around youngster Jeff Green going to Seattle for Allen and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis. Boston followed that up by acquiring Garnett for rising center Al Jefferson, a few role players and two first-round picks.
Why does Haberstroh think the Suns could be set up for a blockbuster deal? It’s helped that McDonough went as far as admitting he’s been involved in trade talks involving All-Stars. The timing, he said, just hasn’t been right.
There are other ways to build a superteam, of course.
LeBron James’ 2011 Miami Heat team was simply about drawing Chris Bosh and James to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. The earlier versions of the Warriors’ superteam was simply about winning the NBA Draft before the 2017 version became a hybrid of two models with the signing of free agent Kevin Durant.
As for now, the Suns remain hopeful that their superteam potential will grow out of the players McDonough has drafted over the last few years.
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