Report: Suns have ‘explored the possibility’ of dealing Dudley, Chandler
A commitment to keeping the status quo from last season’s 24-win season meant the Phoenix Suns didn’t attack free agency by signing veterans to fill in the team’s holes.
Two remaining veterans, Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler, might find that concerning. And while both expressed their patience in playing for a team that is focused on developing its players 25 years old and younger, that doesn’t mean the Suns wouldn’t be against trading them if offered the right price.
Sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that Phoenix has “explored the possibility of moving” the two veterans, adding that the Suns would also listen to trade offers involving point guard Eric Bledsoe. Whether that exploration is recent or a year in the past isn’t clear.
Lowe offered the tidbit in his preseason NBA tier ratings, in which he has the Suns listed under lottery teams in the Western Conference.
This all about the development of the college team within the NBA team: Can Dragan Bender show something, and get real time as a stretch center? How good is Josh Jackson already? Does Marquese Chriss realize the object of defense? Can he hone his 3-point shot? Does the ball look bigger in Tyler Ulis’ hands than it has in any player’s since Muggsy Bogues?
Dudley and Chandler remain valuable voices in the locker room, but their roles could also be viewed as impeding the growth of the Suns’ young players.
As Lowe notes, neither the team nor its two veteran voices have much urgency to force a trade.
Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough said 2016 lottery picks Bender and Chriss are more suited to play center this year, and the Suns have been experimenting with using them side-by-side in practices and during the Prescott Valley scrimmage to wrap training camp.
Dudley has not been connected to as nearly as many trade rumors as Bledsoe or Chandler over the past season.
He is recovering from toe surgery and said at media day he has no need to rush back with Bender and Chriss available to take on more minutes. Dudley, the 32-year-old power forward, has spoken often about his role as mentor for the Suns — and he’s expressed a willingness to take a backseat to younger players.
Chandler, who last season turned down at least one opportunity to be traded, left the door open to consider leaving but has expressed his comfort with remaining in Phoenix despite the team making few moves this offseason.
At media day, Chandler said Suns coach Earl Watson’s talks with him about his place on the team convinced him to embrace the current situation.
“Our personal talks came from mistakes that he made at his point in his career, that he wished that he hadn’t (made),” Chandler said in September. “One of them was him being in OKC with a young Russell Westbrook and a young Kevin Durant. And he was at the place in his career, you know, ‘get me the hell out of here.’ Later on, clearly, he looked back and reflected, and he’s like, ‘I could’ve had a bigger impact there when I was there. I could have grew with those young guys.’
“We had to have that personal talk of, ‘you’re here, take advantage of it because you’re going to have an imprint on these guys’ life.’ That really woke me up.”
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