To deal or to deal.
That is the question the Phoenix Suns are contemplating as the NBA trade deadline approaches on Thursday.
To deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers or to deal with the Miami Heat.
It is a foregone conclusion that the Suns have made the determination that trading Amare Stoudemire is in their best interest.
Now, the difficult part is trying to figure out which team is offering the Suns the best package.
As I have said many many times the Suns have no interest in the Heat’s Michael Beasley long term. But Beasley is the only real asset Miami has outside of Dwayne Wade.
What Miami has that may entice Phoenix to deal is two first-round draft picks this year, their own pick and Toronto’s pick, and you would have to figure they need to offer both to land Stoudemire. Plus, an expiring contract (Quentin Richardson, Udonis Haslem) that would give the Suns cap flexibility going forward. And Beasley, a player the Suns would move at some point before next season.
The Cavaliers can offer a package of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and his expiring contract, second-year player JJ Hickson and their own first-round pick.
Now, the million dollar question is which package is better. Hickson is a player the Suns would want – he is a 6-9, 240-pound power forward and a freak athletically – but not a good shooter. Ilgauskas can possibly be moved to Philadelphia for Andre Iguodala, waived or he can play the season out walk as a free agent giving the Suns cap flexibility.
Beasley is a player the Suns would move either in another trade deadline deal or in the summer. Miami has two first-round picks that will both be somewhere in the middle of the draft. Cleveland has a first-round pick that will most likely be the last pick of the first round.
Both teams have the expiring contracts that will put the Suns in a great position for the free-agent class of 2011, especially when you consider that Jason Richardson’s salary comes off the book that year as well.
Assuming Ilgauskas would not be moved by Phoenix if they acquired him, this trade really comes down to Beasley and what they can get for him in a trade plus two decent first round picks or Hickson and a late first-round pick. I like Hickson over Beasley and Miami’s two picks over Cleveland’s one.
If the Heat are insisting on only offering one of the picks then the choice is clear – the Cavs offer is better.
If Miami is offering both picks then it’s a toss-up.
Either way it looks very much like Amare Stoudemire played his last game in front of fans in Phoenix as a member of the Suns last Wednesday.