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Suns planning to pursue Avery Bradley in free agency

Detroit Pistons guard Avery Bradley (22) drives on Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (31) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Phoenix Suns are planning on going after Detroit Pistons shooting guard Avery Bradley in free agency, according to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s John Gambadoro.

Bradley is reportedly available in trade talks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He will be an unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason.

According to Wojnarowski, Bradley is part of a trade package on the way to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for Blake Griffin.

This season, Bradley is averaging 15.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game for the Pistons.

The 27-year-old is known as one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, shining for the Boston Celtics in their last two seasons as one of the better two-way guards in the league.

Serving as a defensive pest in the backcourt, Bradley’s role in Phoenix next to Devin Booker would greatly increase the team’s defensive ability to contain key offensive options at guard.

He would also be able to space the floor, as he’s shot above 35 percent from 3-point range for the past four seasons, currently at 38.1 percent in Detroit.

Bringing in Bradley, of course, would effectively give Booker more to do offensively, pushing him toward a primary initiator role as the team’s point guard.

Bradley, however, has seen a noticeable drop in his defensive stats per 100 possessions.

As an on-ball defender, though, he’s still nearly as good as it gets when it comes to covering guards. According to ESPN Stats & Info, no guard has been better at isolation defending this season

Bradley has also had a noticeable drop in his field goal percentage, going down from 46.3 percent last year to 40.9 percent this year.

He was traded to the Pistons last offseason with a 2019 second-round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris.

According to Gambadoro, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough was instrumental in the Celtics drafting Bradley No. 19 overall in 2010.

The Suns will have the space to be aggressive in free agency, something AZCentral’s Scott Bordow reports is the plan.

They could have up to $32 million in cap space if they were to rid themselves of non-guaranteed contracts, but could also be at $23 million if those contracts — like Alan Williams and Tyler Ulis — were to stay.

Veterans Jared Dudley and Tyson Chandler will also be on expiring contracts next season, with Dudley at $9.5 million and Chandler at $13.5 million.

The biggest contract on the team is slated to be Brandon Knight, who will make $14.6 million next season and $15.6 million the year after.

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