Phoenix Suns forward/center Channing Frye returned to the team after missing all of last season and has made his mark as a starter and a veteran presence, but Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports his name was involved in trade talks earlier in the season.
More specifically, the Suns talked with the Houston Rockets about various three-team deals revolving around center Omer Asik, who was a starter last season but moved to the bench after the Rockets acquired Dwight Howard over the summer.
The Rockets were more actively looking to move Asik, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, in November and December. Frye’s name was apparently in the mix, but Lowe says none of the trade scenarios had the 7-foot Asik coming to Phoenix.
Entering Friday, Frye is averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.8 percent from the field and 42.8 percent on 3-pointers. Asik is averaging 4.4 points and 6.8 rebounds in 17 games this year. As a starter last year, he posted 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game on 54.1 percent shooting while playing in all 82 contests.
In the same article, Lowe talks about several options the Suns can explore now that emerging star Eric Bledsoe is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus.
The Grantland writer says if Phoenix wants to go back to “tanking” and improving their draft positioning — as was presumed to be the plan before the season began — the team can explore options for trading point guard Goran Dragic.
Lowe says many playoff-contending teams could use Dragic’s services as a backup point guard, but that his salary may ultimately be too high for such a role. The writer mentions the struggling Detroit Pistons and says the Suns could ask for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but that exchanging Dragic may come at too big of a salary cap hit for Detroit.
He says the Suns don’t necessarily need to hit the panic button now that Bledsoe is sidelined.
The Suns would appear well equipped to survive Bledsoe’s absence. That’s a nice benefit of having two starting point guards playing like All-Stars. Phoenix has outscored opponents by 3.4 points per 100 possessions overall, per NBA.com…If they can trudge along at .500 without (Bledsoe) — and the surface numbers suggest they can — they’ll finish with 45 wins, in the thick of a playoff race no one thought they’d be in even at full strength.
Lowe ultimately says he’s “rooting for” the Suns to hold onto Frye and Dragic this season, and for them to simply try to upgrade their point guard depth. He mention’s Washington’s Eric Maynor, Detroit’s Will Bynum, Denver’s Andre Miller and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez as possible targets.
If the Suns do want to make a trade for a point guard, they can avoid trading any of their core players by offering one of their many draft picks (either first or second round) — most of which they acquired through various trades before the season began.