There seems to be one certainty for the 2014 Suns draft: Four players from this draft will not be on the Suns’ training camp roster.
The Suns have four draft picks next Thursday night. No one wants to draft a player that’s not good enough to make the team. If all four players make the team, Jeff Hornacek would have a nightmare trying to develop four players when he already has a young team.
Due to this, Ryan McDonough has plenty of options. The correct choice on which direction to go will determine the Suns’ fate for the next three years.
Option No. 1: KEVIN LOVE
The Celtics have the most to offer Minnesota. Boston also seems to be more to Love’s liking. The issue is not who will trade for Love, but who can sign him to an extension. Love’s contract ends following 2014-15.
For a one-year rental, he’s worth a late first-round pick for a team that needs one more piece. To a team like the Suns, he’s still worth a first-round pick (IND’s pick from the Scola trade) but Minnesota also needs to take a bad contract off of the Suns’ hands.
If you’re getting Love to agree to an extension before the trade, the price skyrockets. It might be a pick and a player or two of the first-round picks. He’s worth it but he’s never hinted he wants to come to Phoenix.
Option No. 2: PAYNE AND FUTURE PICKS
Adreian Payne is my Kawhi Leonard of this draft. Leonard is the player I wanted the Suns to draft and they didn’t listen. I think we all wish they would have. Payne does everything. Once he’s in the fold at number 14, now you can listen to some other teams. Keep in mind, this year’s draft is stacked. If the Suns are willing to move any of the other three picks, it must be for a pick higher in next year’s draft.
Obviously, Phoenix can’t predict next year’s outcome. They can put conditions on a draft pick they do take from their trading partner. Take Detroit for an example. They’re a weak team with no first-round picks. They might want to move into the first round. The Suns could make a deal where Phoenix has the option of claiming Detroit’s first-round pick at any point in the next few years. If Detroit succeeds, you simply pass on their pick. If they go in the tank, you take it.
Option No. 3: PICK AND PARK
I don’t like scenarios that have the Suns passing on Payne, but (from what I’ve heard and not seen) Dario Saric is all that and a beer (why do we say “…a bag of chips” when everyone would rather have a beer than chips?).
If Saric is available at 14, I believe Suns fans are smart enough to accept a player as the first pick when he doesn’t play this year. Keep Saric in Europe. Let him get another year under his belt and fill out his body more to prepare for the physicality of the NBA. Use the other two first-round picks to get a player that helps immediately and a developmental player with the late pick from Indiana.
Option No. 4: THE DREAM
Now I’m lost in a world that doesn’t exist, but why not raise the bar and seek a little Love and Payne? If Minnesota would accept #18, #27 & #50 for Kevin Love and Love accepts the contract extension, Phoenix could use #14 on Adreian Payne. As we all know, you can’t have true Love without a little Payne.