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ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne: Phoenix Suns could follow Clippers’ roster blueprint

LISTEN: Ramona Shelburne, ESPN NBA writer

Four years ago, the Los Angeles Clippers had just finished their fifth straight playoff-less season after posting a 32-50 record.

The Clippers’ roster was dotted by young, talented players, but lacked established superstar talent and veteran leadership.

Sound familiar, Suns fans?

The Clippers did something about it. In December of 2011, they packaged forward Al-FarouqAminu, guard Eric Gordon, center Chris Kaman and a future first-round pick to the New Orleans Hornets in exchange for All-Star point guard Chris Paul and a couple of second-round draft picks.

Since making the trade, the Clippers have qualified for the playoffs each season in the tough Western Conference.

One prominent ESPN NBA insider thinks the 2011 Clippers could serve as a guide for the Phoenix Suns moving forward.

“You’ve been accumulating assets for a long time,” Ramona Shelburne told Bickley and Marotta Tuesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “You build through the draft, you build through trades little by little, incrementally. And then at some point, you package all those assets, you package a bunch of those draft picks or some of your young players and you put them in a package and you get a star.”

It is only fair to note that the Clippers were also the beneficiaries of NBA commissioner David Stern’s ruling that blocked a three-way trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers for “basketball reasons,” but Shelburne does have a point.

The Suns have a roster filled with young players and three extra first-round picks acquired from Cleveland (through Boston) and Miami between now and 2021.

“Phoenix has that same recipe there,” she said. “You have some good, young players that you could include in that kind of a trade, you have a bunch of draft picks.”

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