Whether you want to point to youth, injuries, underachievement or coaching, by now it’s very apparent that whatever the Phoenix Suns have built is not working.
Entering play Wednesday, they are 14-32. The Suns are closer to the bottom of the Western Conference standings than the No. 8 playoff seed, and it’s difficult to envision them turning things around as currently constructed.
So, when Suns GM Ryan McDonough was asked by Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Wednesday if some moves may be in the team’s future, he understandably acknowledged the possibility as the Feb. 18 trade deadline approaches.
“I think we’ll be active, I think we’ll be active for sure,” he said. “Will we do a deal or how many deals will we do, I don’t know at this point. The deadline is three weeks from tomorrow and usually the conversations at this point are just kind of two teams feeling each other out, seeing what teams may be looking to do, what they may be looking to add positionally in terms of draft picks or what have you.”
McDonough added those conversations have been going on, but noted the week before the deadline is when talks tend to heat up and deals get done.
“So yeah, I think we’ll be active,” he said. “We’re not going to act like everything’s OK or like we don’t need to do anything to reposition our team going forward. But will we do a deal or how many deals will we do, I couldn’t tell you at this point.”
McDonough’s willingness to shake up the roster is understandable given the team’s record and apparent dysfunction. After Phoenix’s 113-103 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night — the second time the Sixers beat the Suns this season — head coach Jeff Hornacek voiced his frustration by talking about how their opponent’s penchant for shooting 3-pointers was talked about with the players but not listened to.
“That was part of our scouting report about certain things we were supposed to do against these guys, and (the players) didn’t do it,” he said. “That’s what gets frustrating at times, coaches put together a plan and you’ve got to follow it, or else you’re just wasting our time.”
The coach did not call out any specific players, but he doesn’t have to for people to realize that at this point, the Suns almost have to make a trade. And that, unfortunately, could put McDonough in a precarious position trying to negotiate a great deal with another team who knows a deal must be made.
However, he does not see it as a problem.
“I don’t think it’s as difficult as some people would imagine, and the reason I say that is unless you have a player whose contract is expiring and will be an unrestricted free agent, and this is a situation we went through with (Goran) Dragic last year,” he said. “That is a little more stressful if you feel like you have to do something.
“In our situation, we could do something with some of the players with multiple years left on their contract, or we could choose not to. It’s not like we have a gun to our head and are forced to.”
McDonough added there are of course preferences for what they would do with regards to who they would like to trade.
“But I think, again, if you don’t have control over the player and he’s going into unrestricted free agency in July, that’s the difficult time where you feel like you may have to make a deal,” he said. “In our position, looking at our roster, I don’t necessarily feel that way.
“But like I said, our preference at this point is to probably make at least one deal, and maybe make multiple ones depending on what’s available.”