The NBA trade deadline is at the doorstep and if it’s anything like last year for the Phoenix Suns, don’t expect general manager Ryan McDonough and company to stand pat.
Heck, McDonough has already said so .
So in the final hours before decision-making time, let’s get a grasp on what Phoenix has to offer. Along with all their own first-round picks, the Suns have stockpiled assets. They own a lightly protected Cleveland pick for 2016, a lightly protected 2018 pick from Miami, a 2020 second-rounder from Detroit and a 2021 first-round pick from Miami. The Suns also have the rights to combo guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who could leave Europe for the NBA next season.
But what about the current players?
Here’s a completely unscientific and subjective ranking of the Suns’ best known assets based on the value Phoenix could get in return for an exchange.
13. Sonny Weems
He returned from Europe with a refined skillset but has only proven a reasonably capable defender. Offensively, Weems has struggled with the speed of the game, though with more rhythm could prove a viable three-point threat. His partially guaranteed deal next year may be worth throwing into a trade.
12. Ronnie Price
Anyone need a backup point guard? Price would provide a playoff team with steadiness and good defense, and coming off a toe injury for the season’s stretch run makes him at least a potential trade target for other teams. Phoenix wouldn’t get much in return.
11. Tyson Chandler
Chandler’s value is the most difficult to describe and depends on how you view him. At this point, he’s mostly a large salary. Any value coming back the Suns’ way would most certainly be in the form of cap relief — or an expiring star player should younger players higher on this list are included. If any team had assurance Chandler’s miles aren’t wearing on him or if his contract wasn’t so long and so freshly inked, he’d be higher.
10. Jon Leuer
In extended minutes Leuer showed to be a very good spot-up shooter and more versatile than we expected when he was traded from Memphis during the 2015 draft. He’s a reserve forward who could fit on most any team, but a team that would need him to play more than 15 minutes a night (a non-playoff team) isn’t giving up much for him.
9. P.J. Tucker
A three-and-D role player who could use a little more three, Tucker fits into any locker room. The combo forward, who has been a good soldier for the Suns during tough times, could be had for a contract or a second-round pick. A smaller role outside of Phoenix could bring the most out of him.
8. Mirza Teletovic
Analytically, Teletovic could arguably be considered a top-5 shooter for the 2015-16 season. His deal runs out after this year, and that could stop a team from making a quick-trigger exchange with the Suns. Stretch forwards like the Pelicans’ Ryan Anderson and the Magic’s Channing Frye are available and more coveted, though Teletovic might be a better bargain as a rental.
7. Markieff Morris
Disgruntled or not, it wouldn’t be entirely crazy to think a team would give up a first-round pick, solid role player or underdeveloped youngster for Morris, whose contract is especially reasonable for a starting-quality forward. But yeah, his stock has been better.
6. T.J. Warren
His defensive chops haven’t shown as the Suns have insisted. Warren improved his three-point shooting but gets to the line too little to complement his mid-range efficiency. Still, he gets buckets on a rookie deal and better days are ahead.
5. Archie Goodwin
Why ahead of Warren? Goodwin’s shown more flashes of upside on both ends of the floor. He’s younger and did more with his opportunity in the last few months (unfortunately, Warren’s foot injury didn’t help his cause). The 21-year-old has taken strides in his decision-making while running point, and his jumper, while broken, doesn’t lack in confidence when everything else is going well.
4. Alex Len
The center’s work in the weight room is finally showing through. At the worst, he’s a rim-protector and rebounder. At best, the 22-year-old’s pick-and-pop game has shown signs of finally breaking through. If he sheds the injury-prone label, he is a future starter in this league.
3. Brandon Knight
Knight’s ugly season didn’t do him any favors. He’s a negative on defense and, at least under Jeff Hornacek, struggled to run an offense. Plus, he just signed a five-year, $70 million contract. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old is an above average spot-up shooter and can get his own shot off at most places on the floor. An important skillset, even if it’s inefficient.
2. Eric Bledsoe
Knee injuries, a hefty contract and turnover problems aside, Bledsoe still has quite the value as a playmaking, two-way starting guard. He’s not the No. 1 option or even a No. 2 on a good team, but he’d be a upgrade at starter for nearly any team that doesn’t have an All-Star at both guard spots. The three meniscus injuries to his knees remain the biggest red flag and drop him below Booker at this point.
1. Devin Booker
Though his efficiency has dropped off since taking over a playmaking role, the Suns’ 19-year-old rookie is still hitting a 40 percent clip from three while displaying adequate-to-solid playmaking skills — as seen in a rise in assist percentage of 8.8 to 18.9 since Knight’s injury. As good a shooter he is, his stock is quite high because of the latter. Aside from poor defensive ratings expected out of such a young player, playing so well in the Splash Bros. era probably boosts the perception. He is the closest thing to an untouchable.
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