ESPN’s Pelton: Suns’ Jared Dudley among NBA’s bargain trade targets

Jan 23, 2017, 6:29 PM | Updated: Jan 24, 2017, 11:28 am

Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley, top, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Hollis Thompson durin...

Phoenix Suns' Jared Dudley, top, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Hollis Thompson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Jared Dudley started the season as the Phoenix Suns’ starting power forward.

Seven games in, he lost his starting job. Twenty-three games after that, he lost his spot in the rotation. Little of the two demotions had much to do with Dudley’s play.

And that could mean Dudley is one of the more valuable Suns players when it comes to trade value. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton lists Dudley among the best bargain trade targets across the NBA.

As recently as last season, Dudley was an effective part-time starter for the Washington Wizards. His three-year, $30 million contract is reasonable for a reserve.

Dudley signed that contract seemingly to play with Phoenix rookies Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender for the foreseeable future and with the Suns facing fellow forward P.J. Tucker’s free agency this upcoming offseason.

Tucker’s defensive versatility and rebounding has helped him maintain a key bench role for head coach Earl Watson, while Dudley’s shooting and smarts are redundant next to the combined skillsets of both Tucker and Bender.

But unlike Suns guard Brandon Knight, who has seen his stock drop as he’s struggled off the bench, Dudley put together a strong resume to bolster his value before getting benched.

He is averaging 8.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 22.7 minutes per game this year. He’s shooting 44 percent from three-point range as well.

Now it’s a matter of how the Suns view Dudley’s value. Much of that is tied in with how the team moves forward with Tucker, who has been named in his fair share of trade rumors due to his expiring contract that is small enough at $5.3 million to fit within cap limitations of contending teams.

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ESPN’s Pelton: Suns’ Jared Dudley among NBA’s bargain trade targets