EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns trade notebook: GM says next stretch will dictate how Phoenix acts at deadline

Jan 25, 2017, 5:19 PM | Updated: Jan 26, 2017, 11:23 am

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng, left, and Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler, right, b...

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Gorgui Dieng, left, and Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler, right, battle for possession during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

LISTEN: Ryan McDonough, Suns' General Manager

It’s now less than a month off from the Feb. 23 NBA trade deadline. But as reports become more frequent, we want to keep up with what might be an active trade deadline for the Phoenix Suns. Every Wednesday after general manager Ryan McDonough joins Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, we’ll recap the past week of news with a little analysis while also riffing off comments from those around the NBA, who speak on such matters.

First, the news:

• The Clippers reportedly offered a second-round pick for P.J. Tucker, but Phoenix is holding out to acquire something more for a player who, as our Kellan Olson notes, has quite a bit of value despite his flaws. After all, McDonough said last week the Suns aren’t keen on acquiring more second-round picks.

• Earl Watson told one Cleveland writer that Tyson Chandler is “not going anywhere.” However, it’s not exactly his choice, as McDonough said Wednesday.

• ESPN’s Kevin Pelton listed Jared Dudley as a player he believes teams would be interested in.

NEXT 12 GAMES WILL DICTATE HOW SUNS PLAY TRADE DEADLINE

Take McDonough’s following comments with a grain of salt considering his job at this point in the year is to make other NBA executives think he’s not willing to part with his players, thereby hoping they throw bigger offers at the Suns.

The Phoenix general manager told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo the next 12 games before the trade deadline will dictate how the Suns operate just before said deadline.

“They’re very important, obviously, in determining whether we’re a viable team to potentially compete for and get into the playoffs this year or not,” McDonough said. “If we’re within striking distance of the eighth seed at the trade deadline, that will probably help determine our approach. And if we’re not, if we’re not a viable playoff contender, that will probably determine it the other way.

“We’re kind of open to either direction at this point.”

The Suns are $4 million below the salary floor, McDonough said. He reiterated the Suns won’t make drastic trades that won’t help the young team’s future.

So where in the standings must Phoenix be to act like a viable playoff team?

“If we are within a couple games — I don’t know if that’s two if it’s three — that probably leads us to either hold the line or look at add a little bit to get in the playoffs,” McDonough said.

ABOUT CHANDLER’S TRADE VALUE …

McDonough called it “very unlikely” that the Suns trade center Tyson Chander but added, “I never say never — never take anything off the table.”

If a team were to throw a relatively decent first-round pick at Phoenix for Chandler, that just might make the Suns think about trading their aging — yet very productive — big man.

However, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton, who joined Burns and Gambo on Tuesday, said the center market might have more supply than demand.

“Chandler is a tougher sell,” Pelton said. “That’s another place where the supply really exceeds the demand right now. I think you’re going to be looking at (acquiring) someone like (Mavericks center) Andrew Bogut, who’s in the last year of his contract.”

WE’RE STILL A WAY OFF

While the phones are ringing, according to McDonough, the offers aren’t exactly overwhelming.

“Usually the offers a little one-sided at this time,” he said, adding the deals become “more realistic” closer to the deadline.

McDonough added he was surprised about seeing so little activity with so many teams trying to determine if their playoff hopes are realistic.

ON THE VALUE OF KNIGHT, DUDLEY AND TUCKER

Pelton said Brandon Knight’s value is hurt by a supply-and-demand issue when it comes to trigger-happy lead guards.

“If somebody gets hurt, something like that, I think that’s probably the best chance of getting value for him by the trade deadline,” the ESPN Insider said.

Dudley, he added, just might net a late first-round pick for a desperate enough team, but he’s more likely to garner those second-round picks Phoenix isn’t so high upon.

As for Tucker, Pelton agrees with most everyone that there’s interest across the league. He listed the Raptors, Clippers and Thunder as teams who could use a versatile defensive forward. But as is every other trade offer at this point, nothing coming in late January is likely enough to sway the Suns into making a deal at the moment.

Listen to Burns and Gambo’s interview with ESPN’s Kevin Pelton here.

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