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Suns trade grades: Reviewing Ryan McDonough’s 2015-16 deals

LISTEN: Empire of the Suns

Heading into the 2017 NBA trade deadline, we’re reviewing every one of the Phoenix Suns’ trades since general manager Ryan McDonough was hired before the 2013-14 season.

Last season, the Suns traded the Morris twins as a result of the pursuit of LaMarcus Aldridge and then pulled off a draft-day deal with the Kings to acquire the rights to Marquese Chriss.

June 26, 2015

Phoenix Suns forward Jon Leuer (30) drives on Los Angeles Clippers guard Wesley Johnson during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Suns acquire: Jon Leuer

Grizzlies acquire: Andrew Harrison (No. 44 selection in 2015 NBA Draft)

Kevin Zimmerman: I’ll withhold from giving this an A because Leuer is no longer with the team. Still, this is worth a B as the Suns turned a borderline NBA youngster was dealt for a borderline starting power forward.

Kellan Olson: The best case for the value of a second-round pick is being a useful rotation player and Leuer was certainly that in his one year. Like Jared Dudley this year, he was consistently one of the best players for the team and then got benched. If the Suns didn’t get power forward heavy in the draft, they probably re-sign Leuer in my opinion. This is an for me, even if Norman Powell went two picks after Harrison. Ouch.

July 9, 2015

Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) passes around the defense of Phoenix Suns forwards P.J. Tucker and Jon Leuer (30) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Suns acquire: 2020 second-round pick, multiple Traded Players Exceptions

Pistons acquire: Reggie Bullock, Danny Granger and Marcus Morris

Kevin Zimmerman: Looking at this in a very tight vacuum, this trade looks bad. Considering the circumstances, it makes sense. So I give it a C-. Phoenix was unloading salaries to make a run at LaMarcus Aldridge by first signing Tyson Chandler. A run they made, but Aldridge didn’t sign. By the way, Marcus Morris is a solid two-way starting small forward, and giving him up for what turned out to be nada hurts.

Kellan Olson: Same principle here for me. Morris is a fine starter in the NBA and the Suns gave him away for virtually nothing. Problems behind closed doors or not, that’s an F.

Feb. 18, 2016

Phoenix Suns forward Kris Humphries (43) is fouled by Houston Rockets' Trevor Ariza during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016, in Phoenix. The Rockets defeated the Suns 116-100. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Suns acquire: Kris Humphries, DeJuan Blair and a conditional first-round pick (end up No. 13)

Wizards acquire: Markieff Morris

Kevin Zimmerman: Because I didn’t knock the Dragic trade too much for the Suns having the responsibility of putting themselves in such a position, I won’t do that here. McDonough gets a B- for salvaging a first-round pick for Morris.

Kellan Olson: Continuing with the same theme, Morris is a good basketball player and boy do the Suns need those right now, especially on affordable deals. On the other side, like Kevin, I look away from what caused the trade and grade it on it’s value, which is a B for me. A lottery pick for Morris at the time was a shockingly good return.

June 23, 2016

Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss dunks during the third quarter of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Friday, Oct. 7, 2016. The Blazers won 115-110. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

Suns acquire: Marquese Chriss’ draft rights

Kings acquire: Rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic, No. 13 pick George Papagiannis’ draft rights and No. 28 pick Skal Labissiere’s draft rights and 2020 second-round pick (from Pistons’ in Marcus Morris deal)

Kevin Zimmerman: Obviously a lot has to play out here, so let’s go with a C+. Chriss’ upside certainly still makes this appear like a solid move, but looking past who the Kings drafted, the Suns could have played a numbers game in a draft where the 11th pick could turn out big as much as the 40th. Pascal Siakam (27th overall), Dejounte Murray (29th), Malcolm Brogdon (36th), Patrick McCaw (38th) Paul Zipser (47th) are late picks who have all already earned their first NBA starts. And Bogdonovic just might be a talent as well.

Kellan Olson: One of the most speculated aspects regarding assets in the NBA that rarely ever happens, especially with draft picks, is combining them together and turning them into something much better. McDonough pulled this off in what looked like a seven-to-nine player draft depending on who you talked to, all with assets he acquired in previous deals: the Luis Scola pick, the Isaiah Thomas pick and the picks for the Morrii. An A- for me instead of an A because giving up that much for a high-risk prospect like Chriss is, well, a risk.

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