Wanted, veteran help: Draft-day trade targets for the Suns to consider
Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough is poised to make moves this summer.
Devin Booker is ready to go, and adding veteran pieces around him, Josh Jackson and the No. 1 NBA Draft pick has been a goal of the team that’s determined to move the win-count in the right direction by at least double-digits comparing last year to 2018-19.
So the possibility that Phoenix considers trading its No. 16 draft pick for an established veteran lingers as June 21 nears.
Let’s review a list of potential trade targets for the Suns.
All of the players below have contracts that will expire after the 2018-19 season or at least have a team option or non-guaranteed 2019-20 year remaining. That’s because those players are potentially going to get traded by their own teams, who might lose them for nothing. On the other side of potential trades, Phoenix probably doesn’t want to tie up much more cap space beginning two years down the road, when Booker’s potential max contract extension kicks in and the Suns attempt to sign other free agents.
Remember, salaries must match up in any trade — the No. 16 pick counts as $0 — so the Suns would need to also include players in a two-team trade or involve multiple teams to make the moving pieces add up. That’s where expiring contracts like Jared Dudley’s or Tyson Chandler’s could perhaps get involved.
Jonathon Simmons, SF, Magic
Phoenix reportedly was close to a Chandler-Simmons trade when the perimeter pest was with the San Antonio Spurs, but the Spurs backed out of it. So the Suns like his abilities. He struggled from three-point range last season (34 percent) but averaged 13.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 47 percent overall for Orlando.
Making $6 million in 2018-19 with a $5.7 million non-guaranteed contract the following year, the 28-year-old provides value and a winning attitude that catapulted him from the G League into the NBA three years ago with the Spurs.
Kenneth Faried, F, Nuggets
It seems that the Suns have been linked to Faried multiple times over the past few seasons, and for good reason. Denver made Faried the odd man out by signing Paul Millsap to join Nikola Jokic in the frontcourt. Meanwhile, Phoenix hasn’t seen enough improvement to think they can make a leap next season by leaning heavily on Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss at power forward.
Faried is limited in what he can do — rebounding and rim-rolling — and on a $13.8 million expiring deal. It’s easier to imagine him fitting in a frontcourt with potential No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton stretching the floor from his center spot until you look at what might be a poor defensive duo.
Faried’s value slots him something close to the No. 16 pick after he averaged just 5.9 points and 4.8 rebounds in 32 games last season.
One issue: The Nuggets seem desperate enough to unload him that they are apparently willing to offload his salary by packaging it with the 14th overall pick, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Get a third team involved and maybe it’s workable for the Suns and Nuggets.
Garrett Temple, G, Kings
Temple has an $8 million player option and at 32 years old is one of the less-appreciated players in the league. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged career highs of 8.4 points and 39 percent three-point shooting with Sacramento last season and is an underrated perimeter menace on the defensive end.
Alec Burks, G, Jazz
The 26-year-old has never broken out after averaging double digits in points per game for three years in a row (2013-16). His $11.5 million expiring contract could be swapped by a Utah team that’s loaded at guard with Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell and Dante Exum all aboard. Burks hasn’t been the most efficient scorer the last few years, shooting below 42 percent the last four seasons. But in 2013-14, he averaged a career-high 14.0 points and added 2.7 assists per game while shooting 46 percent overall.
Jeremy Lin, PG, Nets
On a $12.5 million expiring contract, the Brooklyn point guard is coming off a ruptured patella tendon injury he injured in the first game of 2017-18. Phoenix needs point guards, but it’s hard to imagine them trading a No. 16 pick for Lin coming off injury, let alone the Nets trading him considering his close relationship with coach Kenny Atkinson.
Jerryd Bayless, G, Sixers
The St. Mary’s High School product would return home on a $8.6 million deal and provide secondary ball handling and decent-enough three-point shooting (37 percent). He averaged 7.9 points and 1.4 assists in 39 games last year. For a team like Philadelphia looking to create as much cap space as possible, they might be the team giving up an asset to deal off Bayless, as he barely played last season.
Al-Farouq Aminu, Blazers
Portland desperately needs to shed salaries to keep up with the Western Conference powers while providing flexibility into the future. Aminu’s $7 million expiring deal would bring Phoenix a switchable, rebounding combo forward who can occasionally hit from long range.
DeMarre Carroll, F, Nets
He’s on a $15.4 million expiring contract for this coming season, which might make him immovable or in the same space as Bayless where the Suns would be getting another asset instead of giving up one to acquire Carroll. He averaged 13.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in Brooklyn last season and could bring decent spot-up shooting and an edge as a versatile defender at 6-foot-8 and 215 pounds.
Lance Thomas, F, Knicks
Thomas is a classic “is what he is” type of combo forward who can play solid bench minutes and shoot well from three. He’ll make $7.1 million in 2018-19 and has a non-guaranteed $7.6 million price tag in 2019-20. Is he better than Jared Dudley? Probably not.
Alex Abrines, SF, Thunder
The quick-trigger wing and doer of few other things will make $5.5 million before unrestricted free agency after this season.
Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets
Walker is the biggest name on this list but on a $12 million expiring contract. One would think it’d take a lot more than just the No. 16 pick to nab him. The 28-year-old was legitimately pretty darn good by averaging 22.1 points and 5.6 assists per game last season, but he’s soon about to be past his prime. Phoenix probably doesn’t want to financially tie itself down years out by trading a lot for him and then cornering themselves into re-signing him.