Suns to acquire Korver, trade Jackson and Melton to Grizzlies
The cleansing and purging of former Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough’s mistakes continued Wednesday.
Phoenix traded Josh Jackson, De’Anthony Melton and two draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for veteran shooter Kyle Korver and second-year point guard Jevon Carter, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The picks traded are the 2020 second-rounder and a conditional 2021 second-rounder.
John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station reports there’s a strong chance Phoenix buys out Korver’s contract.
The Suns have agreed to a three-year, $51 million deal for point guard Ricky Rubio, leaving them short of the cap space required to fit Rubio’s contract on the books for next season. Jackson’s 2019-20 salary of $7 million comes off the books, now leaving the Suns enough room to add Rubio.
Korver, 38, could provide a veteran presence and a bench shooter. Last season in 54 games with the Utah Jazz, he averaged 9.1 points and hit 38% from three-point range. Carter appeared in 39 games as a rookie and shot 30%, averaging 4.4 points and 1.8 assists per game.
The decision to move on from Jackson followed multiple off-court incidents.
This offseason, he was arrested and charged with resisting arrest and escape while attending a music festival in Florida on May 10. It’s also been learned he has been accused in Maricopa County Family Court of exposing his 4-month-old child to marijuana, according to court documents.
During the 2018-19 season, Jackson also skipped a scheduled public appearance at a local grocery store and was fined by the team.
The 22-year-old Jackson has also been a disappointment on the hardwood as a top-5 pick in the 2017 draft.
As a rookie, Jackson started alongside T.J. Warren and Devin Booker on the wing to start the season, defending power forwards on some nights before his rookie year — and the Suns’ season — changed abruptly with the firing of head coach Earl Watson and promotion of interim Jay Triano three games into the year.
Jackson was benched in early January by Triano and according to the interim coach responded well after an honest talk between coach and player. Over the 77 games Jackson played as a rookie, which included 37 starts, he averaged 13.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game on 41.7% shooting from the field. In a closely-monitored department given his outlook as a draft prospect, Jackson shot 26.3% from 3-point range on 2.8 attempts a game.
In year two, the hope was Jackson would settle in a bit more as a sophomore and play less erratically under another new head coach, Igor Kokoskov. The opposite happened, as Jackson was one of the team’s worst players.
Jackson’s decision-making as a ball-handler never improved and the same went for his defense. His numbers were similar, with 41.3% shooting and averages of 11.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
One notable improvement was as a three-point shooter. Jackson shot 32.4% on 2.8 attempts a night, which included an encouraging 38% number after the All-Star break.
With two years left on Jackson’s four-year rookie deal, Phoenix had picked up the $7 million on his contract for the 2019-20 season last summer. He also had a $8.9 million team option for 2020-21 they would have been forced to exercise by the start of this coming season.
Melton appeared in 54 games as a rookie. The 21-year-old averaged 5.0 points and 3.2 assists to go with 1.4 steals per game.