Empire of the Suns Q&A: Jrue Holiday, favorite FA PG, Warren’s future
On the latest Empire of the Suns podcast, Kevin Zimmerman and I answered your questions on the NBA Draft, trade market and free agency.
I picked a few of those out to break down further.
New Orleans’ new head of basketball decisions David Griffin did the expected when introduced, trying to rebuild any value for Anthony Davis and Holiday.
I’m not one to all of a sudden believe trading for Holiday is off the table based on one press conference, but I think what the Los Angeles Clippers have done is going to make other teams believe they can find a delicate balance between tanking and competing for titles.
Let’s get to a potential deal, but first, we need to see what happens with Anthony Davis and what the return is like.
If that return is more about youth and draft picks then it puts the Suns in a better position, but if there’s some Danilo Gallinari- and Lou Williams-type of players attached, maybe the Pelicans ride it out with Holiday if he’s cool with it.
Second, I think this year’s pick needs to be on the table. The sooner the draft pick comes the more valuable it is, as we saw with the unprotected 2021 Miami Heat first rounder. For the sake of tradition, let’s say the Suns pick fourth overall after the NBA Draft Lottery.
That’s your biggest asset in the deal, and the second-biggest would be the cap relief of Tyler Johnson’s $19 million expiring. As it stands, Holiday and Davis are the only two Pelicans getting paid beyond next season. Johnson maintains that vision. I don’t understand why they would want to pay T.J. Warren through 2022 unless they are big fans of his game.
After that, let’s throw in Josh Jackson and Elie Okobo, the two easiest players to deal from the Suns’ perspective that still hold some value as prospects. Again, what the Pelicans get for Davis could dictate the need for those two guys.
Because of The Stepien rule, we will include the 2021 first rounder and we’re only protecting that top-1. After that, it’s unprotected if the Suns somehow land numero uno. The offer is lacking and needs that extra push. Two potential top-five picks in three years should do.
So, we’ve got the fourth pick in this year’s draft, Johnson, Jackson, Okobo and a 2021 top-1 protected first t that’s unprotected in 2022.
Would the Pelicans do this? Probably not, right? There’s not enough juice from a “good player” perspective, but that’s the trade-off in Johnson’s expiring as opposed to someone like Warren. And Warren being the only player the Suns would willingly trade that might be a “good player” should be something to keep in mind for fantasizing potential trades this offseason.
But, again, if the Pelicans receive enough raw basketball talent for Davis, maybe they’re more comfortable with such a development-heavy proposal like this.
I don’t see it but three different potential events could change my stance on that.
It starts at the NBA Draft. In mid-April, it already feels like a lock that it would be Zion Williamson at one and Ja Morant at two for the Suns if they were to land in those spots. Picking in the 3-7 range, however, is wing heavy and that’s where the Suns are most likely picking. If they are there, do they stay in that spot? Is Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland a dark horse for them?
At the start of free agency, Kelly Oubre Jr.’s restricted free agency is the obvious one. If he’s too pricey, keeping Warren around is easier on the Suns’ cap situation and there’s more minutes to fill at small forward.
The situation I keep coming back to is in free agency if the Suns have a deal agreed with on someone likely making eight digits. Let’s use Malcolm Brogdon and Thaddeus Young as examples. With a deal in place for either, the Suns could trade Warren for cap space, since they will be tied down if Oubre re-signs.
Remember, Warren makes an average of over $11 million the next three seasons.
If the Suns don’t draft a wing, lose Oubre in restricted free agency and don’t have anything better to do in free agency, maybe he sticks around. So, as you can see, I’m not putting the odds that high.
To answer your question first, yes.
If you’re not familiar with Satoransky, he’s a nifty player.
At 6-foot-7, Satoransky offers size as a playmaking point guard and has been reliable enough as a defender for the Washington Wizards. He’s not taking a whole lot of threes but a career number of 40.0% on 1.4 attempts a game is encouraging for a 27-year-old who knows when to take those shots.
That shines through in him shooting 48.9% from the field over his career on 11.4 shots a game. That’s because he shot 65% at the rim the last two seasons, and that’s tough to do at guard!
The quintessential Satoransky stat is assist to usage ratio, which Cleaning the Glass has him excelling at, ranking as one of the best at his position in all three of his NBA seasons. That means in low usage situations (14.1% this year) he’s still getting the job done as a playmaker (5.0 assists per game this year).
Basically, he’s a smart, balanced player who you can count on despite not giving him a ton of looks.
He’s my favorite potential free agent point guard target for the Suns. Before you get your hopes up, though, he seems like the type of player a smart team would snag up as a secondary ball-handler. Think Dallas, Indiana, Utah, etc.