ESPN’s Marks talks risk vs. reward for Suns at NBA trade deadline
Do the Phoenix Suns roll with what they’ve got, sticking with that continuity that helped them reach the NBA Finals a year ago?
Or do they recognize and act on the fact that Chris Paul isn’t getting younger, Deandre Ayton’s contract situation beyond this year is murky and it’s time to take a stab at going all-in to win a title in 2022?
The push and pull for general manager James Jones’ front office will be about fighting what’s got them to this amount of success, where Phoenix leads the NBA record-wise (43-10) and looks like a favorite to challenge for a title again. If former NBA executive and current ESPN analyst Bobby Marks had his say, believing in what they’ve got has its benefits.
“You don’t have to touch your core guys. If it’s (Dario) Saric … (Jalen) Smith, you have a first-round pick in 2024 you can move, I think that’s your combination” to get a deal done, Marks told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Tuesday.
“I think if they didn’t do anything at all, I think they’re probably the favorite going into the playoffs based on how they played and the experience of last year. I know we’ll talk about Golden State for awhile … I just look at this (Suns) roster right now, I think they’re deeper than last year, I think they’re better than last year.”
Among the big names Phoenix has been linked to before the Thursday trade deadline are Houston guard Eric Gordon, Indiana center Domantas Sabonis and San Antonio forward Thaddeus Young.
Sabonis is off the table as of Tuesday, as he’s the key piece to a trade between the Pacers that will reportedly see them acquire Tyrese Haliburton from the Sacramento Kings.
Gordon is on a deal that has two years left after he makes $18.2 million total for this season.
He would leap ahead of Cam Payne and Landry Shamet as the third-best guard. While he’s come off the bench a good deal with the Rockets while averaging 14.2 points and three assists per game this season, he’d have to adjust to Phoenix’s system.
“If you go out and get a third-best player on another team and now you’re … asking him to come off the bench and give you spot minutes here, I think that’s a little bit of an adjustment,” Marks said of shaking up the team’s chemistry, pointing to Golden State’s and San Antonio’s past title teams that didn’t make midseason trades.
“But if there is a deal out there, whether it be Gordon or Thaddeus Young to kind of give you more scoring off the bench, I think Gordon would probably be a little bit more appealing because Landry has struggled a little bit,” Marks added. “I think he gives you another scorer, which you certainly need when you get to the playoffs.”