Hornets wing Jalen McDaniels has Suns showing interest, per report

Jan 10, 2023, 8:37 AM

Judging by the public rumor mill, trade discussions regarding Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder remain at a slog a month out from the NBA trade deadline.

But a new team to watch from Phoenix’s perspective is now on the radar as the league standings clarify which franchises are in a messy postseason race and which might be ready to call themselves sellers.

The Charlotte Hornets at 11-30 are the third-worst team in the NBA, and that makes them candidates to sell. Among their valuable assets is 24-year-old wing Jalen McDaniels.

“Sources tell me that the Suns have emerged as a team with interest in McDaniels, among several others in recent weeks,” Shams Charania reported on Bally Sports’ The Rally.

Charania adds that McDaniels in theory could be weaved into a potential three-team trade involving Crowder, who on an expiring deal would likely want to be bought out or directed to a playoff-caliber team.

Monetarily, it would seemingly require another team to get a deal done with Crowder on a $10.2 million contract for this season and McDaniels making only $1.9 million.

Furthermore, McDaniels’ own contract situation raises questions for the Suns if they are indeed interested.

The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward, like Phoenix forward Cam Johnson, is in his fourth NBA season and will be a free agent this coming summer.

Unlike Johnson, McDaniels was not a first-round pick and has a multi-year deal ending that will make him an unrestricted free agent. A Phoenix trade for him would appear to be a one-year rental — especially if the team locks in Johnson long-term after he enters restricted free agency in the summer.

McDaniels is averaging 10.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game in 26.5 minutes.

Playing 28 of 41 games off the bench for a bottom-dweller, McDaniels brings length and versatility on the defensive end with a little offensive pop.

The San Diego State product is a career 47% shooter who has been up and down from three, where he’s bobbed from around 34% in two seasons to 38% in his two others. That is on low volume, too.

The largest share of McDaniels’ offense comes near the rim, though a good chunk of that scoring comes off kickouts. He can catch, then take a couple of straight-line dribbles and get to the hoop, using his length to get off shots despite a lack of vertical pop.

While not anything fancy, that type of slashing coming off swings to the weakside would give the Suns something they currently don’t have.

McDaniels in theory could tap in next to Johnson or Torrey Craig with wing-heavy lineups, though he might be redundant — and a tad more refined offensively — than the latter.

To put more ice onto any potential Suns interest, it remains to be seen what Charlotte would want to receive in exchange for a player who has developed with a franchise that, at the moment, has few things worth being optimistic about.

Empire of the Suns

Frank Vogel, Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns...

Kevin Zimmerman

What does Frank Vogel’s hire tell us about how Suns build the roster?

Frank Vogel agreeing to become the Phoenix Suns' head coach gives us a North Star of sorts for how the team will begin constructing a roster.

1 day ago

Head Coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers coaches against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena o...

Kellan Olson

Frank Vogel sets tone for Suns’ makeover, steps toward 1st title

Hiring Frank Vogel is a solid yet fairly predictable and uninspiring direction from the Suns. That doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

1 day ago

General view of action between the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky during the second half of th...

Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns, Mercury partner with city to pursue future All-Star games

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury are working directly with the city of Phoenix and other parties in a pursuit of future All-Star games.

9 days ago

Nikola Jokic, Bam Adebayo...

Kevin Zimmerman

A guide to being compelled by the likely Nuggets-Heat NBA Finals

It can be factual that the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will not draw as many viewers as would the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.

9 days ago

Chris Paul...

Kellan Olson

Suns face complex avenues for potentially moving on from Chris Paul

The Phoenix Suns know what they want to get done this offseason with what will be some type of roster makeover.

11 days ago

Tyronn Lue, Clippers...

Kevin Zimmerman

Empire of the Suns: Who we like as a new Phoenix head coach

The pros and cons of the Monty Williams hire and who would fit best around him as the next Phoenix Suns head coach.

18 days ago

Hornets wing Jalen McDaniels has Suns showing interest, per report