EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Suns turn attention to potential targets on buyout market

Feb 9, 2023, 5:05 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2023, 7:19 am

Will Barton #5 of the Washington Wizards dribbles against the Chicago Bulls during the second half ...

Will Barton #5 of the Washington Wizards dribbles against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at United Center on December 07, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

After trading for Kevin Durant and losing three wings off their regular rotation over the course of the past year, the Phoenix Suns have roster shuffling to do.

With two open roster spots and the tax-payer midlevel exception still available, the buyout market will surely be the place Phoenix attacks in the wake of the NBA trade deadline passing.

The question of who starts alongside Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton remains. There’s also the depth behind those four, particularly on the wing.

Here are some names that either are on the market or could be.

G/F Will Barton

Reportedly working on buyout with Wizards

Could Barton be the fifth starter? Not sure. I know this is going to be a shocking admission but I haven’t watched much Wizards hoop this year, so I can’t report how much Barton’s prowess in the key wing attributes fared this year. At 32 years old, he’s not the defender he once was.

What I do know is how flawless Barton is as a pick-up for the culture. He was a beloved teammate during his stays in Portland and Denver. His time with the Nuggets featured plenty of injuries and bouts of inconsistency. But Barton can score, make things happen off the dribble, playmake a bit and shoot at an average clip.

Whether he’s a key cog in the rotation or more of a wing for Monty Williams to turn to when other solutions aren’t working, he’s a no-brainer as an experienced, battle-tested pro.

– Kellan Olson

PG Reggie Jackson

– Traded from Clippers to Hornets, could reportedly be Suns buyout target

Jackson hasn’t had the same year as he did two years ago, when he latched onto the Clippers and stormed through the NBA playoffs en route to annoying the Suns in the Western Conference Finals by averaging 17.8 points per game in the postseason on 41% three-point shooting at a high volume.

He’s a bit redundant, too quick-triggered as a shooter and not as good defensively as Cam Payne, though would be obvious injury insurance.

Jackson is a part-time starter playing 26 minutes a night this year before Los Angeles traded him for Charlotte big man Mason Plumlee. He’s expected to be bought out and, according to TNT’s Chris Haynes, will interest Phoenix on the buyout market.

Relatedly, Jackson is one of the many connections the Suns have with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Head coach Monty Williams used to coach there, while Durant and Cam Payne were draft picks of the franchise. Chris Paul spent time in Oklahoma City, and the Suns just traded Dario Saric to the Thunder for yet-to-develop youngster Darius Bazely.

It makes you wonder if Mat Ishbia’s reported connection with former OKC front office leader Paul Rivers is playing a big role already.

– Kevin Zimmerman

Danny Green 

– Traded from Grizzlies to Clippers, potential buyout candidate

He’s played just three games after returning from a torn ACL suffered last May. That is a quick return for such a significant injury, and even moreso a red flag for a 35-year-old whose career had been winding down in the past two seasons.

Nonetheless, if there’s an open spot to fill, adding such an experienced role player who can knock down shots and add sound play for 15 minutes a night could still be of value. Green is a 40% career three-point shooter and has won three championships for three different teams.

In 62 games in 2021-22 for the Sixers, Green averaged 5.9 points per game on 21.8 minutes played for the Philadelphia 76ers, but that is a few years back.

– Zimmerman

Terrence Ross

Potential buyout candidate for Magic

Ross’ role has drastically reduced in Orlando the last two years, where he had previously been establishing himself as one of the league’s most prolific scorers off the bench, averaging at least 15 points per game for three straight seasons.

There likely won’t be a better scoring in bunches type of guy available. If the Suns want to add more offense on the bench, he’s a logical target.

– Kellan Olson

Justin Holiday

– Traded from Hawks to Rockets, potential buyout candidate

Long-time readers will remember Holiday as a fourth-wing shout last trade deadline before the Suns filled that role with Torrey Craig.

Holiday is mostly just a shooter on offense and is solid defensively. The lack of something really standing out is why he keeps bouncing around but the aforementioned good-enough balance is why he has 285 career starts to his name as well.

3-and-D guys rarely hit the buyout market because of how coveted the role is. Holiday might be the closest thing to that.

– Kellan Olson

John Wall

– Traded from Clippers to Rockets, will be waived

Maybe there’s a Kentucky connection between Wall and Booker, but the former All-Star point guard has been on-and-off out of games coming off a full season off. He’s shooting 41% and 30% from three-point range, and though he’s still averaging double-figures and 5.2 assists, the juice and the fit isn’t there considering Phoenix needs floor-spacers and defenders around its stars.

– Zimmerman

Russell Westbrook

– Traded from Lakers to Jazz, could be waived

It’s hard to see this fitting Williams’ point-5 offense. There’s no efficiency. Sorry to Thunder fans hoping for a reunion.

– Zimmerman

Empire of the Suns

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns looks on after the game against the Miami Heat at F...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Suns could triple down by dealing unprotected 2031 pick

The Phoenix Suns have an extra measure they can take this offseason to upgrade the roster, but it would come with real risk.

14 hours ago

Nassir Little #25 of the Phoenix Suns on the court during introductions to the NBA game at Footprin...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Should Nassir Little be Suns’ trade asset or reclamation project?

Nassir Little is one of the few trade chips for the Phoenix Suns to use this offseason. But should they just keep him instead?

2 days ago

Tristan da Silva #23 of the Colorado Buffaloes attempts a shot in the second half against the Boise...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Tristan da Silva is ideal ‘NBA-ready’ wing for Suns in NBA Draft

If we're mapping out the perfect offseason for the Suns, it includes them selecting a wing in the NBA Draft that can be solid right away.

2 days ago

Miami forward Kyshawn George...

Kevin Zimmerman

Biggest need vs. best value: ESPN NBA mock draft picks Suns’ options

Tyler Kolek would fit the Phoenix Suns, while Miami's Kyshawn George could be a great value pick at 22nd overall in the 2024 NBA Draft.

3 days ago

General manager, James Jones of the Phoenix Suns before Game One of the Western Conference Second R...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: Does history favor wing picks in back-half of NBA Draft’s 1st round?

Should the Phoenix Suns take a wing with No. 22 pick in the NBA Draft? More specifically, one with experience? History says yes.

4 days ago

Valley Suns G League team logo...

Kellan Olson

22 for 22: How G League affiliate could help Suns in NBA Draft

The Phoenix Suns have a better chance at capitalizing on a part of the NBA Draft now thanks to having a new G League affiliate.

5 days ago

Suns turn attention to potential targets on buyout market