EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Report: Suns have ‘explored’ trading for higher picks in NBA Draft

Jun 15, 2023, 3:11 PM

Suns president of basketball ops and GM James Jones...

Relatively, NBA Draft picks don’t make tons of money. The Phoenix Suns will consider that as they aim to fill out a top-heavy roster.

Phoenix owns pick No. 52 in the 2023 draft, and a swing there with some luck could land them a low-risk, experienced college player who could potentially contribute in 2023-24.

And according to The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie, the Suns are doing the early work to see if they are able to move up in the draft and grab an impact rookie.

Sources across the league have said Milwaukee, Phoenix and Cleveland have explored potential opportunities to move up into the late 20s and 30s due to the depth of prospects on the wing and potential NBA-ready, older rotation players. Everyone explores deals this time of year, and you could probably write this sentence about any team. But those three do seem to be teams to watch.

Vecenie included that bit in his latest mock draft released Thursday, where at 52nd overall, he has the Suns selecting Miami’s Jordan Miller.

Miller himself fits the mold of a player Phoenix could target in the 2023 draft. He played five college seasons between George Mason and Miami.

The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists last year as the national runner-up’s second-leading scorer.

It was efficient on 55% shooting with 35% accuracy from three, and Miller’s length and play for a defensive-minded coach like Jim Larranaga — not to mention Suns GM James Jones’ affinity for his alma mater — could put him on Phoenix’s radar.

Miller being available at pick No. 52 shows just how this year’s draft could benefit the Suns, even with only a second-round choice.

As for moving up, the likelihood of that appears low.

There is a short history of trades of draft picks for cash considerations, but there is not a lot to work with in terms of the Suns dealing players.

Phoenix could swing minor deals for expiring contracts in Landry Shamet ($10.3 million) or Cam Payne ($6.5 million), but that would be potentially difficult with so many teams in need of veterans having already traded out of the late first-round. Shamet and Payne have also struggled to solidify themselves as high-level rotation players in the past few seasons.

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