Which teams could help the Suns trade down in the NBA Draft?

Jun 25, 2024, 10:22 AM | Updated: 11:15 am

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns talks during a press conference introducing Kevin D...

General manager James Jones of the Phoenix Suns talks during a press conference introducing Kevin Durant at Footprint Center on February 16, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns have as little stock as possible at this point ahead of the 2024 NBA Draft, so they’re far from stockpiling assets.

Still, stockpiling is something that can begin if president of basketball operations and general manager James Jones gets to pick No. 22 on Wednesday and believes quantity is valued over quality. The Suns can trade down to load up on picks later in the 2024 draft and in future years.

Our own Kellan Olson covered some draft candidates who would fit if Phoenix did so and also touched on why it could be a windfall. There are recent examples of the Boston Celtics following a similar path last year, as pointed out in The Athletic’s latest mock draft put together by Sam Vecenie.

But which teams could help the Suns out?

Which NBA teams could help Suns trade down in the 2024 draft?

New York Knicks

Picks owned: 24, 25, 38

The Knicks own two picks just down the road from No. 22, but they also own the 38th choice, presenting the Suns a fine option to nab an extra selection without too much sacrifice.

Notably, the Milwaukee Bucks — another Eastern Conference contender — pick right behind Phoenix and ahead of New York.

The Knicks have plenty of returning players but could use frontcourt depth with free agents OG Anunoby, Isaiah Hartenstein and Precious Achiuwa all entering free agency with rising stocks.

New York will have to spend into the second apron to run it back healthy next year, and it’s also worth noting Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are just one year away from a player option for 2025-26 and then free agency after that. Trades to free up cash could be had, and then the importance of getting the right guy in the first round increases.

The Knicks are in a position to take a developmental prospect who falls out of the mid-first round, too.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Picks owned: 27, 37

Another team that might want to make a realistic leap up the board if somebody falls to No. 22, the T-Wolves also have an early second-rounder to work with. Their sketchy ownership fight between Glen Taylor and the Marc Lore-Alex Rodriguez duo makes things hard to project, but Minnesota is already a second-apron team with only Kyle Anderson and Monte Morris as potential free agent re-signings.

Like Phoenix, they’ve got to nail the draft, potentially combining that with trades to find some financial maneuverability.

Finding veteran Mike Conley a backup point guard and/or successor seems like the No. 1 item on the list, especially after Morris didn’t find himself in the regular rotation during the Timberwolves’ conference finals run. Marquette point guard Tyler Kolek sitting on the board at 22nd will be interesting if the Suns aren’t sold on him there!

Utah Jazz

Picks owned: 10, 29, 32

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported the Jazz have been busy working the phones regarding their lottery pick. Utah is also considering moving into the teens with the combination of the 29th and 32nd picks.

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro said he believes the pairing of a Suns-Jazz trade has been discussed.

The Jazz have a fluid roster and might be in range of shaking things up to jump into the playoff contender conversation. That’s where draft assets could come in handy. Then again, Utah could also find space for three top-32 picks on the roster to make drastic moves down the road.

Portland Trail Blazers

Picks owned: 7, 14, 34, 40

The Trail Blazers have 13 players it can retain from last year’s team and despite being noncompetitive in 2023-24 is over the first tax apron. There are certainly tons of moves to make to get rid of redundancy and truly begin the front office’s tear-down in the post-Damian Lillard era — that didn’t hit full swing last year with the trade coming so close to the start of camp.

Jerami Grant, Anfernee Simons, Malcolm Brogdon, Matisse Thybulle and Robert Williams III are all rotation players who could be trade assets.

In any scenario, it seems highly unlikely Portland holds and selects four rookies. Expect the Blazers to be moving and shaking, though 22 for 34 and 40 straight up might be a bit of a bad value coming back to Phoenix.

Indiana Pacers

Picks owned: 36, 49, 50

Want to get wild? Indiana doesn’t need all of those picks with a conference finals roster mostly coming back next year. Only Doug McDermott (unrestricted) and Obi Toppin (restricted) are entering free agency.

Dealing with the Pacers like the Blazers straight up would eject the Suns out of a certain grade of talent level completely — unless they turn around and move back up.

If the Suns love some five-year college players they know will still be on the board, then maybe it’s worth waiting for. It’s just hard to make that call when the No. 22 pick is up and Phoenix is trying to project out whether, say, Houston point guard Jamal Shead will tumble to 36. But maybe the Suns use one of the later picks to move to the front of the second round from 36.

That, or Phoenix can hold at 36 to repackage 49 and 50 and jump back into the high-30s or low-40s. More picks equals more options.

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Which teams could help the Suns trade down in the NBA Draft?