ESPN lends 5 offseason trade suggestions for the Suns

Jun 29, 2016, 10:30 AM | Updated: 3:16 pm
Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight could be a trade chip this offseason. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)...

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight could be a trade chip this offseason. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Phoenix Suns’ offseason has already been a telling one.

Drafting two 18-year-old forwards in Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss not only filled a need but laid out the commitment to building around fellow teen Devin Booker. And it appears Phoenix realizes there’s little chance of using free agency to turn 2016-17 into a playoff run.

So as free agency nears without outrageous expectations, the Suns at the least could begin looking to acquire more assets that will continue the current trajectory.

Knowing that, ESPN Insiders Steve Ilardi, Tom Haberstroh, Jeremias Engelmann, Bradford Doolittle and Kevin Pelton went 5-on-5 and were asked to compose a trade to benefit Phoenix.

Here’s a look at those suggestions.

1. Ilardi

Suns trade: Brandon Knight
Kings trade: Darren Collison, Omri Casspi, Ben McLemore

This is a play for next year and beyond. Every one of the players Phoenix receives from Sacramento is off the books after this season, ridding the Suns of Knight’s deal that goes through 2019-20. Such a trade gives coach Earl Watson a very good backup in Collison, who can play behind Bledsoe and allow rookie Tyler Ulis to grow in the D-League. The trade also opens a starting two-guard spot for Booker. McLemore, who the Kings seemingly view as a lost cause, is still young and could play as a gunner off the bench. With a strong year, he might be worth considering as a future piece.

2. Haberstroh

Suns trade: Tyson Chandler
Rockets sign and trade: Donatas Motiejunas

As Dwight Howard’s replacement, Chandler would be playing for a solid playoff team and for his former coach with the Knicks, Mike D’Antoni. The Suns would get a similar contract in exchange but for a young, skilled power forward who can score inside and out. However, Motiejunas’ back issue that voided last season’s trade shipping him to Detroit is a concern.

3. Pelton

Suns trade: P.J. Tucker
Cavaliers trade: 2016 No. 31 pick Cedi Osman

Tucker enters the final year of his deal and could be an upgrade for the Cleveland team that just played Richard Jefferson a great deal in its NBA Finals victory. Meanwhile, the Suns get a 21-year-old, 6-foot-8 swingman who might be able to contribute in a few years. That allows the Suns to hand the keys to T.J. Warren this year, where they can find out if he’s going to be more than a volume scorer off the bench.

4. Engelmann

Suns trade: Tyson Chandler
Knicks trade: Draft pick

Phoenix would need to find a contract to eat, but getting a first-round pick for the aging center would be a good return and free up cap space in the next few years.

5. Doolittle

Suns trade: Tyson Chandler
Cavaliers trade: Channing Frye

Cleveland would need to send an additional salary or two to make it work. Moreover, the Suns would need to mend fences with the Phoenix-native Frye, who left the Suns in free agency two years ago with a salty feeling after the team didn’t show much interest in bringing him back. That said, Frye would fit the bill as a shooter and defender to rotate with Bender and Chriss.

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