PHOENIX SUNS

There is little to no trade market for Suns G Brandon Knight

Jan 17, 2017, 5:19 PM | Updated: Jan 18, 2017, 10:33 am

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight, center, drives to the basket between Portland Trail Blazers guar...

Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight, center, drives to the basket between Portland Trail Blazers guards C.J. McCollum, left, and Damian Lillard during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

If it is indeed their intention, the Phoenix Suns will have a tough time dealing backup guard Brandon Knight before the trade deadline, according to Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro.

There is little trade market for the 25-year-old guard averaging 12.2 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game this year, an NBA front office member told Gambadoro.

The reasoning? Knight has been analytically below-average and is on a contract that escalates from $12.6 million this year to $15.6 million paid out in 2019-20, the final year of the deal. Furthermore, playoff contenders searching for an extra piece don’t have the cap space to make room for such a large contract, the front office member said.

Gambadoro’s source added that the analytics view Knight as “below replacement level.”

According to Basketball-Reference.com, Knight has the worst Value Over Replacement Player (minus 0.4) on the Suns. That ranks 19th-worst in the NBA of players that qualify for the minutes played per game leaderboard.

Additionally, Knight ranks second-to-last of 450 NBA players with a season plus-minus of minus-7.4.

Through 38 appearances of the Suns’ 41 games, he is shooting 39 percent from the field and 35 percent from three in 22.3 minutes per outing.

Suns head coach Earl Watson named second-year guard Devin Booker the starter before the season, effectively moving Knight into what Phoenix hoped was a sixth man role. He briefly lost more playing time to rookie point guard Tyler Ulis, and Watson cited Knight’s defensive issues as the reasoning.

The fifth-year guard has sat out the last two games with lingering wrist tendinitis.

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