Suns trade notebook: Ryan McDonough not looking to acquire late draft picks
It’s still more than a month off from the NBA trade deadline. But as reports become more frequent, we want to keep up with what might be an active trade deadline for the Phoenix Suns. Here, we’ll recap the past week or so of news with a little analysis while also riffing off comments from those with the Suns and around the NBA who speak on such matters.
First, the news.
• In the last two days, Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro reported that the trade market for guard Brandon Knight is slow at the moment, while interest in P.J. Tucker is much more robust.
MCDONOUGH ISN’T KEEN ON ACQUIRING SECOND-ROUND PICKS
Gambadoro’s sources believe the Clippers, Cavaliers, Bulls, T-Wolves and Hawks are among the teams who could seek out the services of P.J. Tucker. The Knicks were reportedly interested as well but as of a few weeks ago had not reached out to the Suns.
Anyway, it’s not hard to believe, as a rental, Tucker could be viewed as a Draymond Green or LeBron James stopper for a team during the playoffs.
But on an expiring $5.3 million contract — one a team over the cap could easily clear space to take on — the real question is what the Suns could receive in return. We figured a Knicks deal, for example, would net the Suns expiring contracts and a second-round pick. As in, nothing to write home about.
Well, McDonough shut down that idea on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo show on Wednesday.
“We have plenty of money available going forward. We don’t have another player like him on the roster. There’s certainly a chance we could resign him,” McDonough said.
Even if Phoenix were to consider trading a locker room leader and main practice challenger of Devin Booker, McDonough doesn’t see much value of second-round picks.
The Suns already have enough firsts that will either be used in trades to move about a draft, to acquire players or to draft talented rookies.
“Generally, I think we’re past the point where we’re looking for a volume of picks that aren’t very good or aren’t going to look like they’re very good,” he said. “A second-round pick is not something we’d be excited about getting for one of our core players. We certainly put P.J. in that mix.
“Just to trade one of our core guys for a second-round pick — given that we have all of our own picks going forward, given that we have those two Miami picks that are getting closer to conveying potentially starting next year in the 2018 draft — second-round picks, they don’t really move the needle a lot for us.”
The question therein is whether a top-level team like Cleveland or Golden State giving the Suns their late first-round pick would net anything for a player of Tucker’s caliber, and if Phoenix values that enough to consider it.
A POSITIVE VIEW OF KNIGHT’S VALUE
While one NBA front office member can’t see Knight being traded due to his contract and performance so far this year, one former NBA front office member has a more promising outlook if Phoenix wants to get a deal done.
“I think there’s a solid chance (he is traded) because at the end of the day, he’s a get-buckets guy,” said ESPN’s Amin Elhassan, who previously worked in the Suns front office. “He’s a pretty good three-point shooter, historically, and his contract in today’s NBA is not egregious. It’s not great, but it’s not egregious.”
A month before the deadline, teams are likely attempting to trade for Knight on the cheap at this point, and Elhassan believes the more enticing offers could come.
Now, it’s on Phoenix to determine whether it will sell — even if it’s at a lower price.
“There comes a time, if you’re Phoenix, there’s two things you have to ponder. One, is a little bit (of a return) better than nothing at all?” Elhassan said. “The second thing is … does keeping him help? Is that going to make things better or worse?”
Listen to Amin Elhassan’s interview with Bickley and Marotta.