The NBA off-season has commenced, and trade rumors are abundant. Among those, the Phoenix Suns have risen (no pun intended) as suitors for Paul George, Kevin Love, and most recently Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks.
For the Suns, a Porzingis-Phoenix marriage could be franchise altering.
The Phoenix Suns are a young team, with no real direction. Last season, they went 24-58, after taking Croatian prospect, Dragan Bender with the 4th overall pick. It didn’t pan out, and Bender averaged merely three points and two rebounds for his rookie season.
After taking two top five picks in back-to-back drafts, the Suns are listening to their options, and want to trade for a star. John Gambadoro, reported that the Suns and Knicks did clear preliminary talks on a price for the Latvian forward.
For the Suns, including Booker is a deal breaker. Any other player on roster should be available, but Booker is immovable. It’s also worth noting the Suns have two first round picks in addition to their own 4th overall this year. Those come from the Goran Dragic-Heat trade, and are first rounders for 2018, and 2021.
For Phoenix, it’s imperative they move those picks, at least the 2018 one, before the draft and free agency conclude. The Miami Heat had a rough first half of the season in 2016-2017, they went 11-30 to start. Pat Riley can be thankful for that, it’s the only reason they received a lottery pick.
The Suns need to move that pick before teams see how good Miami is going to be next year.
Why Kristaps Porzingis?
In short, he’s everything Dragan Bender was supposed to be. At seven-foot-one, he can rebound, pass the ball, connect on alley-oops, and even drop three-pointers.
In full, the Suns are a young team, and Porzingis is only 21. Adding him to their core of Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Marquese Chriss could make for a lethal up and coming club.
Additionally, the Suns have the assets required.
Sure, Jackson wants the sun, moon, and stars for one half of his franchise cornerstones. That’s now. If Phoenix waits it out, and Jackson proves intent on trading him, the price will fall well within their range.
A Tentative Trade
First, let’s review. The Suns reportedly turned down the fourth overall pick/Devin Booker for Porzingis straight up. That’s important insight when it comes to predicting a trade.
Obviously Booker won’t be involved, he’s their franchise player. An idea:
The Phoenix Suns send the fourth overall pick, a 2018 first, and Brandon Knight.
The New York Knicks send Kristaps Porzingis, and Kyle O’Quinn.
The New York Knicks are receiving a point guard they’ve much needed. Before being moved to a sixth man role in Phoenix, Knight averaged: 19.6 points, 5.1 assists, and 1.2 steals while shooting 42 percent from the field.
That’s better numbers than Derrick Rose’ first season with the Knicks, which they paid $21-million for. He’s not the best play maker, but for that, New York is compensated. They receive the fourth overall pick, which opens up their options in the draft.
For Phoenix, they get Kristaps Porzingis, an immediate game changer for this offense. Kyle O’Quinn will help to relieve the ever-aging Tyson Chandler of minutes, and serve as an excellent backup. He averaged 6.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game over just 15 minutes of play.
Grade this trade?
For the New York Knicks, this a D+ trade. Yes, they earn an extra draft pick and quality guard, but trade away a cornerstone of the franchise.
The Heat aren’t going to be a Finals contender anytime soon, so that 2018 first will come in handy as well.
For the Phoneix Suns, we’ll call it a B+. It’s not ideal losing that 4th pick, but for the production received in return, it’s a fair one. Porzingis will change this team, and Booker could use the help.
I like the idea of a trade between these two parties. Both teams have assets to compliment the others’ needs. Will it happen?
I don’t think it’s likely. Jackson’s asking price for Kristaps is reportedly “aggressive.” The Suns don’t have much to lose, but can’t put it all on the table for the Latvian star.
Should a trade of this stature occur, the Phoenix Suns will be clear cut winners. Yes, the New York Knicks aren’t the most competent of front offices, in case you hadn’t heard.
All stats and information provided by ESPN and NBA.com. Featured image provided by dailyknicks.com via Google Images.