The Suns’ Star Search

As the All-Star break nears, the Suns are in visible contention for a playoff berth, their first since the 2009/10 season. Currently with a 30-20 record, Phoenix is on the search to upgrade their improving roster once again in attempt to have a successful playoff campaign ahead. Several names have been mentioned around the league coming into the trade deadline and the Suns are keeping their eye out for most if not, all talented players on the block.

This season, the Suns are proving to have an abundance on offence (105.1 points per a game, 5th in the league) but their defense has been below par this past month or two (101.8 points per a game, 21st in the league), which has raised some questions to how that deficiency could be addressed quickly. Suns GM Ryan McDonough has orchestrated his plans in a way that Phoenix were prepared for any outcome this season with the assets they possess.

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc

The expiring contract of Emeka Okafor ($14.5m) and four first round picks for this year can either help the struggling Suns team for the future or help a successful Suns team get better quickly in trading some of those assets. Thankfully for the Suns front office, Phoenix is doing very well thus far. Furthermore, if they’re are aiming to improve defense down the stretch of the season and playoffs, it’s to trade for players who can help the team improve on all levels.

Talk about Pau Gasol in a Suns uniform this past week has created great speculation around the league that Phoenix are prepared to pull a trigger on big moves. Pau Gasol’s expiring deal ($19.3m) makes it difficult for teams to trade for him, considering the size of his contract. Phoenix will most likely be the only team likely to pull off a trade for him before the deadline. It is rumoured that the Suns are offering Emeka Okafor for him, but the Lakers are wanting a first round pick with Okafor. As the Lakers want a higher pick than the Suns’ own (projected 19th) and Pacers’ pick (projected 30th), Phoenix is currently undecided due to Gasol’s recent groin injury. Talks have diminished as Phoenix wants to see a healthy Gasol play some games before they take trade talks with the Lakers to the next level.

If this deal was to happen, Phoenix would retain their core players and yet acquire Gasol to join the already exciting group of young players. Gasol would bring leadership and championship experience to lead these young guys into the playoffs in an attempt to have a successful campaign.

Over the past couple of days, Phoenix has also expressed interest in Rudy Gay of the Sacramento Kings. Gay has displayed his gratefulness for how well the Kings organisation has been treating him since being traded by the Toronto Raptors on the 9th of December. Rudy Gay’s response on his plans this offseason:

I’m not sure. I have to go into the Summer with my people, think everything, weigh out the pros and cons. I don’t know yet. But Sacramento has been great to me thus far. Obviously I’m trying to tune it all out right now. All I can think about right now is how Sacramento’s been to me . . .

Phoenix has a definite interest in signing Rudy Gay this off-season with their remaining cap space after resigning Eric Bledsoe, but after hearing his response about Sacramento, the Suns may have some concerns into acquiring him. Rudy Gay might be in the final year of his contract, but his player option is something Phoenix needs to be cautious about. The Suns front office are keeping that in mind and are rumoured to be in talks with Sacramento for a trade before the deadline. Due to Gay’s positive expression about the Kings, it’s a risk to wait for the free agency period and see whether he opts in or out. Acquiring Rudy Gay to join Phoenix’s young squad before the trade deadline could improve their chances to win in the post-season as he will be a potent partner alongside Goran Dragic and a returning Eric Bledsoe in the lineup.

Recent reports have claimed that Phoenix had inquired about the availability about Zach Randolph. Memphis denied any offers made from teams interested in Randolph but the rumour nonethless, demonstrates Phoenix’s interest in big names in this league. There were also rumors earlier this month that the Suns were interested in Philadelphia’s Evan Turner. The 25 year old swingman has reported to be on the trade block by the 76ers as well as center Spencer Hawes and forward Thaddeus Young. It’s rumoured by league sources that the Suns’ run at Evan Turner has diminished, but Thaddeus Young to Phoenix is still a possibility. Emeka Okafor and a first round pick for Young is the most likely assets involved in the trade but there’s no question other players could be involved in the same deal too. Thaddeus Young is a versatile two-way player that Phoenix could utilise down the stretch of the season.

There has been recent speculation that the Suns are also interested in big men such as Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer. Once again, Phoenix are reportedly offering Okafor and a pick or two for Noah or Boozer. Either of these players could also help the Suns on defense and a successful playoffs campaign. Also, names like Josh Smith or Kevin Love could be traded to the Valley according to league sources but Ryan McDonough could be reluctant to give up too many future assets to teams asking too much in return. If the Suns receive Kevin Love via a minimal loss on rotational players, we could very well imagine McDonough might give up Channing Frye or PJ Tucker plus Okafor and their first round picks. That being said, he would be hesitant to give up any young players for someone with a history with injuries. Should Josh Smith or Kevin Love be available to Phoenix without trading any rotational players  via some stroke of luck, they could help the team’s performance greatly even at this point in the season.

All these conjecture involving Phoenix making big moves in less than two weeks raises the obvious statement that the Suns are going to be major players at the trade deadline. The most likely players heading to Phoenix before the deadline would either be Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay or Thaddeus Young. In saying that, the Suns have the assets to pull these deals off but these players can also fit under Jeff Hornecek’s playbook fast and efficiently and help the team’s defense commendably; we’ll just have to wait and see.

Who do you think would be the likeliest prospect for Phoenix?

Kyle Hanna

Written by

NBA Writer for Pick And Roll - Everything NBA

1 Response

  1. IzunaDrop says:

    They need to upgrade at Center or whatever forward position the Morris bras do not hold down.

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