NBA Trade Talk - Phoenix Suns experience major shift in outlook from beginning of season

Christian Petersen

Just two months into the season, what was once a roster full of tradeable assets to obtain future "keepers" may just be a roster already full of those "keepers" without making another move.

Winning 9 of 12, including the last 5 in a row, makes the Phoenix Suns really happy with each other.

Suddenly, all those trabeable veterans who could help a playoff team are needed right here in the valley - to help their current team not only make the playoffs but become a threat once there.

"We are family," guard Goran Dragic said after the win over Golden State on Sunday night. "I know if somebody beats me, I know my teammates have my back."

Dragic was asked specifically about the pundits who predicted the Suns would be lucky to win 15 games this season.

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"We already win 14!" Dragic said in response. "I'm really happy. We don't want to stop here. We want to go up, and try to be a playoff team. We got 60 more games, a long way to go."

"It feels great," he continued. "Now I get back home, I'm smiling. The next day, I can't wait to get to practice and play ball with those guys. When you're having fun, your basketball performance goes way up."

How strong do you feel about the team's playoff chances, Goran?

"Very strong," he said.

Channing Frye, who's been touted by many including myself as a great asset for a playoff team because he's a stretch four who can also defend the middle, is making himself quite at home on this team as well.

"You gotta have fun," Frye said. "We're playing the right way. We play unselfish and guys just want to win and play the right way."

Is this team as good as its going to get? "Heck no, not even close," Frye said. "We’re winning, but we shouldn’t be satisfied with this."

Why am I even talking about trades right now?

Because this tiny stretch between Dec 15 and 19 (Thursday) is likely to spawn at least one big trade if not a few, and the Suns have all the assets that anyone needs. Picks, veterans, playable youth. It's all here.

Other teams are already cranking up the trade rumor mill. Some are looking for that missing piece (Houston needs a stretch four) while others are seriously thinking of tanking the season and acquiring picks for the 2014 draft in exchange for their veterans (Utah, Milwaukee, Chicago, etc.).

Will the Suns get involved in any trades? The bait is out there for Ryan McDonough to pull another Eric Bledsoe type deal with a desperate team. Or for McD to acquire that All-Star type player a team wants to dump before they get too expensive or leave in free agency.

Houston, for one, wants to trade Omer Asik by Thursday, which happens to be the last day any free agents signed this past summer can be acquired and then re-traded before the February deadline. The Suns don't have any of those (unless you count Dionte Christmas), but they do have vets.

Channing Frye would fit in Houston, but he's such a strong part of the Suns' resurgence. There's no need to trade Channing, unless there's a star to be had in return.

Or, do you trade P.J. Tucker? He's another one contributing to this team winning games in a major way.

No, these Suns are playoff contenders as they sit here, and they need veterans like Dragic, Frye and Tucker right here in the valley to compete for the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

What about acquiring a star?

Sure, but there's not many out there ready to be traded at this time. Frye and Markieff Morris are producing very well at the PF spot (22 points and 12 rebounds between them). Tucker and Marcus Morris are playing well at SF. Only an All-Star level player is worth trading away these guys, or benching them for a slightly better player.

And certainly, there's no need to upgrade either of the guard positions, either now or in the future. And the center position has players of the present (Miles Plumlee, Channing Frye) and the future (Alex Len).

Based on how much the Suns are winning right now, to break up this team at this time is getting more and more unlikely.

The players believe in themselves and their future, and they think they're only scratching the surface.

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