Ryan McDonough reads our Fanposts, right? On the off chance he comes across this one, here are my two cents regarding the future of the Phoenix Suns.
Forecast for next year: We
tank rebuild, win about 20-25 games, throw our name into the hat for the (insert witty rhyme) for Wiggins sweepstakes, and snag a stud from potentially the best draft class since 2003. Assuming Alex Len reaches his ceiling as an athletic Zydrunas Ilgauskas, the Suns will be headed into the 2014/2015 season with three solid building blocks--Len, Bledsoe, lottery pick. Throw in a pu pu platter of mediocre, overpaid veterans and we're fighting for the 7th/8th spot in the playoffs. To be clear, that is not where we want to be. We want to be either A. at the bottom, collecting elite prospects through the lottery, or B. at the top, competing for a ring. Anywhere in between leaves you vulnerable to joining the Milwaukee Bucks in middle-of-the-pack purgatory. Seeing as option 'A' could lead to unruly fans and the western conference version of the Charlotte Bobcats, option 'B' might be worth exploring.
One route to option 'B' would be to make another play for a young, talented player who gives us a brighter future, but doesn't tip the scales too much as far as wins are concerned. After playing GM for a bit, this is what I came up with:
Phoenix Receives: DeMar DeRozan
Why the Pelicans take it
They move an injury-prone, possibly disgruntled Eric Gordon while bringing in the defensive presence their team desperately needs, Marcin Gortat. Consensus says that Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson are defensive liabilities. If New Orleans wants to have any chance of holding teams to less than 100 points a game, they would be smart to add the Polish Hammer to their frontline.
Why the Raptors take it
They dump Landry Fields' inflated contract and get a upgrade over DeMar DeRozan, granted Eric Gordon stays healthy. Gordon is a much better shooter, defender and ball handler than DeRozan. His medical history, however, makes him a risk. Toronto already indicated a willingness to move DeRozan when they offered him to the Clippers for Eric Bledsoe. I can only assume they would be willing to move him for Gordon as well.
Why the Suns take it
They exchange two expiring contracts for a guy on the brink of stardom. DeRozan is coming off of his best season yet (18.1 pts, 3.9 reb, 2.5 ast), and he's only 23. I really like Marcin Gortat, but his departure would allow us to stay in the lottery despite the arrival of the two-time dunk contest participant. He is still a bit raw and could use some work defensively, but he is an elite scorer with tremendous upside.
If the core of Eric Bledsoe, DeMar DeRozan, unnamed lottery pick, and Alex Len develop like they should, the Phoenix suns would be a couple free agency signings away from being good enough to make a deep playoff run. Clearly the Suns' management has a plan in place for the rebuilding phase, but perhaps a move like this could expedite the process. What do y'all think?