A rookie plays with the trade machine

I've been reading BSOTS for years now but never posted anything. However, this team (and accompanying assets) and upcoming trade deadline (and offseason) have obviously got me too excited (so much so that I've already used too many parentheses), so here goes...

So, the rumblings are that the Suns are trying to boost their frontcourt. Alex Len is still a project, Plumlee has been a pleasant surprise but seems to have hit a sort-of rookie wall in his first proper NBA season. Channing spaces the floor well, but isn't getting any younger and while his defense isn't that bad, it's certainly not great. Markieff has come on leaps and bounds but I'm not sure if his rebounding or post defense are ever going to be elite.

So a 4 (or 5) that takes the Suns to the next level is on the shopping list. Looking at the Suns team stats, the offense is great, the defense is passable, but the opponent offensive rebounds and the Suns' defense rebounding rates aren't so hot. No point in holding the opposition to a low fg% if they get second chance points. I haven't got good stats for opponent post-up offense, but I reckon the Suns need a big that can (in priority order):

1) Be a monster on the glass

2) Be a strong defender in the post

3) Score in the post and can take some pressure off Dragic/Bledsowe when the game slows down

4) Be a good P&R defender

5) and space the floor

Clearly, that's asking a lot. I'm not sure there's a single player that can do all of that except LeBron. But McD has a bevy of picks, young players and Okafor's expiring contract to play with. How many of those boxes can we tick? Let's see...

LeBron James - sign as a free agent in the off season.(all 4 requirements - yes)

Massively unlikely, but a boy can dream. Bledsoe is "like family" and is arguably the new Dwayne Wade.
But King James is all about championships and does adding him make the suns contenders? Can the Suns tempt him to test his talents in the West? Can they convince him that the warlocks will keep him healthy to win multiple rings into his later years? Can the Suns sign him then re-sign Bledsoe? Too many questions? Probably. Let's move on...

Kevin Love
The rebounding, floor spacing superstar to take the Suns to the next level. Might even be able to overlook his suspect D if Plum and Len can protect the rim.

It's no secret that he ain't happy in Minny, but he probably won't go anywhere until the offseason at the earliest, at which point we won't have the Okafor contract to play with. Can we force a move now? It would be totally reliable on Love telling Flip he wanted out right now. Wishful thinking time...

Option 1:

Suns get K Love, Sixers get Okafor and two 1st rd draft picks (from Suns), Timberwolves get Young, Turner and a first rounder (from Suns).

Sixers are trying to get worse, T-Wolves get Young to replace some of what Love did, a bit of cap space with Turner's expiring and their own first-rounder back. I don't like the Suns giving up too many picks, but they could have four this year alone and Goodwin, Len and arguably the Morrii (and Plumlee) are still projects. Are there even enough roster spots for all those we could use this year (ignoring the possibility of drafting and stashing a euro prospect or two)?

Or Option 2: 4-TEAM MEGADEAL!

Suns get K Love, Sixers get Okafor and two picks, Pistons get Young and Turner, Timberwolves get Josh Smith and a pick (or two). Like the above but the Pistons get to backtrack on their mistake, the T-Wolves get a borderline all-star (and natural PF) to replace Love along with some future assets and the Suns get their man.

Once Okafor is gone and Bledsoe is re-signed, I'm not sure how else the Suns can make the numbers work to get Love. They'd need to split up Dragic and Bledsoe. Anyone up for that? I'm certainly not.
Oh, speaking of Josh Smith

Josh Smith
Yes, I know. Bad shot selection, big and long contract, blah blah. He's a tweener and if you ignore the defense, he could be Beasley all over again. But doesn't that mean we can buy low? He can fit the run-and-gun style, he's a top defender, and can hold his own on the block and has the mobility to defend the P&R and maybe, just maybe, Horny can coach the chucker out of him. Should be easier if he's playing the four and getting more looks near the basket.
Detroit wants shooting wings. Maybe we can work some sort of three way trade with one of the tankers, or just swap Okafor and picks to help Detroit tank themselves.

Option 1:

Okafor and a pick or two to the Magic, Josh Smith to the Suns, Afflalo and Davis to the Pistons. The Magic get worse to get a better pick, another pick and rid themselves of those substantial contracts. The Pistons get a shooter and rotation big and rid themselves of Smith's cap-clogger. The Suns get Smith, who at the very least would be a future part of another big trade, like when the T-wolves start to feel the pressure of Love's contract expiring.

Or Option 2

Okafor and a pick to Boston, Jeff Green and Brandon Bass to Detroit, Josh Smith to the Suns. Celtics get a pick (or two) and get worse, Detroit get an actual SF and a rotation big.

Or: Okafor and a pick to Detroit, Josh Smith to the Suns. A simpler deal if the Pistons decide to tank. Unlikely, given the pressure on Dumars to win.

The other question for the Pistons is will they keep Monroe? For the Suns he fills the needs for rebounding and post offence, but defense? Blurgh. Not sure what it would take to pick him up now, and would need a lot of creativity from the front office to make the numbers work.

Then things drop off a little. Let's look at the rumours...

Pau Gasol. He's terrible on D, old, banged-up and would just be a rental for a few months. Not worth trading a pick for, in my opinion. Sure, he'd be a useful offensive weapon in the playoffs, but again, how much do we need offense? Meanwhile his defense is non-existent.

Carlos Boozer. No thank you. Would help a bit on both ends, but wouldn't have a longer future with the Suns. I'd rather have Taj Gibson, but he's not as young as his NBA experience would suggest. He's a good P&R defender and capable big, but is he really THAT good? The Bulls have said that it's unlikely they'll make a move, and does anyone really want to help them clear cap room for a run at Carmelo?

Who else is on the market?

Larry Sanders
Yes, I know. No offense (and we already have centers), but do we really need offense?
Again, he's on a bad contract so we can buy low, and bucks are tanking so getting okafor and a pick or two works for them. Doesn't he take time away from the developing Alex Len? Well, maybe, but we do keep hearing rumblings that Len will eventually be a PF. I'm not sure myself, but then neither am I sure Len will ever be as good as some of these guys. The other question is, can the bucks actually GET worse?

Omer Asik
Yes, I know. No offense (deja vu)
Morey wants a floor spacing big. Channing? Yes, I like him too, but...
Omer Asik for Channing Frye straight up?

Or maybe:

Okafor and a Suns pick or two to the Sixers, Asik and Thad Young to the Suns, Hawes and a pick to the Rockets. Seems a bit lop-sided in Suns favor, but the Sixers get worse and Rockets get Hawes' shooting and he's a capable back-up to Dwight.

Kenneth Faried (and Hickson)
Rebounding and that's it. He could keep up with the run and gun Suns. Both his age and his numbers are comparable with JJ Hickson and he wants to get paid. Some team will force his price up when he reaches restricted free agency. Are either of them really that desirable? I guess that depends on the cost.

Anderson Varejao
Old and injury prone, but maybe? If the warlocks can keep him healthy he's certainly an upgrade on the defense and rebounding. What about something like this?

Suns get Varejao, Sixers get Okafor and two picks, Cavs get Turner and Hawes

Well, I think that's quite enough! This post seems to have spiralled out of control, but I guess that's what happens when your team have a ton of assets, an upcoming trade deadline and a fan with too much time on his hands.

In short, I think the Suns need to be SUPER aggressive NOW while we still have the Okafor expiring contract. As I understand it, it's worth doing everything to get a star big onto the roster now before we need to sign Bledsoe in the summer. Three or four team deals seem like the way to go, helping teams to get under the tax, tank and/or get out of long cap-clogging contracts. Go all in for K-Love or move for J-Smoove while the Pistons price is low would be my preferences, but I'd love to hear your thoughts, if you've not lost the will to live!

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