Game of Thrones: Phoenix Suns approach NBA trade deadline with high stakes involved

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The Phoenix Suns have a pure heart and loyal following but are feeling the pressure to sell their souls in order to join the league's elite.

Much like the fantastical series 'Game of Thrones', the Phoenix Suns find themselves in a tough position that could make or break House Suns in the coming the days.

General consensus amongst fans, front office folks and talent evaluators is that the Phoenix Suns will have to marry into some kind of royalty before they can hope to win the Iron Throne.

Recent rumors of making a play for Rajon Rondo (from House Baratheon Celtic, winner of 2008 NBA Championship) or Pau Gasol (House Lannister Laker, winner of 2009-10 NBA Championships) show that the rumor mill begins and ends with fascination over the future of the league's elite first and foremost.

Already, the upstart Brooklyn Nets have married into royalty by acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (House Celtic) on the downside of their careers. And about 29 teams are salivating over the prospect of any or all of the Big Three fire-breathing dragons in House Targaryen HEAT (2012-13 NBA Championships) becoming available for the right sacrifice this summer.

But those moves do not guarantee success. Those moves are often born of desperation, while eschewing the method of simply fighting for your own bloodline to succeed like House Stark Thunder are doing at the moment. While they have considered pairings to speed their rise to the top, the Thunder are using a pure blood drafting method to hit the pinnacle.

The NBA trade deadling is Thursday. Currently, the wildlings Phoenix Suns sit in the 7th position in the West but swimming with many other proud franchises in an attempt to make the playoffs and win the right to fight for a championship.

If the Suns stay in their current form, the ride will be difficult. If they swap out players, the ride will still be difficult. The last deadline acquisition that resulted in a championship was Rasheed Wallace in 2004 (Pistons). More recently, Pau Gasol was a "gift from heaven" for the Lakers who helped them reach the 2008 NBA Finals in year 1 and then win 2 championships in successive years (2009-10).

That's it.

The Phoenix Suns could sell out to the pressure to improve their individual talent this season, but that is no guarantee of winning anything but the "trade grades" that mean next to nothing.

Will the Suns stay the wildlings? Or will they marry into the Lannister, Baratheon or Targaryen clans before the week is out?

The Bright Side staff took a stab today at suggesting the best trades for the Suns to execute this week in an attempt to join the league's elite and solidify a playoff position.

Jim Coughenour

Phoenix gets Kevin Love and J.J. Barea

Minnesota gets Emeka Okafor, Markieff Morris, Alex Len, 2014 1st round pick from Phoenix, 2014 1st round pick from Indiana

  • Jim's take: The only problem is that this could hurt our chances at bringing in LeBron this summer.
  • Dave King's take: Of course, I would do this trade. But most anyone outside Phoenix is skeptical that the Wolves will move Love any sooner than the summer. They would rather be buyers at the deadline, having already spent the past decade being the 'rebuilders' since trading Garnett.

Mike Lisboa

The Phoenix Suns send Emeka Okafor and Miles Plumlee to Philadelphia for Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes and the Wizards pick.

  • Mike's take: Philly gets mad cap space to chase a marquee free agent or two, a potential center of the future and a middle first round pick. In return the Suns get a young and versatile power forward who can plays well off the ball and will have a field day with point guards like Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe feeding him AND a starting quality big man with the range to slip out to the three-point line. This does nothing to help the Suns' defense, but this is the land of 120 point track meets, not 90 point slugfests.
  • Dave's take: Not a fan of trading Miles Plumlee for Spencer Hawes, though I'm okay with swapping Thad Young into Morrii minutes. Hawes is just a replica of Frye, meaning that the Suns will spend 48 minutes a game trying to outscore opponents while completely opening a layup line. And that's not to mention that Hawes is either gone in two months or at least 6 times more expensive than Plumlee next season and beyond.

Bryan Gibberman

Emeka Okafor, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris for the Celtics' Kris Humphries & Brandon Bass

  • Bryan's take: I'm going outside the box.
  • Dave's take: Clearly, Bryan is trying to give the Suns more rebounding for the second half, swapping the mercurial Morrii for some beef. But he's forgetting that the Morrii, dollar for dollar, are more productive. And swapping two of eight rotation positions is more work than it's worth if you're not getting any kind of All-Star or player for the future.

Sean Sullivan

Suns get Pau Gasol in exchange for Emeka Okafor (likely in a three-way deal)

  • Sean's take: I hate to go the safe route, but I really do think the Gasol to Suns trade has some legs, and makes sense for both sides. My guess is that the Suns will work some kind of three-way deal to make it work, since LA doesn't seem content to trade Pau for the Okafor contract alone.
  • Dave's take: I agree that this trade has legs, but only if the Suns can get Gasol for nothing more than Okafor's contract. The only way the Suns include a pick is in a bigger trade that gets them more talent than just Gasol.

Dave King

Suns get Kris Humphries, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng or Pau Gasol for Emeka Okafor

  • Dave's take: The point here is that (a) only one player gets added and (b) the Suns add some rebounding if they're not going to get an All-Star caliber player. Gasol, Deng and Humphries are expiring, which cleans the slate this summer. Noah is not expiring, but he's really really good and would be a great playoff addition for the coming seasons, worthy of a pick to be added to Okafor.

If you bring in more than 1 new player, you're sacrificing the last soft spot in your schedule (lots of home games in next two weeks before 14 of 21 on the road) to incorporate new players, making a playoff push even harder.

Frankly, I'm only in the mindset to stand pat unless there's an All Star to acquire. Let's not forget the Suns will get a near All-Star back in Eric Bledsoe in the next 2-3 weeks. He's already progressed to light basketball activities.

Rumors update

Apparently, the Phoenix Suns are in talks to acquire nearly every player in the NBA that other teams want to dump. To give any credence to one rumor over another is an injustice to the other rumor-mongers out there.

Nothing has been given credence, and with the way the Suns front office works there won't be any smoke before the fire breaks out.

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