After losing 12 of their last 16 games to sit 11-20 on the season, the Phoenix Suns face a crossroads - should they rebuild now, or rebuild later?
Trading Mr. Do-it-all Jared Dudley for Mr. Potential Derrick Williams might be a good start. And you have to start somewhere.
(Programming note: we discuss a Gortat/Boston trade rumor on a different thread. We will have a different trade thread for each Suns player)
Williams makes $4.9m this year, $5.3m next and then has a team option for $6.7 in 2014/15 which has to be picked up by Oct 31, 2013. Then he'd be an RFA in 2015/16 with a $8.7m QO.
Dudley is owed $4.25m per year through 2014/15 w/ a player option at that same amount for 2015/16. Total obligation, $17m over 4 yrs. He's 27 now.
Jared is a career 40% from three and has improved his ability to make plays on occasion and is crafty in the paint. At his best, he's a "junk yard dog" who saves/wins extra possessions. He is not athletic at all and gets beat off the dribble by most players but is a very smart team defender and has good intangibles.
We have no idea what Derrick Williams might be in the NBA, but it's safe to say his draft scouting report still applies (although he's clearly not produced which might be situational or he might just be ill-suited for the NBA). He did score 10 quick points in the Suns/Wolves game on two three-pointers and a couple close-in shots.
How would each fit?
For the Wolves, Jared would step right in as a bench wing and could eat up 20-30 mpg off the bench. He brings consistent outside shooting, the potential for the occasional "explosive" game, and solid leadership. Dudley is a perfect example of the term "role player" and is a great fit on a talented team but his ceiling has pretty much been reached (exceeded perhaps).
For the Suns, Williams is another risk/reward project who would fight for time at the four with Markieff Morris and the three with Beasley (again). Needless to say, this move hurts the Suns in the short term and helps the Wolves immediately. But without a clear long term solution at PF, Williams would leave Love's shadow and have a chance to MAYBE become a legit NBA starter.
Let's ask some folks their opinions...
1. Would you do the deal straight up?
Mike Prada, SB Nation: Yes. The Timberwolves are built to win now and need some more help on the wings with the injury to Chase Budinger. Dudley is the kind of player who will slot in well in Rick Adelman's system. Williams is not. For the Suns, though, Williams has a much better chance of being a core piece to the team moving forward as they rebuild.
Nate, Canis Hoopus (SB Nation Wolves blog): Yes. A million times, yes. Jared Dudley is worth significantly more than a toaster, which is Derrick Williams' current trade value. Actually, that's not completely fair. Derrick Williams has been playing better of late and his main drawback is specific to the Wolves: He plays the same position as the team's best two players, Kevin Love and Andrei Kirelenko. Also, Dante Cunningham gives the team all the backup 4 minutes it needs while being able to modestly produce on both ends of the court.
Dave King, BSotS: No. Dudley is a winner who makes all the right plays and actually has the best defensive rating on the team this season. He just does everything right (though not eye-popping) and would help any team win more games than the average player. Derrick Williams is closer to Beasley/Johnson/top-pick-bust than anything else right now.
Kris Habbas, BSotS/SB Nation AZ/SB Nation NBA: I say no. Straight up the deal gives the Suns a young player to groom, but subtracts a leader, shot-maker, and a very nice contract. Dudley has a Top 10 contract in terms of his productivity and that has to be discussed here. Straight up the deal gives the team another three/four leaving the bulk of the guard duties to Dragic, Brown, and Bassy? Tough.
Jim Coughenour, BSotS: No. I think Dudley's trade value will continue to increase as the trade deadline approaches and contending teams become more desperate for players with a desirable skill set like Dudley possesses. Career 41% three point shooters are always in demand without even considering other positives Jared brings (like a very favorable contract). Desperation is great for leverage.
2. Would you do the deal with modifications (picks, additional players, etc.)?
MP: I think Minnesota would have to throw in something else. Not sure what.
Nate: Only if Phoenix is willing to take Lou Amundson or Greg Stiemsma. Minny has something of a shortage on the perimeter and they simply can't throw in anything else right now.
DK: Only if Minny adds a #1 pick that has little/no protection (in addition to the one already owed for taking Johnson). Not sure if Minny has any extra picks, but the Suns have to get something more than Williams, and more than Williams plus second-round pick.
KH: Add in a 2014 unprotected first round pick and I would deal any Suns player to any team right now. If the Wolves are willing to send back Stiemsma or Cunningham they can have back their pick this year.
JC: I think I would do it if they make the transfer of draft picks (between Memphis, Minnesota and Phoenix) less muddled by giving Phoenix control of both. I'm not sure I like any other players on Minnesota's roster (that they'd be willing to trade) so any other variation would have to include a third team.
3. Who wins this trade?
MP: It's a win-win for all the reasons I noted above. I do think the biggest winner is WIlliams, though. He gets away from a coach that clearly doesn't like his game and returns to the place where he starred in college.
Nate: Derrick Williams. He will finally make his way to a team that can play him at his natural position and for a coach who doesn't have him in the doghouse from day 1.
DK: Minny, no matter what they send back.
KH: No question if this trade happens the Wolves are the winners.
JC: Minnesota short term, with Phoenix having a chance at the biggest potential payoff in coming years.
4. Final Thoughts
MP: I do think the biggest winner is Williams, though. He gets away from a coach that clearly doesn't like his game and returns to the place where he starred in college.
Nate: Pleasssssssssse let this happen. Pretty please. The Wolves are hurting in a bad way on the wing and they need someone who can play the Chase Budinger role. Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick are the two most obvious D-Will trade targets in the entire league.
DK: I really don't like it because I really don't like Williams. He is a tweener that won't find a starting position in the NBA on a winning team - too small for PF, too slow/heavy for SF. Just not good enough at any one thing to be a difference-maker. He will be a disappointment in the NBA for his entire career.
KH: Obviously not the most politically correct thing to say, but trading one of your best players on a GREAT contract for another project that has proven he is a failure to launch in this league is not the answer. Gentry is struggling to set a rotation this year, picture next year with Gortat, Scola, Morris, Beasley, Tucker, and Williams. Thanks, but no thanks.
JC: I'm in favor of any trade that makes the Suns worse or better. I am absolutely not in favor of the Suns standing pat and venturing back into the tristful gloaming of purgatory that is the back end of the lottery. I'm fine with moving Dudley, but I'll actually be disappointed if they don't move Marcin Gortat.
How about you, Suns fans?
Are we overvaluing Jared Dudley? Or should we hold out for a lot more ransom? As Jim says, Jared might increase his trade value further as time passes. But then again, he might not.
(Programming note: we discuss Marcin Gortat trade rumors on a different thread. We will have a different trade thread for each Suns player)