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Phoenix Suns should focus on trading veteran talent for picks

The NBA Draft is now less than four weeks away. With the Suns owning picks #5 and #30, should the Suns just stay where they are or move up, down or out?


This NBA Draft is considered weak, primarily because there is not a superstar or two at the top. Fine. But the fact remains that there are many, many players in this draft who will some day be better than anyone currently on the Phoenix Suns roster

The Phoenix Suns own the #5 overall pick, #30 and #57 in the 2013 NBA Draft.

The Suns also own their own (probably high) pick in the much more ballyhooed 2014 NBA Draft, as well as the rights to Minnesota's 2014 first round pick (as long as the Wolves make the playoffs). Let's hope that team stays healthy. In addition, the Suns have two high second round picks (Toronto's and their own) in 2014.

The question is what to do THIS year.

If I were GM of the Phoenix Suns, here would be my ground rules for NBA Draft season.

Don't spend big assets to move up from #5

As much as many people like the top four this year of Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Victor Oladipo, none of those guys is a sure-fire All-Star. Because of this, there is a likelihood that one of those four drop to #5 without the Suns having to move up. And if one of them doesn't drop, there isn't much difference between them and Anthony Bennett, Alex Len or Trey Burke to name a few.

The worst thing the Suns could do is trade a good asset or take on a lot of long-term salary just to move up a couple of spots.

Don't give away any 2014 picks

The 2014 NBA Draft is much stronger at the top, so there's no reason to sacrifice either of those first round picks in any deal to get a 2013 pick. In fact, I'd work with Minnesota to get that 2014 guaranteed to the Suns if at all possible.

Don't take on lots of long-term salary

The Suns have about $5 million left on the 2012-13 cap, which is still what counts until a week after the draft. In any draft trade, the Suns can take more salary back than they send out. But any incoming salary should be less expensive in 2014+ than anything going the other way.

Why not take on long-term money? At some point, the Suns are going to want to spend free agent money on real, desired free agents rather than somoene else's scraps, so they will need cap room in 2014 and 2015.

The only exception to this rule is if the incoming talent is so good that it's worth adding a LITTLE long-term money to get it.

Add another lottery pick or two

There are rumors of teams trading out of the lottery. The Suns should pounce on that. The Suns have two very good assets for teams trying to make the 2014 playoffs that might exchange a lottery pick for their services: Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat. Each could garner a 7-12 pick in this draft by themselves. The trick is making the trade work under the CBA.

Even though this draft is "weak", I'll repeat that many lottery picks in this draft will some day be better than anyone currently on the Suns roster. I write this knowing the Suns have several recent lotto picks (the Morri, Marshall, Beasley) on their roster already, but they have been underwhelming and the right lotto pick(s) could end up better than any of them.

If a player the Suns like falls to the 9-12 range, why not trade Gortat or Dudley to get them? Neither is a rebuilding piece. Add them to the fray!

If you add another lotto pick or two, stash/trade #30 and #57

It's tough to get rotation minutes for too many rookies. Drafting a Euro guy later in the draft is a good idea. Or, trade the pick for a 2014 or 2015 pick that might be a little higher instead.

What say you, Suns fans?

Do you agree with these rules? Do you have any others to add?

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