Every year, the GMs for the SB Nation blogs enter into a mock draft where we are allowed to make trades with each other (as long as there's at least one 2016 first round pick moving) as part of a massive, blockbuster Mock Draft.
And every year, your handy dandy Suns blogger Dave King has a lot of fun with it. I rope in the rest of the BSotS front office for their input on trade ideas and who to select at each pick. Its a load of fun, but a lot of work.
This year, the Suns entered the mock lottery with the 4th overall pick, as well as the 13th, 28th and 34th picks.
Before the 9th pick was on the clock, wheeler-dealer Dave had acquired both Dragan Bender AND Jaylen Brown at the cost of the 4th pick, 28th pick and Brandon Knight. And we still have the 13th and 34th picks in our arsenal.
Have I piqued your interest yet?
Here's how it all went down...
There was zero interest on the part of either Philly (LibertyBallers.com) or the Lakers (SilverScreenandRoll.com) to trade out of the top two picks. Just like in real life, taking Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are no-brainers that 30 teams would love to do on Thursday night.
I have a strong suspicion that this is a 3-player draft and if the Suns don't make a strong move to get the #3 pick, Boston is going to either take Dragan Bender or trade the draft rights to #3 for something even better. And whoever offers something better will be targeting Bender.
I know we've heard recently that Bender might fall all the way to #7 (both DX and Ford have him going to Denver), but I believe that's just a smokescreen. Bender is the clear #3 pick, and whoever ends up with the #3 pick will take him.
Sure enough, we get wind that Utah has traded potential All-Star Gordon Hayward to the Celtics for the #3 pick. This is a perfect trade for Boston. They get a win-now star for their trouble. It's also an indication from Utah that (a) they don't fully believe their core is a top-4 West team in 2016-17 as constructed and/or (b) Amar with SLCDunk.com enjoys this mock draft stuff even more than me. Maybe both are true.
I looked over Utah's roster and decided there's no way they would take Bender, given that they already had Derrick Favors and Trey Lyles at the PF position. The cleanest pick they could make to improve their team was to take Jamal Murray, or maybe even Kris Dunn. But no way they take Bender.
So I could have sat on my hands and waited, and likely watched Bender drop into my lap. Then two things ran through my mind: what if Utah re-trades the #3? Or, what if Utah would be willing to trade Derrick Favors or Trey Lyles, if they really wanted Bender so bad?
I consulted with the BSotS front office staff and contacted Amar, the Utah blogger. We discussed lots of things, and ended up in a game of chicken after he declined to trade Favors. Amar's team warned me they really were split on Bender and Murray, and he also hinted there might be some other trades in the works.
So I offered the #28 and we came to an understanding without actually exchanging names that his guy would still be on the board at #4.
Deal done. Utah picked up an extra first rounder and still took the guy most of their front office wanted, while the Suns secured Bender.
Could the Suns have done better? Sure. I could have waited them out and had Bender fall in my lap anyway. But I took away the guess work and forfeited a low first to get it done.
I'm happy with it.
- Suns trade Brandon Knight for #8 (Jaylen Brown), and Devin Marble
You guys are probably tired of the BSotS staff love for Jaylen Brown. After Bender, he still consistently comes up as the next best thing. Even ahead of Marquese Chriss.
Brown brings a lot of what the Suns don't have, except for the aging P.J. Tucker: a defensive wing who can take on anyone 1-4 around the floor. And even better than Tucker, Brown is a phenomenal athlete with a high ceiling, even on the offensive end.
Word on the blogger street was that Sacramento didn't like their draft slot (8th overall), and was trolling for a veteran guard for a small move-down. When I offered Brandon Knight and #13 for #8, the Kings blogger (Akis) was interested as long as he could get rid of Rudy Gay in a salary-match.
I didn't want anything to do with Rudy Gay. The BSotS staff, however, thought it was a good deal and so the being consummate professional that I am I let Akis know we'd think about it depending on who was still on the draft board at #8.
Not happy though, I started looking around for a place to send Gay that would net a better player for the Suns. I had talks going with a few teams, even with Denver for Gallinari, but those eventually became fruitless.
Then lo and behold, Akis found an even better deal for everyone. Orlando wanted out of the draft as well, preferring a win-now veteran over a #11 pick in a bad draft. So Orlando took Gay in exchange for the #11, which they sent to the Kings. And now all I had to do was take on the non-guaranteed salaries of Ilyasova and Brown while keeping the #13.
I said yes.
Orlando wins by getting an 18-ppg scorer for the #11. The Kings win by swapping Gay for Knight while only moving down three slots. And the Suns win by picking up their third lottery pick.
Coming tomorrow, you'll see what we did with the #13 and #34 picks.
In the meantime, enjoy your two rookies in Dragan Bender and Jaylen Brown, and wish a fond farewell to Brandon Knight.