Apparently, every team from 3-8 in the 2016 NBA Draft is trying to parlay their pick into a young star, and the Phoenix Suns are one of them.
Celtics (#3), Suns (#4), Wolves (#5), Pelicans (#6), Nuggets (#7), Kings (#8) all shopping their lottery picks. https://t.co/MsJjLX78ls— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 21, 2016
And then tonight, Marc Stein reports that the Celtics and Suns are offering dueling pairs of picks for Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz.
Speculation is that the Celtics are offering #3 and #16 while the Suns are offering #4 and #13. In each case, the trading team would have to send out matching salaries. The Suns have Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe or Tyson Chandler to make it work, while the Celtics have just Amir Johnson that approaches the salary needs.
So far, Boston is getting rebuffed, as are the Suns.
Utah, sources say, is telling interested teams Gordon Hayward is unavailable. Ditto for Milwaukee with Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 22, 2016
If the Suns are pushing for Hayward, they might as well push for Derrick Favors too. The Jazz have Trey Lyles already and with the #4 pick they could develop either Dragan Bender or Marquese Chriss as a future star, or if they trade Hayward they could take Jaylen Brown to replace him.
Utah trading Hayward and/or Favors would signal a decision that their current core won't be able to go deep in the playoffs without dramatically overpaying to keep them together for years to come.
For the Suns, inserting Hayward or Favors into a lineup that boasts Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, Tyson Chandler, Alex Len and T.J. Warren could be considered a true playoff contender (assuming Brandon Knight is the matching salary in the deal). And the Suns would still have more than $30 million to spend in free agency to add even more talent.
The downside on Hayward is his contract. He can opt out after next season and command nearly twice as much money under the new cap. Favors, on the other hand, is under contract for longer and would be a better investment.