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Ryan McDonough is finally preparing to move all-in with his next move

After gathering more picks in the Eric Bledsoe trade, it’s time to start prepping for the big move we’ve all been waiting for + notes from Jay Triano on Booker and Chriss

NBA: Phoenix Suns-Press Conference Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since general manager Ryan McDonough took over in 2013, we have all been anticipating his game-changing move to make Phoenix a hotbed destination for talent. Well, after the main piece in return for Eric Bledsoe was a heavily protected 1st rounder that will likely convey in 2020 plus an expiring contract in Greg Monroe, the timeline is accelerating towards that crucial date of when to finally pull the trigger on a trade for a superstar.

McDonough has seen the likes of Jimmy Butler, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kyrie Irving become available but was unwilling to disrupt their youthful core led by Devin Booker, T.J. Warren, and Josh Jackson. Now, as the summer of 2018 approaches and no current names wanting out, patience is the main theme currently.

When I asked McDonough Wednesday after shootaround about acquiring that pick from Milwaukee, which could allow them more long-term flexibility, he alluded to the fact that he believes Phoenix is now in position compared to all others to swing that massive deal.

The Suns general manager, who has drawn some rightful criticism for how he handled Bledsoe on the way out, knows that taking this approach is controversial but he believes, in the end, it will pay off for them.

Whether it’s moving those pieces for a guy like Anthony Davis down the line or move all the way up to No. 1 in the 2018 draft, plenty of options are currently on the table to increase their odds of being a contender by next season.

"Yeah, I think if you look at the broader picture league-wide, probably, hopefully at the top or near the top of the list as far as teams that can put together compelling packages for a star,” McDonough said. “I know I've talked about that a lot over the years. We've had some of those opportunities over the past year in particular that we decided to pass on, so being patient and being methodical I understand is a little controversial, but, yeah, I feel like the more we add to {asset collection} the more it kind of furthers our position as a team that could put together a pretty compelling offer for a superstar or we can continue to draft and develop players which we have been doing.

There's a lot of alternatives, I don't want to go through all of them, but we can combine the picks and move up kind of like we did to get Marquese Chriss a few years ago so it gives us more optionality,” McDonough continued. “I think we have a lot of flexibility with our draft pick situation, our cap situation, with our roster balance. We have a lot of options over the next couple of years and I think and hope in time that will pay off."

Currently, with projecting the Milwaukee pick as conveying in three years time, this means Phoenix would have two first-round picks in three of the next four drafts. Outside of 2019, when the Suns want to be most aggressive in free agency as McDonough mentioned on Wednesday, they would have the opportunity to move up or trade those assets for key foundational pieces to a successful roster.

2020 has been the year everyone inside the Suns organization has targeted. By then, this team needs to be a fully functioning playoff contender that’s littered with ascending talent around Booker and whichever name will co-star alongside him for the extended future.

It’s very likely that name isn’t on the roster at the moment, which speaks to where exactly Phoenix is in their rebuilding process.

Even though he received an extension through the 2019-2020 season, McDonough knows this move will make or break his tenure in the Valley. If he fails to build a contender around one of the more promising young cores in recent memory for the Suns, he will be sent packing.

Now, it’s time to throw all your chips into the middle of the table, Suns front office. It’s time to make that move towards playoff contention on #TheTimeline, and 2018 seems like the year it finally goes into motion with how everything is currently stacked up.

Triano on Point Booker and Marquese Chriss’ offseason transition

Ever since San Antonio gave Booker fits in terms of creating his shot, Brooklyn followed by sending Caris LeVert and DeMarre Carroll at him all game. It worked, and now interim head coach Jay Triano has to find a solution. He seems to know already what that is, and we could go back to seeing Point Booker a lot more over the coming weeks.

Under Earl Watson, Booker saw this plenty but under Triano, he has been mostly off-ball with Mike James and Tyler Ulis running the offense. With Booker as a rather underrated playmaker on-ball, it does make sense to turn back into if teams are daring Warren to beat them now from the perimeter.

Booker, who has already taken on a big burden of the offense after Bledsoe’s departure could be in line for more, but Triano wants to keep him from gassing out. With the effort Booker has been putting in on the defensive end, there’s a chance he could wear down and not be as productive.

As the Suns new head coach mentioned, it’s all apart of the evolution of Booker taking his star jump and still only being barely 21-years-old.

"No, I think that's one of the things we've looked at is having him handle a little bit more, but at the same time, if he handles the full game then you're really wearing him down because you're asking him to do more on the defensive end than he's ever done before and he's taking a little bit of pride in that,” Triano said. “I don't think he had a great game the other night on the defensive end but I think we were all a half-step slow but I appreciate the work he's put in on the defensive end and we've got to find ways of getting him the ball and one is having him bring it up and setting screens. If teams are going to double-team and leak all over him when he sets a screen it's going to be a double-screen for somebody else. This is all part of his evolution as a star player.”

Another player who has seen improvements, albeit fewer at the moment, under Triano is Marquese Chriss. Outside of Dragan Bender, those two are the rawest prospects on the roster so their development curves were to be expected.

With Chriss, though, Triano came to his defense on Wednesday. After showing up at Las Vegas Summer League seemingly ballooning into a 5-type role, he came out and confirmed that. As we have seen over the past few weeks, Chriss looks slimmer and is starting to readjust as a 4 on the floor.

Now, back in his regular role, it will continue to be an ongoing learning process for the No. 8 pick in 2016. The next step for Chriss in his development will be his overall effort, and Triano brought that up as well. For their 20-year-old uber-athletic forward to take that leap, he will have to prove it on both ends if he wants more consistent playing time.

And as we know with Triano, he doesn’t have rotations. If you show effort and stay within the confines of the game, he will keep rolling with you. For Chriss, that will be his next step in arguably a critical season for him as far as overall growth goes.

"We're trying to clarify things for him a little bit. We haven't been fair with Marquese really to go through training camp as a 5 and the first three games as a five. In transition, he's not sure when to roll, when to pop. It's been learn on the go with him. We're getting there, we're getting there with him. He's been very receptive to the coaching and he knows he's got to be consistent with his effort on the court for him to stay in the game."

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