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The Suns definitely should inquire about Kemba Walker, but pulling the trigger is a different story

Weighing the opportunity cost of acquiring Kemba should be scoped out by Phoenix, but is it the right move?

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Golden State Warriors Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

With the game-by-game rapid progressions we see from Devin Booker, the question many have asked is why haven’t the Suns gone and given him help already? Well, the time could be arriving if the Suns so desire, because ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported early Friday that Charlotte’s Kemba Walker was officially placed on the trade block.

Talent brings more eyeballs from a perspective of bringing in winning players (see Boston when Gordon Hayward went there because of Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford).

The Suns are currently equipped with the league’s youngest rotation, including Booker seeing ample time as the primary ball handler now, so is this even the right time to make a move for somebody like Walker anyways?

These questions will surely be discussed in the Suns’ front office up until next month’s trade deadline, but after seeing ESPN report on both Damian Lillard and Kawhi Leonard earlier this week, it kind of answers the question for everybody already.

With general manager Ryan McDonough storing up a litany of assets he hopes to collect on a game-changer to place alongside Booker sometime soon, Kemba simply isn’t one to dip into the treasure trove for unless it is too perfect to say no.

Creating such scenarios is rough because Phoenix seems focused on this year’s draft and 2019 is the year where they plan to be aggressive in free agency. Ironically, which could favor Phoenix not pursuing Walker yet, is that he’s an unrestricted option that summer.

If the Suns believe Walker is that critical backcourt piece alongside Booker, you can wait 16 months and get him for nothing.

For Phoenix to obtain Walker before this season ends, it would take a one-sided offer or a deal that multiple teams become involved in to help facilitate. Below, I outlined two possible deals which include the Suns having to take back a bloated salary from Charlotte, as Wojnarowski originally reported.

Hornets receive: Greg Monroe, Miami 1st, Milwaukee 1st / Suns receive: Kemba Walker and Marvin Williams

Hornets receive: Greg Monroe, Troy Daniels, Jared Dudley, Miami 1st / Suns receive: Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum

These seem like offers the Suns at least should have already inquired Charlotte about, so if they haven’t already happened then Phoenix seems content waiting for another name to appear on the market. And after seeing Leonard and Lillard pop up separately, as far as ‘frustrations’ and ‘state of the franchise’ goes, McDonough should continue to stay patient on the open market.

Alongside owning all of their own first-round picks moving forward, the Suns have Miami’s first round picks in 2018 and 2021 (PHX’s prime asset) via the Goran Dragic trade and Milwaukee’s protected first that is likely to convey in 2020 from the Eric Bledsoe trade this fall. Also, if need be, McDonough could be able to shuffle the deck as his roster is filled to the brim with young prospects with high upside.

Before writing off the Kemba scenario, though, I want to relay the positives of him in the Valley if it happened. Not only would he provide more spacing and be a legitimate second option to Booker, but he would help progress the league’s youngest roster forward.

Walker would also bring a name to Phoenix, and in turn, help attract them in the summer of 2018 alongside Booker. This would hurt their chances of a high draft pick, but to have it convey around 8-11, then a name like Mikal Bridges, Mohamed Bamba or Jaren Jackson Jr. makes a ton of sense if they want to build around this duo defensively.

There is no guarantee the Suns even end up with one of the three top point guards in this draft class — Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Collin Sexton all would be possible selections — which makes the push for Walker all the more interesting. But, as I’ve mentioned before, the Suns want to organically build this contender while saving those assets for the right opportunity. They currently sit No. 5 in the draft, with the league’s toughest schedule remaining. There are good odds one of Doncic, Young or Sexton will be available for them to pounce on.

It seems at this moment that surrendering any assets for Walker would be a bad idea when factoring all of these into it. Not only is Phoenix set up to obtain an elite prospect in the 2018 draft class, the final year in which they need to capitalize on finding a co-star from this route, but their assets allow for a big fish move whenever they want to push said button. Obtaining both seems like their best-case scenario, and if I was in McDonough’s shoes it would be as well.

Allowing Walker’s situation to play out without getting involved looks like what the Suns will do, unless someone drastically changes course. They still have the shot of obtaining him in free agency next summer, if Phoenix becomes the destination they hope it can revolving around its core of young, promising talent.

Whether it is the draft option or swinging for the fences (see Lillard, Damian if he ever wants out of Portland), the Suns definitely need to address their point guard spot long-term this summer. After the first 47 games, it’s become very obvious that this is the spot that needs to add some help immediately after seeing the PG carousel swing around from Eric Bledsoe, Mike James, Tyler Ulis, and Isaiah Canaan.

Even though Phoenix is set up to make a nice run at Kemba right now, they need to stay the course. I initially thought they should make a run at Walker myself, but after thinking it over and actually weighing the positives and negatives, there are a lot better options for the Suns to reach another level without having to surrender assets they have built up for a superstar type of trade.

After acquiring Monroe from Milwaukee alongside the main piece in their future first rounder, here’s what McDonough had to say after I asked him about where they stand asset-wise for a potential star trade eventually.

“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 at the press conference announcing the addition of Monroe plus future picks. “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.”

After seeing bigger franchise impact players like Leonard and Lillard pop up in separate reports this week, albeit not saying they want out so to say, but now I believe it’s something to monitor moving forward.

With how the Suns’ assets are laid out, they have a chance of obtaining a star player to their current core over each of the next three summers. Now, we will have to see how this plan comes to fruition until then.

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