The Phoenix Suns are committed to trading Trevor Ariza as quickly as possible this weekend, and almost did agree to a deal before the calendar hit December 15, but the original deal fell through last night.
Phoenix has allowed Ariza to leave the team and head home to California to pack for his new destination.
The Suns were willing to take the Wizards’ Austin Rivers, a combo guard who is on an expiring contract, for salary-matching purposes but apparently REALLY wanted Memphis’ Dillon Brooks, who is a second-year energy wing off the bench.
When Memphis replaced Dillon with Marshon, a 29-year old journeyman not unlike Troy Daniels, the Suns pulled out.
But now this morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Suns and Wizards are trying to resurrect the deal, and may even be re-engaging with Memphis.
Memphis appears to want Kelly Oubre, a young small forward about to become a restricted free agent, who would fit in Memphis but basically duplicates a lot of guys already on the Suns. Oubre doesn’t do anything really well, but dabbles in scoring and rebounding and playing defense. But apparently, Memphis doesn’t want to give up Dillon Brooks just to get Oubre.
I assume the Suns would take on Oubre since he’s expiring, meaning the Suns would get a pair of functional NBA players in Rivers and Oubre in exchange for the loafing Ariza and have no change to their free agency booty next off season.
On the plus side, neither Rivers nor Oubre allow their opponent to shoot 9% better than usual, like Ariza has done this year. Before you blame the players around Ariza for that, the much-maligned Devin Booker only allows his opponent to shoot 5% better than usual this year, while Deandre Ayton holds players below their averages and Mikal Bridges and Josh Jackson only allow 1% better.
But the Suns would rather get Dillon Brooks back as the longer-term asset instead of Oubre.
Reportedly, per John Gambadoro, the Suns have been separately engaged with Memphis on Dillon Brooks in recent days, even exchanging medicals (Dillon is hurt right now, strained knee), which was why the Suns assumed “Brooks” meant Dillon in last night’s trade.
Brooks, 23, is a hard-nosed perimeter defender who can spot at power forward and makes 36%+ of his threes. He’s not a star, but he brings a little more sand in the bucket on the perimeter and generally plays about as hard as a player can play.
What a crazy night in Suns land.
Let’s see how today shakes out!