Long time BSotS readers know that Dave King generally does not engage in trade speculation. Dave knows that one fan base’s treasure is another team’s fans trash. Dave knows that even fair-ish proposals just don’t happen for myriad reasons within each team’s front offices. Dave likes to talk about himself in third person apparently.
However, with the trade deadline approaching quickly - it’s BEFORE the All-Star break this year - coming up THIS THURSDAY at 1:00 PM Arizona time.
The Suns first game after the deadline is Saturday at home against the Nuggets, so unlike prior years the Suns won’t be gathering on buses or trying to get on a plane right when the deadline hits. You can likely expect the Suns won’t even have a shootaround the morning after a late-start back-to-back.
Will Suns GM Ryan McDonough make a trade this week?
There’s no need to trade any veterans to make room for more playing time for kids. After buying out Greg Monroe last week and watching Isaiah Canaan suffer a severe ankle break, the only barriers to playing time faced by guys on #TheTimeline are against each other.
- Point guard: Devin Booker (21), Tyler Ulis (22)
- Shooting guard: Josh Jackson (20), Troy Daniels (26)
- Small forward: T.J. Warren (24), Jackson, Jared Dudley (32)
- Power forward: Marquese Chriss (20), Dragan Bender (20), Dudley
- Center: Tyson Chandler (74), Alex Len (24)
The only major playing time spots in the rotation held by guys over 22 are at center and backup shooting guard.
Barring rotation-changing trades, I’d expect Josh Jackson to get major minutes at shooting guard the rest of the way. He’s scored 20+ points in four straight games at that position and seems to be finding his way in the NBA to starter minutes.
This allows the Suns to play T.J. Warren as much as they want, alongside Booker and Jackson.
In the front court, you can say that Bender and Chriss hold each other back because they need to share the same position for the most part at power forward. Both will get spot minutes at center, especially on nights off by Chandler (age), but mostly share the 48 PF minutes now.
At center, there’s no center of the future, per se. So we get to watch Tyson Chandler play well every third game and Alex Len stumble his way to unrestricted free agency this summer. Len’s ceiling appears to be as a traditional center rotation piece, not much different than the one he plays this year for the Suns. Not bad. Not great.
Trade Idea - Aaron Gordon
Once this rumor was floated last week, I started looking into whether the Suns should want to acquire 22 year old power forward Aaron Gordon from the Magic.
Aaron Gordon is putting up career highs in points (18.4), rebounds (8.3) and assists (2.2) with almost a steal and a block per game as well.
His career progression is remarkable for the one-time 19 year old rookie.
Aaron Gordon has now been made available in trade talks, per @MikeAScotto. Gordon would fit right into the Suns’ long-term plans only being 22 years old, if they believe he can accelerate their timeline. He is a restricted free agent this summer.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) February 2, 2018
I would share with you what Scotto says, but it’s behind a pay wall now. Suffice to say he says the Magic are quietly gauging interest in Gordon ahead of his restricted free agency.
So why would the Magic want to trade Gordon?
Because their own rebuild has failed miserably. Remember when the Magic were going to dominate the NBA with their stable of high draft picks? They are now in year six of the post-Dwight era and are even worse than the Suns at 15-36.
But it doesn’t appear to be Gordon’s fault. He has developed into the guy we HOPE Marquese Chriss can someday develop into.
And here’s Gambo on it.
Ok in a nutshell because a lot of people are asking about him. Aaron Gordon is having a breakout year and could be available but it will cost Phoenix it’s first round pick and you’ll have to pay him max money if you want to trade for him.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) February 2, 2018
Uh, unless there’s heavy protection on that Suns pick this summer, that’s a big fat no. And by heavy protection, I mean it would roll into 2019 for sure.
“Do you want to give up what it takes to trade for Aaron Gordon and then give up the money it takes to sign Aaron Gordon?” pic.twitter.com/FwMAWpFz7U— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) February 2, 2018
If the Suns trade for Aaron Gordon, he will be a restricted free agent this summer and would likely command $20-25 million per year on a rookie extension.
Let’s compare Aaron Gordon to a surprising contemporary in Marquese Chriss, where Gordon is just two more NBA years ahead of Quese. They even share the same recent “hip flexor” injury that has held out/back each player recently while they recover.
I’ll throw in Dragan Bender too. Year one for all three players, who all played at 19 years old:
Chriss had by far the best rookie season of the three players.
Now year two, while each is age 20:
Here is where Gordon starts to pass up Bender and Chriss, though each of the Suns’ 20 year old are getting better each month and Gordon’s stats are for the full year.
But this is also while Gordon was being miscast as a small forward his first two years, as the Magic tried to make the playoffs with other PFs.
Should the Suns do it?
If the Magic are indeed interested in trading Gordon, they almost have to be considering yet another rebuild, meaning they’d want back guys on rookie deals who could soon replace Gordon’s production on a much cheaper deal.
Should the Suns just hold onto Chriss and hope he has the same year-3 and year-4 development as Aaron Gordon has had?
Or should the Suns acelerate the likelihood of their own timeline by acquiring the slightly older, but still just 22, Gordon who already has become what the Suns hope from Chriss in two years.
The trade idea
I would trade Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and a heavily protected 2018 first round pick for Gordon.
Something like a pick that falls between 10-17 this year or it rolls to 2019 with lighter protection. This would allow the Suns to take their Top-5 guy this summer and then have Booker, Gordon, Jackson and Ayton/Young/Bamba going into 2018-19.
The money part of the trade this week would be easy since all these guys are on rookie contracts.
I’d be willing to go as far as Chriss AND Bender AND the higher of the Miami/Milwaukee pick in 2018 (likely 15-23 range). I’d even let the Magic roll the pick over to 2019 if it’s not a Top-20 pick this year.
While a full actualized Marquese Chriss might be better than Gordon’s 18/8/2/1/1 some day, I’d rather already acquire (and pay) that version to speed up #TheTimeline by a year or two while increasing the chances it will actually result in a playoff team.
What say you, Bright Siders?