Following the stunning Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas trade bombshell on Thursday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dropped a Suns-related tidbit on his podcast that will pain some Phoenix fans.
“Oh, they weren’t rumors,” Woj said of the Porzingis-Suns rumors leading up to the 2017 draft. “Phoenix, if they were willing to give up the No. 4 pick, which was Josh Jackson, they would’ve gotten him.”
That’s a tough pill to swallow looking back on that exchange, especially for how low the cost would’ve been before Porzingis even tore his ACL. Instead of still giving false hope to having the Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss selections panning out, the Suns could have paired Booker with an affordable young star making them immediately more marketable for free agents if all went well.
Remember, Phoenix also was the team who backed out of trade talks that would’ve sent Kyrie Irving to Phoenix for just Eric Bledsoe and Jackson.
Within a one-month span during the summer of 2017, it’s now been confirmed that the Suns backed out of deals where they would’ve been able to get Porzingis or Irving on a cost-controlled deal until 2019. And the main price point in both deals was only the rights to Jackson.
Phoenix believed Jackson was the ideal wing to pair with Devin Booker, but, as we’ve seen thus far, the former Kansas Jayhawk hasn’t lived up to his top-five pick status yet. There’s still some debate as to whether Phoenix will pick up Jackson’s fourth-year team option for $8.9 million, though I lean in the direction it’s accepted if he’s still on the roster next season.
The Suns tried for years to finally nab that appealing star piece throughout McDonough’s five-year tenure. Turns out, they had their pick between two of the brightest young stars in the league at the time, except the front office said thanks but no thanks.
Update: According to Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro, Wojnarowski’s intel is incorrect. The Suns were the ones who offered New York the No. 4 pick (Jackson), a young player (likely Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender), 2018 1st via Miami, and 2021 1st via Miami for Porzingis.
Reports that Suns said no to a Porzingis for Josh Jackson swap is inaccurate. What did happen was the Suns offered New York the 4th overall pick, both Miami first-round picks and a young player for Porzingis and the Knicks said NO.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) February 1, 2019