Earlier this week, the Phoenix Suns lost out on the Zion Williamson/Ja Morant draft lottery and ended up with the sixth pick in the 2019 NBA draft. There are a lot of talented players in this draft that the Suns could pick at six, especially at the point guard position, but none of them are on par with Morant or Williamson.
There are rumors that the Suns are planning to trade the pick since it fell out of the top three. It makes sense as there’s a couple of top guards out there in the trade market the Suns should at least make a call for. The sixth pick may not be enticing enough to make a trade happen but the Suns have plenty of assets available to make a deal work. Honestly, I’d imagine everyone besides Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and maybe Mikal Bridges are available but let’s focus on the ones who have the best trade value.
The most obvious player the Suns could trade, Jackson hasn’t lived up to the high standard that his pick (fourth overall in 2017) demands. After getting arrested trying to sneak into the VIP section of Miami’s Rolling Loud Music Festival, The Suns might be ready to call it quits. Jackson also happens to play a position where the Suns have three other solid players in Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr. and TJ Warren. As the former fourth overall pick, it’s clear he has some potential and upside that a team like Memphis or New Orleans might want to give him a chance with their rebuilds. His issues off the court would definitely lower his trade value but for teams that are rebuilding and looking to add talent, he might be worth the risk. Jackson’s contract is about $7 million next season, then jumps to $9 million in year four of his rookie scale deal.
Another forward the Suns should look to deal, Warren is coming off an injury plagued season where he only played 43 games. Before last season, Warren was growing well as a second option with Devin Booker, averaging nearly 20 ppg but injuries and with the addition of Bridges and Oubre took some of those shots away. What might make Warren more of a tradable asset is the contract he signed in 2017, a four-year extension worth $50 million. Considering how much money NBA teams had locked up on themselves on mediocre players, this contract is practically a blessing. It allows a team to get a serviceable wing that won’t eat up much of its cap space.
Johnson was a serviceable guard who help ease some of the ball handling pressure from Booker this year. What makes Johnson valuable is his contract. He has one year, nearly $20 million left on his deal and with that, a team can trade a bad contract to the Suns to free up cap space for the future for him. Johnson’s massive contract will be needed for the Suns since the two teams would need to match the cap hit in trades. Mike Conley is set to make about $33 million next year, Jrue Holiday will make $26 million so the Suns will most likely add Johnson to make the trade work financially.
Kelly Oubre Jr.
Out of everyone on this list, Oubre seems the most likely to not get traded. He’s built a great bond with Phoenix, creating #valleyboyz and along with Bridges can provide a lot as a wing scorer. The Suns just traded for him last season and he wants to stay there on a long term deal but the Suns reportedly don’t want to use all their cap space on him. The Suns could do a sign and trade happen and in return for a point guard like Conley or Holiday, the opposing team would get Oubre on a contract they want.
When it comes to the sixth overall pick, the Suns have a lot of options. Unless the team falls in love with a draft prospect, I imagine they’ll use the pick to trade for a veteran point guard that can help the team right away.