The rumor that won’t go away came up again Saturday as Jason McIntyre of Fox Sports spouted on his radio show a very reasonable opinion that the Suns, who we all know loved Ball before the draft in 2017, ought to target him again this summer. With perhaps the whole Lakers roster outside LeBron James on the trade block this offseason, McIntyre said:
“If you look at the construction of the Phoenix Suns, they were hoping to get Ja Morant in the draft. They need a point guard badly. Devin Booker is an OK combo guard, but they need a point guard ... The Suns owner was obssessed with Lonzo Ball leading up to the draft a couple years ago because he knew he would sell tickets.”
Harmless, right? Later on, he brought on Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times to throw the question at her. Her response was very measured as well:
“They’ve always been open to trading Lonzo and that’s something that Lonzo’s camp has been always been resistant to ... (but) it’s definitely possible that he’ll be traded somewhere.”
Then came Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro to yet again throw water on Suns point guard trade rumors, tweeting that the Suns were not interested in using the No. 6 pick to acquire Ball:
There is NO truth to this - Suns not offering #6 for Lonzo https://t.co/vCjaOobkFL— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) June 2, 2019
To be fair, it looks as if these LakeShow Twitter account really misrepresented things, but it led Gambadoro to do some reporting and find that Ball is not in consideration at No. 6.
However, this report still leaves open the possibility that the Suns sniff around a Ball trade with other assets this summer. His father proclaimed on local radio in February that Ball’s preference would be to get re-routed to Phoenix in the event of a trade. If that’s still true, the Lakers, who are widely expected to go after several trade targets this summer, could try to satisfy Ball by dealing him to Phoenix so as to not tarnish his trade value.
Ball was likely the guy the Suns were hoping for on lottery night 2017, when they eventually fell from second to fourth. He is a fantastic fit with Devin Booker and an incredible help defender. He would raise the team’s floor considerably upon arrival.
Without Ball or Conley, the list of potential draft-night trade candidates is starting to dwindle. Assuming Jrue Holiday is not available, Kyle Lowry may be the only veteran playmaker on the market who would be worth trading for in a package centered around the sixth pick. Lowry’s availability will likely be tied to the fate of Leonard, whom TrueHoop just reported is expected to stay with the Raptors on a short-term deal.
What all of this means for the Suns is there may not be as many fair trades available on draft night despite falling to No. 6.