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Lowe: Suns ‘openly covet’ D’Angelo Russell

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When discussing the Suns’ draft on The Lowe Post, ESPN’s Zach Lowe had an interesting free agency tidbit.

Brooklyn Nets v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

D’Angelo Russell is certainly a hot topic for Suns fans leading up to free agency, but this seems to be the first time we’ve heard a legit interest from the team in the 23-year-old. On The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Bobby Marks and Jonathan Givony Friday, Zach Lowe dropped off a nugget that will make many ears perk up in the Valley.

When the dust all settles, the Suns with Kelly Oubre’s cap hold — and Kelly Oubre is a decent young player, the Suns should want to keep Kelly Oubre — have I think $14-15 million in room. Not enough for D’Angelo Russell, who they have openly coveted. Not enough for Malcolm Brogdon. Maybe enough for Patrick Beverley, but not enough for a max free agent.

What in the hell just happened? What are they doing? What happened?

Phoenix swapping out T.J. Warren and picks for Dario Saric, Aron Baynes, plus the rights to Cameron Johnson and Ty Jerome certainly confused many around the Association. What exactly is the Suns’ plan here? We’ll soon find out with free agency one week away, but there are a few way to open up additional space for someone like Russell or Brogdon.

I’m willing to give them a very slight benefit of the doubt, even though they had a goat (expletive) in their GM’s office a couple years ago. Maybe there’s a larger plan here, but with $15 million, or $24 million if they renounce Oubre, that’s still not enough to get you to D’Angelo Russell’s max number but it gets you close. You’re like one transaction away.

Renouncing Oubre and trading Josh Jackson is one way to reach the required $27.3 million in space to chase top restricted free agent point guards, but attaching a future asset along with Tyler Johnson’s $19.25 million expiring would also get Phoenix there.

Suns GM James Jones is reworking this roster to fit his preferred image, so plenty more movement is on the way. The question is who will be next to go? Players such as Elie Okobo, De’Anthony Melton, Jackson and Johnson should all keep an extra bag packed over the next few weeks.

Will the Suns make a splash or fill out their roster with win-now veterans to push the young core forward? We now at least know Phoenix is exploring the possibility of pushing their chips all-in on a player like Russell, who is best friends with Devin Booker.