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The Bower connection: which former players could get Suns in playoffs?

Suns VP Jeff Bower formed several relationships then that could aid in the playoff push for Phoenix now.

New Orleans Hornets NBA Draft night Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images

Recently, I did a piece on former teammates of GM James Jones that are currently active players and how they might fit on this roster. Again, a big factor in off season movement is connections and Jeff has a surplus of them. Let’s take a look at those players as potential Suns.

*In Parentheses is when said player was on a franchise with Bower

The “Klutch Sports” Tier

J.R. Smith (2004-06 Hornets) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2014-17 Pistons)

Smith was part of the “Just Say No” Tier in my Jones piece. KCP on the other hand could be a good guard to have off the bench but I’m sure Rich Paul and Robert Sarver aren’t going to allow that to happen.

The “Player Options” Tier

Andre Drummond (2014-18 DET), Stanley Johnson (2015-18 DET), Avery Bradley (2017-18 DET) and James Ennis (2017-18 DET)

As mentioned previously, the odds of players declining these options will be slim for the most part.

The “Hard No” Tier

Tyson Chandler (2006-09 Hornets), Marcus Morris (2015-17 Pistons)

I don’t think I need to talk about their stints in Phoenix, do I?

The “Reggie” Tier

Reggie Jackson (2014-18 DET) and Reggie Bullock (2015-18 DET)

I don’t see a reason to trade for Bullock who has been inconsistent at best. Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent but he’ll likely either go to a lock playoff team as depth or ask for more than I’d be comfortable paying him. However, if he would come here at a reasonable price I would not be mad at the idea of him as a backup combo guard, health permitting.

The “Okay, As a Veteran Mind” Tier

Anthony Tolliver (2014-16, 17-18 DET)

Tolliver could be a good vet signing and a good mentor but he wouldn’t play much.

The “Just Keep Frank Kaminsky” Tier

Ersan Ilyasova (2015-16 DET)

Why spend $2 million to “upgrade” to a player that’s six years older and not clearly better at this point?

The “Just Pay Kelly Oubre” Tier

Tobias Harris (2015-18 DET)

He’s owed more than $140 million over the next four seasons and it would hamper the cap flexibility of the Suns when personally I’d rather unload the Brinks truck for “Tsunami Papi” who wouldn’t cost nearly as much.

The “Sure, For The Right Price” Tier

Ish Smith (2016-18 DET) and Boban Marjanovic (2016-18 DET)

As a former Sun, I have a soft spot for Ish. He’d be a good veteran point to have off the bench. Boban does not fit the system Phoenix is trying to establish but that size and efficiency makes it tempting. Also, the fits that he would cause Deandre Ayton in practice might unleash the beast in DA. Both are under contract next season, though and I’m not sure what the Wizards and Mavericks would want.

The “Net Unless Star” Tier

Spencer Dinwiddie (2014-16 DET)

He has two years left on his deal with a player option on the second year and he’s shown constant improvement, filling in admirably in Kyrie Irving’s absence this season. However, he’s a great role player for Brooklyn and I think they will keep him unless he’s included in a deal for a star.

Okay, we have viewed who will likely not be heading to Phoenix. Now, let’s check out who may be.

Langston Galloway (2017-18 DET)

As Brendon recently discussed, Galloway would be the perfect marksman off the bench for the Suns. He shoots it and he shoots it well. This season, Langston made 2.0 threes per game at a 39.9 percent clip and averaged 10.3 points. Phoenix needs some offense off the bench and he can fill it up while he gets likely lots of more open looks in purple and orange. Oh, and he probably wouldn’t cost that much to sign.

Luke Kennard (2017-18 DET)

It seems like a lot longer than just this Februrary that the Suns were in discussions with the Pistons to acquire Kennard. Detroit was intrigued by the thought of landing a future first-round pick from Phoenix, possibly as early as this coming draft in November. Talks for whatever reason fell apart, or did they? No deal was made at the time but that doesn’t mean the deal won’t be re-visited. Bower was part of the Pistons’ front office that drafted Kennard and even though he battled injury, he’s shown a lot of promise. Luke is only 24 and he averaged a career-best 15.8 points on 39.9% shooting from deep along with 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds this season. Stay tuned.

D.J. Augustin (2014-15 DET)

Yes, he will be 33 next season. Yes, he can still play a valuable role. The Suns need a solid backup point guard and he is able to be that for them. While he had a bit of a down year shooting the ball this season, the last two years (2017-19) he made 245 triples at a 42 percent clip. He averaged 10.5 points and 4.6 assists this season. As an unrestricted free agent, you would think that all it would take is a phone call for him to be re-united with Bower. That’s a phone call that Phoenix may be wise to make.

Blake Griffin (2017-18 DET)

Bower is the man that pulled the trigger on the trade that brought All-Star Blake Griffin to Detroit. It didn’t work out and he parted ways with the team shortly after. However, he clearly likes Blake. The Suns could use an upgrade at the starting power forward spot and another star next to Devin Booker. If he can get healthy, Griffin can be exactly that. Yes, his numbers were plain ugly this season and he only appeared in 18 games. However, he’s still just 31 years old and he balled out in 2018-19 making 2.5 treys per game at a 36.2 percent clip while posting 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists, making his sixth All-Star selection. The problem what it would take to match his $36.6 million salary for next season and the huge risk that it ends up being tied to the bench if he’s hurt.

Chris Paul (2005-10 Hornets)

I’m not the first one to bring up this idea and I’m sure I won’t be the last. The truth is I am legitimately torn on which way to lean.

The Bad: He’s 35 years old and owed $41.3 million next year with a player option for $44.2 million the next. That is a LOT of money and cap flexibility to have attached to someone whose body is supposed to be rapidly declining.

The Good: Paul could be the perfect fit next to Booker in the backcourt, the ideal play maker for Ayton and exactly what this team needs to get to where they want to be. Look at his resume. Seriously, look at it.

NBA Rookie of the Year (2006)
NBA All-Rookie First Team (2006)
10× NBA All-Star (2008–2016, 2020)
NBA All-Star Game MVP (2013)
4× All-NBA First Team (2008, 2012–2014)
4× All-NBA Second Team (2009, 2015, 2016, 2020)
All-NBA Third Team (2011)
7× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2009, 2012–2017)
2× NBA All-Defensive Second Team (2008, 2011)
4× NBA assists leader (2008, 2009, 2014, 2015)
6× NBA steals leader (2008, 2009, 2011–2014)

He’s an absolute lock for the Hall of Fame when he hangs it up. I’m absolutely fine with the risk it takes to bring him to the Suns.


Which of these players would you rather add to the Suns?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Langston Galloway
    (41 votes)
  • 46%
    Luke Kennard
    (204 votes)
  • 11%
    D.J. Augustin
    (49 votes)
  • 18%
    Blake Griffin
    (82 votes)
  • 13%
    Chris Paul
    (60 votes)
436 votes total Vote Now

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