The saga continues for the Phoenix Suns Nation as we explore different ways to make the best team in the NBA better. The trade deadline is a week away now, and who doesn’t love the prospect of making a deal?
Sure, the Suns don’t need to make a deal, but we would be remiss if we didn’t explore what possibilities are out there in hopes of helping Phoenix win their first ever championship. After all, they recently lost to the Atlanta Hawks, so clearly it’s time to tear it down. Clearly, I’m being facetious.
We’ve proposed a couple of ideas here at Bright Side of the Sun, formulating transactions that could land Jerami Grant or Josh Hart in Phoenix.
Today I’m swinging big, focusing on a player that would fall in line with the Suns’ culture and accept the role he is assigned. Does it make sense chemistry-wise? Probably not. The organic chemistry of this team is unparalleled. I haven’t seen such continuity in team sports since some of those San Francisco Giants championship teams, and that is a sport that is much more individualistic. Would the Kings accept? Once again, probably not. But weirder things have happened.
I am proposing that the Suns get in the batter’s box and take a swing at Kings’ forward Harrison Barnes.
Barnes is a quality wing player who brings with him a championship pedigree. In his third year in the league, the 7th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft was a member of the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors that won it all. After four years by the Bay, he signed as a free agent with the Dallas Mavericks and ultimately found himself in Sacramento following a 2019 trade. He re-signed with the team later that offseason.
Harrison Barnes is a connective piece rather than a superstar – or even star – that has been greatly admired and desired by numerous general managers throughout his career. His 6’8”, 225 pound frame was once compared to that of Glen Rice. He can play small forward and provide length or power forward and provide athleticism. While he lacks explosiveness at the three, he possesses shooting from the four.
The NBA, with all of it’s switching and versatility, has left Harrison Barnes in a bind as a “tweener”. He is stuck between two positions. You can negate some of these issues by having Barnes come off the bench – a role I believe he would excel in – but you don’t do that to a guy who you signed to a four-year, $85M contract in 2019.
The contract Barnes’ signed was front loaded, however, and he is slated to make $18M next season, which is the last of the deal. Much akin to an Eric Gordon deal, if you make a trade for Harrison Barnes, it’s for a player who you’d have to pay next season. This would hurt any chances of paying Cameron Johnson and/or Deandre Ayton. The difference between Gordon and Barnes’ contracts (besides $1.9M)? Barnes is easier to trade in the offseason due to the remaining dollars owed.
I’ll fall back to the logic that hurts the majority of these trade ideas. Why the heck would the Kings, a team that finds itself 13th in the Western Conference, want our peanuts for Barnes? Surely another team can provide more than Dario Saric, Jalen Smith, and Landry Shamet. Throw in a first-rounder and it might be more appealing, but still.
I have no good answer for this. Harrison Barnes could bring in a healthy ransom if Kings’ GM Monte McNair wanted to deal the 29 year-old player. James Jones would really have to sweeten the deal to get Barnes to Phoenix.
But if he did…
Barnes would be a nice fit for the second team unit. He may not be a defensive stalwart – he has a defensive rating of 117.3 currently – but his offense would help the Suns stay afloat when the big dogs are out. He is shooting 40.7% from beyond the arc this season and is a career 38.0% shooter from deep.
Just imagine Cameron Johnson and Harrison Barnes on our second team unit. They’d download triples faster than Cox Gigablast. While Cameron Payne is putting pressure on the middle of the defense, like velociraptors in the wild, Cam and Barnes would strike from the side, devastating the enemy.
I’m still in the camp that no change needs to be made. That the buyout market is the place to make your mark. If you have to make a deal, absolutely have to, why not make it with the Kings? And why not for Barnes?
If not, there’s always Marvin Bagley…