The Kevin Durant saga is over (for now) and the Phoenix Suns can focus on their current roster for the time being.
One thing I’d like to make clear is that I do not think the Durant situation is over by any means, as the Brooklyn situation still feels like a ticking time bomb.
That’s something the Suns should keep in mind if they look to make any trades ahead of the trade deadline.
John Gambadoro reported the Suns will be in the hunt for a “post-up” power forward, which leads me to believe they are looking at ways to improve, possibly before the season begins.
Hearing the Suns will now turn their attention to try and obtain a post-up Power Forward. They have the cap-payer exception still available to them.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) August 23, 2022
Logical Trade Candidates: Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, Landry Shamet, Torrey Craig, Future 1st Round Draft Picks.
#1: Jordan Clarkson, SG — Utah Jazz
Contract: 2 years, 27.5 million (14.3 million 2023 player option)
The Utah Jazz are on the brink of beginning their rebuilding process
if when Donovan Mitchell is traded.
Clarkson’s elite skill is something the Suns need desperately: shot creation. He’s someone that can get hot in a hurry and swing an entire game alone from time to time. Phoenix’s bench certainly has room to improve as well.
Sending some sort of package centered around Landry Shamet and draft capital could make sense for both sides while also not hurting the Suns’ chances of making a significant trade down the road.
#2: Harrison Barnes, F — Sacramento Kings
Contract: 1 year, 18.3 million (expiring)
The Sacramento Kings could use a new veteran presence in the locker room that brings the intangibles and leadership a Jae Crowder does. The Phoenix Suns could use more of a scoring threat at the forward position. Maybe there’s something here.
Barnes is a better player than Crowder, so Phoenix would likely have to include another player or pick to sweeten the pot for Sacramento.
#3: PJ Washington, F/C — Charlotte Hornets
Contract: 1 year, 5.8 million (Restricted FA in 2023)
Washington would give them a little more strength at the forward position, as he has about 20 pounds on both Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges and is a better rebounder than the Twins.
Pairing Washington with Ayton up front could help the Suns against bigger teams, and they could even get creative and play him as a small-ball five from time-to-time. The main issue with PJ is his contract status, as he would likely be a rental for the Suns if they plan on keeping Cam Johnson.
#4: Julius Randle, F/C — New York Knicks
Contract: 4 years, 117.1 million
This one has the highest risk/reward combination of this first group by quite a bit. Adding someone like Randle would change the entire dynamic of how the Suns play. Is he good enough to take that leap? I personally don’t think so.
I’m not sure stylistically blowing up a 64-win team for Randle is the right call, but the talent is there. Part of me is intrigued because I think he could thrive in an offense where he’s not expected to carry the entire workload, but it would take a full commitment of him buying in on both ends.
#5: Bojan Bogdanovic, F — Utah Jazz
Contract: 1 year, 19.3 million (expiring)
As mentioned previously, the Jazz are likely to blow the entire operation up including dealing Mitchell, Clarkson, and Bogdanovic. Bojan has a contract similar to Harrison Barnes that is just under 20 million and set to expire after this season, making him an ideal rental option.
Phoenix has the contracts to match fairly easily and could toss in a pick to get it done. While it wouldn’t be a true needle mover, I do believe the offensive boost could help the Suns out.
Shai Gilgeous Alexander, G — Oklahoma City Thunder
With the recent news of Chet Holmgren having potential ligament damage to his foot, one has to wonder if this accelerates their rebuild process. Chet will miss the entire 22-23 season, so if the right deal comes along I could see the Thunder biting.
The package Phoenix would have to put together would likely include at least one of the Twins, a multitude of unprotected 1st rounders, and a couple pick swaps. It would be similar to the KD packages that have been discussed over the summer.
Pascal Siakam, F — Toronto Raptors
This one feels unlikely because Toronto is fairly high on him, but if Siakam becomes available for whatever reason I’m still a big fan of his fit in Phoenix next to Devin Booker.
The reality is one of Deandre Ayton or Mikal Bridges would have to be in any Siakam trade. He’s a top 30 player, and one could even argue borderline top 20. If the Suns and Raptors both start slow and/or want to shake things up come trade deadline, keep an eye out on that fit.
Who is your favorite target, Suns fans?