You’ve had some time to recharge from the Kevin Durant trade saga that occupied much of the Phoenix Suns news this summer, so now you’ve got room in your thoughts for this one: Anthony Davis for Deandre Ayton and Cam Johnson.
That’s the suggestion from an unnamed “Western Conference executive” who told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that he could see the deal potentially making sense.
“Phoenix would be an interesting fit too, once Ayton can be traded,” this source told Deveney. “They could do Cam Johnson and Ayton, something like that. I am sure some in L.A. would expect a big return for Davis but with the injuries the last few years, it would be tough to trade him. There’s a lot of reasons why they’d keep him but that is one – you’re not going to get fair value because of the injuries.”
But DOES it make sense? Well no...maybe.....it depends. Let’s break this down.
First of all, as Deveney’s executive notes, due to the Suns having matched the Indiana Pacers’ offer sheet to Ayton the Suns can’t trade the big guy anywhere until January. So it would have to be a mid-season trade. And even once January rolls around, Ayton would still have to approve the trade...a veto power he holds for a year.
The Suns’ point of view:
As the team is currently constructed, Ayton and Johnson are expected to be huge contributors for the Suns. Given that we’d be talking about a midseason deal, it’s potentially a massive change to team chemistry to trade who may well be the Suns’ second and fourth leading scorers when the team would already have 40-some games under its belt.
Speaking of chemistry, what the public doesn’t know must also be a consideration for the Suns. Namely, the team has to consider how warm its relationship with Ayton is at that point. Things were clearly a little frosty a couple of months ago, and then the front office and Ayton made up when he got his new deal. But is it truly behind everyone, or are there simmering resentments and lingering feelings of disrespect that could warrant a parting of the ways?
Davis is his own bundle of question marks. He’s among the most talented big men in NBA history, with freakish athleticism and the ability to impact the game enormously on both ends.
But the 29 year-old 8X all-star has only been reasonably healthy in one of the past four seasons. He’s still quite effective when he does play, averaging 23 points on 58% true shooting to go with his 10 rebounds per game last season. But he only played in 40 games. This alone might be all the reason any Suns fan needs to dismiss the entire idea out of hand.
Finally, one has to consider whether the Suns could stomach delivering their talented #1 draft pick and a much-loved three point sniper to a hated divisional rival. Seeing Ayton and Cam suiting up in the purple and gold by the Suns’ own doing might just be too much to take.
The Lakers’ point of view:
Honestly...this makes a lot of sense for the Lakers. If LeBron James stays healthy and they get good production out of Ayton and Johnson, they’re clearly a team that could be dangerous in a postseason series. They’d also be potentially setting themselves up for life after LeBron by getting some under-25 all-star caliber talent in the door.
But as much as the Suns don’t want to gift wrap talent for the Lakers, the Lakers equally don’t want to look the fool by potentially delivering the Suns a championship.
How humiliating would it be for the Lakers to suffer another playoff exit at the hands of the Suns, this time with a grinning Anthony Davis posterizing LeBron for the exclamation point bucket in the final game? That’s not something the Lakers would easily live down.
Ultimately I think the odds of this going down are pretty low. A lot of stars would have to align in certain ways for both teams to agree this deal makes sense. There are a lot of variables to consider, such as the standings in January, the health of all players concerned, and the player-front office relationships which are not always apparent to fans.
AD is a tempting piece, if he were healthy. But that’s a big if, and there are so many reasons to like this Suns core. I’m inclined to think nothing along these lines ever really happens.
Should the Suns entertain an Ayton/Johnson for AD deal?
This poll is closed
Ask me again in January