Between the Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell trades, the Utah Jazz have opened themselves for business with the rest of the NBA.
They’ve accumulated nine different first round picks, two 2022 first-round rookies, and a few more young-but-established rotation players in the two deals. When you factor in flipping Patrick Beverly (acquired in the Gobert deal) to the LA Lakers for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson, the Jazz appear to be full steam ahead on a youth movement.
The Phoenix Suns are more lacking in the youth department than most teams, but could a deal centering around picks and salary filler be enticing enough to the Jazz to pry away one of their other established pieces?
Here are my favorite targets on Utah — ranked from least favorite (4) to most — with an example of a trade I like for each:
4. Malik Beasley: 6-foot-5, 187 pounds, 6-7 wingspan
I feel like I’m higher on this idea than most, and it’s for a very stark reason. Beasley has $32 million remaining on his contract over the next two seasons, and that can turn a lot of people off, especially when your defense isn’t great by any means.
However, his three-point numbers jump off the screen; over 130 games in Minnesota, Beasley averaged 8.3 attempts per game and shot 38.9% on those looks.
Those are the kind of numbers that can erase faults like slightly below average defense — which by the way is improving! When it comes to roster construction, one rarely regrets prioritizing offensive dynamism, and this would be a move in favor for that.
A deal around Landry Shamet, Torrey Craig ($5 million expiring), and a second round pick (or two) should be enough to get the job done.
It’s worth noting that Beasley served 78 days of a 120-day sentence in prison for an incident involving felony-level threats of violence before being released in Aug. 2021. That may be the type of character issue that earns him a hard no from the Suns’ front office, no matter the cost.
3. Jordan Clarkson: 6-4, 194, 6-10
Clarkson is a target I’m more lukewarm on, based mostly on his poor efficiency — especially of late (53.2 TS% last season) — juxtaposed with his high usage (26.8% last season and 29.7% the season before).
Any trade would likely have to involve Cam Payne since the acquisition would be to improve upon that spot and given the recent strides in playmaking we’ve seen by Payne in an area Clarkson struggles, I’d be a little hesitant to make the deal at all.
The upside comes from the hope that he can re-capture the magic of his 2020-21 season when he won 6th Man of the Year. Back to the point about prioritizing offensive dynamism, having a bona fide shot creator and maker in your organization takes a massive burden off of your bench unit.
This would likely take at least Jae Crowder or a first rounder, with even more on top of that. For this example, I’ll send Crowder and Payne with a second rounder to sweeten the deal.
2. Jarred Vanderbilt: 6-9, 214, 7-1
I’ll let Sam Cooper from his YouTube channel with The Timeline handle the pitch for this one, from a free agency pitch video a few summers ago:
And I’ll hold off on a trade example since I love the idea of him being paired with the top target.
1. Bojan Bogdanovic: 6-7, 226, 6-11
Bogdanovic is by far the most established player up for grabs, a well-established contributor to a playoff contender, and he’s currently competing alongside Dario Saric with the Croatian national team in EuroBasket. Also, there have already been reports that Phoenix is probing the market around Bogdanovic.
I’d be about as all in on a trade for him as possible, especially if Saric gives a primary source stamp of approval from EuroBasket. Crowder, Shamet, and a first for Bogdanovic and Vanderbilt sounds mighty fine to me.
As Suns nation, where are we at? Would we be comfortable running it back? Or do the Suns need to make another splash ahead of training camp like a Bogdanovic trade would be?
Personally, I’m comfortable with where they’re at, though I’d much prefer another rotation addition of some sort.