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Center of the Sun: Will James Jones spend some draft capital in trades before training camp?

Your weekly roundup of Suns news, rumors, notes and videos from the prior week plus a preview of the week to come.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry GossageNBAE via Getty Images

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

The late NBA offseason trade dominoes have begun to fall. Will the Suns join the party? Possibly but that depends on whether James Jones is willing to pay the price of admission... future draft picks.

While Jones doesn’t place a high value on players brought in via the draft, that doesn’t mean that he feels the picks themselves have little value. He knows they are the lubricant that greases the NBA trade wheels.

With Utah blowing up their team and going all in on a full rebuild, they want draft picks in return for any of the players still on their roster that other teams might covet. As for the players they get back in return (for salary matching purposes), expiring contracts or young players with upside potential are also on their wish list.

The Suns have plenty of draft picks and several expiring's available but giving up even a few of those could take the Suns out of the running in a still possible midseason trade for Kevin Durant. I’m ready to spend some of that capital now instead of waiting for something that might not even happen later on... but is James Jones?

It’s worth mentioning that any player that the Suns acquire now through a trade would be available to trade immediately in a one-for-one trade or in a multiple player trade 60 days after they were initially acquired through a trade. What that means is that any player the Suns trade for now would be eligible to be traded again well before the trade deadline. Any player the Suns trade for now might actually be a plus in getting a midseason trade done later but... any BIG trade will still likely hinge on including draft picks.

From Utah, Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson are potential trade targets as are Harrison Barnes of the Kings, John Collins of the Hawks and Julius Randle of the Knicks. None of them moves the needle as does Durant but they would move that needle. Also, at least one draft pick would likely need to be included to get any of them - unless the Suns choose to add one of their better players to a trade offer - which begins to further push the door closed on a future trade for KD.

The real question this season is just how much does that needle need to be moved to push the Suns into legitimate Championship favorites territory... or more importantly, how much does James Jones believe that needle needs to be moved?

We’ll see soon if Jones actually gives up some of those picks to make a trade for someone other than KD.


Quotes of the Week

“I’m happy to be in Phoenix, I love it here.” - Mikal Bridges

“Wherever the coach puts me on the court, I can play. Being the team’s center was new for me, but I could play as stretch five, having the ball in my hands and the freedom to make decisions.” - Dario Saric


2021-22 Season Highlights

KNICKS at SUNS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 4, 2022

SUNS at MAGIC | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 8, 2022

SUNS at HEAT | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | March 9, 2022


News & Notes

30 Teams in 30 Days: Suns keep roster intact, eye return to Finals. NBA,com

‘I’m a smart player’: Dario Saric eager to do anything that keeps him on the court. BasketNews

Suns’ Cameron Johnson Goes Top Ten in 2019 NBA Re-Draft. Yardbarker

Suns: The Bench Will Make or Break Phoenix. Yardbarker

3 Trade Targets Suns Must Consider Before Training Camp. NBA Analysis Network

Suns’ Mikal Bridges Ecstatic to Stay in the Valley. Yardbarker

Phoenix Suns fans sound off on Anthony Davis NBA trade speculation: ‘Are you nuts? Hell no’. Yahoo! Sports

Western Conference Rival Predicted to Land Kevin Durant at Trade Deadline, Per NBA Scout. Heavy.com

Suns star Devin Booker’s savage response to Twitter troll after NBA 2K23 cover jab. Clutch Points


This Week in Suns History & Suns Trivia

On September 6, 1977, the Suns acquired point guard Don Buse from the Indiana Pacers for Ricky Sobers. Buse would miss just one game in three seasons for Phoenix while averaging 8.0 points, 4.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game. In 1979 he helped take the Suns deep into the playoffs before losing 4-3 in the Western Conference Finals to the Seattle Supersonics who went on to win the NBA Finals 4-1 against the Washington Bullets. Buse is still 3rd on the Suns’ All-Time list for career steals per game with 1.93 per game.

On September 7, 2004, the Suns signed super-speedy Summer League standout and Japanese-born PG Yuta Tabuse. Yuta was in Dallas’ training camp before being cut and with Denver in the preseason in 2003 before signing with the ABA’s Long Beach Jam where he averaged 5.3 points and 6.3 assists in 2003. He scored seven points in his first NBA game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 3, 2004, becoming on that day the first Japanese player ever to play in an NBA regular season game.

Yuta Tabuse NBA debut highlights

He was later waived by the Suns on December 16, 2004 after playing in just four games averaging 1.8 points, 1.0 rebounds and .8 assists in 4.3 minutes per game. Suns assistant coach Marc Iavaroni said of Tabuse, “I liked his energy, I liked his courage.”

Tabuse would eventually return to Japan where he continued to play professionally until 2018 and played on two Japanese League Championship teams and won Finals MVP honors in 2010.

On September 11, 1984, the Phoenix Suns won the 1984 Italian Open with a 148-121 victory over the New Jersey Nets in Milan, Italy behind Rod Foster’s 25 points and Walter Davis’ 24. The Suns finished 4-0 in the tourney.


Classic Suns Highlights

Walter Davis Suns 40pts/Forces OT/Game Winner vs Sonics (1979)

The 1983-84 Phoenix Suns Surprise Run To The Western Conference Finals


Important Future Dates

September 26/27 - Media Day/Training camps open.

October 2 - Suns vs Adelaide 36ers (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT

October 5 - Suns vs Lakers (Preseason game in Las Vegas) 7:00 pm AZT

October 10 - Suns @ Nuggets (Preseason game) 6:00 pm AZT

October 12 - Suns vs Kings (Preseason game) 7:00 pm AZT

October 18 - Regular season begins.

October 19 - Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks (Season Opener) 7:00 pm AZT

December 15 - Most players signed during offseason can be traded.

December 25 - Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets 10:30 pm ET

January 5 - 10-day contracts may now be signed.

January 15 - All players signed during offseason can be traded.

February 17-19 - 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend/All-Star Game (Salt Lake City, UT)