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LIVE THREAD: Suns chatter ahead of draft including former Arizona Wildcat Keanu Pinder

A pre-draft workout, a summer league addition, and an overseas tryout among pre-draft buzz

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament - Arizona vs UCLA Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Approaching 24 hours away from the NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns are staying busy even after the weekend’s blockbuster trade to acquire Bradley Beal.

First and foremost, I’m hearing they’re still inquiring about potentially buying an additional second-round pick; keep an eye on the Orlando Magic, who have #36. It was a shot to my heart earlier on Wednesday when the Denver Nuggets made another move to add picks in that range, let alone to acquire picks Phoenix was likely targeting.

Plus, a three-team deal came along later in the day that also featured some potential Suns targets, including Boston Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon and Washington Wizards big Kristaps Porzingis, who were re-routed to the LA Clippers and Boston respectively. Hour by hour, Suns targets are coming off the board.

Though not involved in the last couple trades, Phoenix is staying busy, including adding one more name to the list of prospects they’ve worked out: UAB center Trey Jemison. Listed at 7’0 and 260 pounds, Jemison played his first two years of college ball at Clemson before transferring to UAB for his final three seasons.

His counting stats weren’t all that gaudy due to capping out around 25 minutes per game, but he still blocked shots at a high level, averaging 1.8 blocks (7.8 block-percentage, which measures his blocks over total two-point attempts by the opponent, Ayton’s career-high is 4.1% for reference) over his three seasons at UAB.

Jemison isn’t expected to be drafted; in fact, he doesn’t appear on The Athletic draft expert Sam Vecenie’s top 100 at all. Based on what little I was able to find, he’s certainly worth at least a Summer League look if they like what they see in the workout.

Speaking of Summer League, we have our first confirmed addition to the squad: Keanu Pinder, who played two underwhelming seasons at the University of Arizona before a short stint in Poland before returning to his native Australia to play in the NBL.

The 6’9 220 forward also played six games in the Spanish league last season but really stood out in the NBL playing for the Cairns Taipans, averaging 16.9 points (50.0% FG), 9.3 rebounds, and 2.4 assists, and 1.3 steals across 19 games. He was named Second Team All-NBL.

Pinder continues a recent trend of NBL alumni playing for the Summer Suns after Duop Reath and Jo Luol-Acuil Jr. both impressed in spurts last summer.

Suns are also slated to work out a former Northern Illinois standout, Eugene German. The 6’0 shot-maker starred for the Qingdao Eagles in the Chinese league last season, averaging 24.2 points (44.6% FG), 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Don’t be shocked if the Jun. 28 tryout leads to German joining Pinder on the Summer squad.

—UPDATE— The three-team deal fell apart as Wednesday wound down, though ESPN’s Woj reports that Boston is still trying to get Porzingis in an “opt-in-and-trade” (Porzingis has a $36m player option for next season with a 9 p.m. deadline to opt in). Clippers were reportedly concerned about Brogdon’s medical status, which might rule any Suns interest out as well.

—UPDATE— Porzingis did end up in Boston, but the point guard they moved was Celtic lifer-to-this-point Marcus Smart, who joins the Memphis Grizzlies. So even after all that, a potential Suns target comes off the board.

—UPDATE— There likely aren’t any direct Suns implications from this one, but Khris Middleton declined his $40m player option, making him a free agent. He hasn’t ruled out a return to Milwaukee yet, but it’s pretty massive news because if he does leave, the Bucks suddenly have a lot of ground to make up in the contender order.

UPDATE— Former Suns guard Chris Paul was finally re-routed from Washington to Golden State in return for Jordan Poole and draft compensation. At around the same time, terms became clear for the Suns-Wizards deal which leaves them with #52 in Thursday’s draft and not many other picks for the rest of this decade.

—UPDATE— As late into this as ~1:30 p.m. AZ time which is three and a half hours out from the draft, 98.7’s Gambo says it’s a “real option” for the Suns to move up in the draft.

Stay tuned for further updates leading up to the draft.

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