When Grayson Allen was traded to the Suns I texted my first reaction to my boy: "Oh no… Now I have to root for Grayson Allen".
His response? A side by side picture of Grayson Allen and Ted Cruz. The similarities were eerie. Yeah there’s no way I could ever root for Grayson Allen.
What a difference a couple of months make! Grayson Allen has been an integral part of this team. I knew he could shoot and I knew he was scrappy defensively. I did not know he could drive as effectively as he does or create for others the way he does.
Voita is absolutely right! Allen has a skillset, toughness, and maturity (yes really) that every team in the league is salivating over. My views of Allen as a player and person has done a 180 so sharp my high school geometry teacher would be proud.
The Suns couldn’t have asked for more from Grayson and that’s exactly why they should look to trade him. Follow the rationale:
1) This team as constructed is not a championship team.
I know, I know.. The Suns have been playing better of late. They’re finally healthy! They just need time to gel. No. First of all, I could argue the Suns have been lucky to have Nurkic and Durant as healthy as they’ve been this season.
More importantly, we’ve already seen some glaring holes that health won’t fix. They’re not big enough. They regularly have been beaten on the boards in crucial situations. They have no rim protection. Nurkic historically gets played off the floor in the playoffs. If he’s out, (whether for injury, foul trouble, or coaches decision) then our rebounding problem gets even worse. Who do we have to replace him that we honestly believe is enough to make a championship run? Bol Bol? Eubanks? Azubuike? Durant?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m rooting for them as much as anyone. But if i’m honest with myself.. This team needs an upgrade and we’re in Win Now mode.
2) Grayson Allen is the only player with trade value
Voita laid it out more eloquently than I, but Grayson Allen is quite literally the only trade chip we have that other teams want. If we want a backup center, upgrade at starting center, or big wing that can play the 3, 4, or 5 alongside Nurk & Durant. Allen is the only piece we have that can possibly get that done.
If the goal truly is to win a championship this season, the Suns MUST explore trading Grayson. Stack his contract with Little or Nurk if the pieces coming back make sense. I’m not saying give him away for peanuts. He’s played so well and is such a natural fit that holding him is okay if we want an exciting 2nd round exit again.
But again, if I’m being honest with myself.. Every champion has that gritty, versatile piece that gets them through multiple series and varied matchups. Last year it was Aaron Gordon and his defense making life just hard enough on opposing teams best players. Who on this roster fills that role? Grayson Allen and Okogie are admirable, but too small.
Finally, as much as it would pain me to trade away Grayson Allen after the job he’s done we have a piece on the roster that already does much of what he does in Eric Gordon. Is it a downgrade? Sure. But some percentage of Allen’s production and minutes can be adequately filled by a player we already have on the roster.
Championships are won when a team becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Two small, scoring guards on a Superteam with three offensive superstars and a center who’s ‘fit’ primarily includes passing and IQ on the offensive side of the ball. It’s too one dimensional to win a championship.
Trading away Grayson Allen to bring back more versatility is a move that makes too much sense. It’s painful to do. Growth always is painful. It’s a risky move to make if the incoming piece doesn’t work out. Championships aren’t awarded like participation trophies. You need to make the gutsy calls as a coach or GM.
None of us truly know what trades are on the table. If there’s no realistic trades available then this is all a moot point and you keep the excellent player. But if there’s an opportunity to make a deal that brings back an element we do not have on this roster. You pull that trigger ten out of ten times and don’t look back.