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The Suns are dealing with the fallout of aggression at the trade deadline

The Suns have no special options at the trade deadline...but that’s what comes with being aggressive with the roster.

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns don’t have any magic bullets in the cylinder as the trade deadline looms Thursday, which is a bit of a change for the organization in recent years.

The Suns of the past always had at least some assets on the books that seemed capable of fetching a serious return if the Suns were aggressive enough to pull the trigger on a trade. Last season, they did it, trading the “wonder twins” of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to acquire Kevin Durant.

Then, of course, they followed that up with another aggressive move, trading for Bradley Beal to assemble what was now officially a “super team.”

Now the cabinet is arguably pretty bare, in terms of making things happen via trade. Grayson Allen is having a strong season, and he has the typical appeal of a $9 million expiring contract. But what the Suns would lose by letting him go isn’t likely to be outweighed by what they could obtain in any deal with Allen as the centerpiece.

And as for draft picks, the Suns don’t have a lot of that going on either. They have four first-round picks between now and 2030 which for the most part aren’t movable because of the “Stepien Rule” that forbids teams from trading their own first-round picks in consecutive years. And due to swap agreements in place, none of those picks projects to be especially high.

The Suns still have some second-round picks, but the next time a future second-round pick is a truly meaningful part of a truly meaningful deal will be the first time.

These are the wages of Mat Ishbia’s pedal to the metal approach to pushing for a Suns team capable of finally getting over the hump and winning the franchise’s first championship. The lack of flexibility the Suns now contend with isn’t a bug, it’s a feature of this approach.

What makes it difficult for us as fans, though, is because it’s hard to know if the Suns are in a good position for a run this postseason or not. It’s in some ways the same team that was unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets last season. Same two top scorers, after all.

In other ways, it’s much different. New coach. New #3 scoring option. Some new role players.

Things would be easy for us if the Suns were clearly an elite team. Stand pat at the deadline, fine. We’re winning all the time.

Or they would be easier if the Suns were a disaster. This experiment failed, let’s do our best to get value where we can and set about the difficult task of course-correcting.

Instead, we have a team right there in the midst of it. Solidly in playoff position, but not at the top. That’s an awkward place to be when your options are limited.

Still, this was the path the Suns chose. This is where we find ourselves. We can complain about it, as many have...but this wasn’t the incompetent roster mismanagement that characterized so much of the ownership reign of Robert Sarver. It was a calculated series of moves, made by people who, agree or not, had a specific plan.

The hard part is coming up.

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