Two days remain before the NBA trade deadline hits, and the Phoenix Suns are one of the most actively talked about teams in the rumor mill. Most recently, the Suns were linked to Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith after that talk was shot down three weeks ago. The Valley of the Suns crew goes 4-on-4 about what they’d like to see, what they think of Smith in a Suns uniform and how they think the next few days will play out.
Who do you want the Suns to trade for?
Michael Schwartz: As usual, I don’t have a specific name, I just don’t want the Suns to panic and make a move because they feel they have to. If they can get a quality future piece in a deal involving Gortat and/or Dudley but no more than heavily-protected picks, I’d like to see them do that.
Ryan Weisert: Absolutely no one. Almost every star player in the trade market (Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Al Jefferson) will be available this offseason in free agency. I want the Suns to continue bottoming out this year to ensure a high draft pick next summer.
Matt Petersen: The question isn’t who, but what. The Suns don’t have enough assets to trade for a young stud still on his rookie contract (and consequently keep spending money for another stud via free agency). Phoenix needs to acquire and hoard some draft picks.
Dave Dulberg: Al Jefferson in a Suns uniform has peaked my interest from his days in Minnesota. Basically he’s everything Marcin Gortat is not. High motor in the post, doesn’t shy from contact and is a walking double-double. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, so obviously an extension would have to be agreed upon before any deal.
Who don’t you want the Suns to trade for (based off the rumors)?
Schwartz: Al Jefferson. It would be far too expensive both in terms of talents/picks, and his next contract will cost too much for another player who isn’t going to materially change this franchise’s fortunes.
Weisert: Al Jefferson. While Big Al is a beast offensively, he’s not a great defender. He’s only 28, but he’s been in the league eight years already. I’m not sure he stays healthy and productive for the length of the max contract Phoenix would have to offer him this summer.
Petersen: Anyone who “is who he is.” Phoenix already has enough of those. Al Jefferson and Josh Smith aren’t going to get any better and will demand contracts big enough to keep the Suns locked into mediocrity.
Dulberg: Josh Smith. I could see the Suns making a move if its there, but it’s a reactionary one at best. If Michael Beasley is a long-term project, a deal for Smith makes no sense. Yes he’s athletic, yes he’s a consistent scorer and yes he’ll excite fans. But for a team that has plenty of 3s and 4s, the cost seems too high for something that doesn’t feel like a perfect fit.
What do you think the Suns will ultimately end up doing?
Schwartz: I think they will be involved in many conversations but won’t end up pulling the trigger on anything aside from perhaps a minor deal like Bassy for a second-round pick. Those big moves will have to wait for the summer.
Weisert: Make a small move. The Suns are having a terrible season, but they still have several assets who could be valuable to a contending team. I think the front office saves face by moving Telfair, Dudley or O’Neal for a 3-point shooter or a draft pick.
Petersen: Phoenix will likely find a way to dump Sebastian Telfair on someone, but other than that it’s hard to see another team tempted to the point of action by what the Suns have to offer. Beyond a minor tweak or two, I don’t see a lot happening.
Dulberg: Nothing worth noting. I think teams will look at the Suns’ so-called “best assets” and realize they can do better elsewhere. If a move gets made, look for it to be Sebastian Telfair or Shannon Brown moving on, not Marcin Gortat or Jared Dudley.
Would you like to see Josh Smith in a Suns uniform this season, and what would you be willing to give up for him?
Schwartz: Not particularly, but as always it depends on the price. I say no because presumably that price will be higher than what the Suns would be wise to offer for a player they will have to overpay while putting them much closer to the treadmill of mediocrity than the path to the title.
Weisert: I think Phoenix should save money by waiting until summer to pursue Josh Smith. If they did trade for him this week, however, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. I would give up Gortat, Brown or Dudley, and a second round pick. No first round picks.
Petersen: Any package of players with multi-year contracts should be made available if Smith (a guy who’s going to want a lot of money) comes to Phoenix. That would ensure cap flexibility to continue building around him. The Suns absolutely should not give up draft picks when they’re trying to rebuild. That has to be a deal-breaker for them.
Dulberg: No. The Suns need to commit to rebuilding the right way, through the draft. I’m not saying they shouldn’t make trades in the process, but giving up any draft compensation for a guy who isn’t exactly a “proven winner” seems foolish at best to me.
A must-read feature on Channing Frye’s heart condition by The Oregonian.