No Josh Smith, no Al Jefferson and nothing too notable. The Phoenix Suns were pretty conservative in their moves before Thursday’s trade deadline, and that’s OK. It’s what most of us hoped for with the new collective bargaining agreement pushing every NBA team away from scary-big contracts. Phoenix acquired Marcus Morris for a second round pick, and sent Sebastian Telfair to Toronto in return for center Hamed Haddadi and another conditional second round pick. How does it grade out?
Michael Schwartz: The Suns’ trade deadline moves very much followed the pattern of last offseason in that they tried to utilize their cap space to acquire a decent player but failed to make much of a splash. That’s fine because that splash just wasn’t there. Josh Smith, of course, was on the block but it seemed impossible for any deal to appease Atlanta and also make sense for a Suns team that should not deal precious assets for a player they would have to overpay anyways. Marcus and Markieff should bring out the best in each other, and his rookie contract is the best kind of deal to have on your books. The trade gives the Suns one more asset to play with this summer when they will possess plenty of ammo and motivation to deal Scola and/or Gortat for more future pieces.
Dave Dulberg: The Sebastian Telfair deal to Toronto made sense for all parties involved. He played in only six of 13 games under interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, Kendall Marshall needs to develop and the Raptors needed a backup point guard after dealing Jose Calderon to Detroit. As for Wednesday’s move, I get it from a “let’s ignite Markieff Morris by pairing him with his brother” perspective. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’ll do much. In fact the addition of Marcus takes minutes away from Markieff in my opinion. The four was already crowded, but Lance Blanks and Co. don’t seem to mind. Odd move, but very little risk involved.
Matt Petersen: After all the gushing about how close the Morris twins are, it’s hard to fault Suns management for giving the twin experiment a shot. If Markieff and Marcus do raise their level of play as a team, it’s an improvement that came at an incredibly low cost. Moving Telfair, obviously, opens up an entire role’s worth of PT for Kendall Marshall, something the Suns needed to do to justify burning a lottery pick on him. The second round pick was an added bonus. It’s a shame the Suns couldn’t move another mid-level contract for more draft picks or young talent, but they seem a little more committed to developing their young prospects than running in place with mediocre guys who “are who they are.”
Kevin Zimmerman: The move to obtain Marcus Morris seemed laughable at first because Markieff Morris has been struggling to find playing time himself. While they supposedly play different positions, it’s hard to see where Marcus fits if P.J. Tucker and Michael Beasley continue to see playing time. The Morrises are too much of the same player, and the “synergy” reasoning of acquiring them comes across to me as bad PR, if anything. That said, this is all about acquiring assets, and Marcus Morris is another one that was grabbed for a second-round pick that Phoenix has plenty of. And yes, the Suns deserve credit for not panicking by thinking that they needed to land Josh Smith or Al Jefferson.
Ryan Weisert: The front office gets an A for not biting on Josh Smith. Smith, like most of the big names on the block, will be a free agent this summer. By standing pat, the Suns can now pursue any and all free agents this summer. Kudos to Babby and Blanks for preserving cap space and staying the course. Moving Sebastian Telfair gets a C-. That trade committed the Suns to Kendall Marshall, who might never be better than Telfair is right now. Marcus Morris’ acquisition is difficult to grade. If both Morris twins are still on the roster heading into next season, then this trade gets an D. If one or both of them is moved for long-term piece, draft pick or young asset, then the trade is an A+. Ultimately, these moves will mean nothing if the Suns don’t use their acquired assets to get better in the near future.