NBA trade rumors: Suns look for big man upgrade

It’s 10 days from the Feb. 20 trade deadline, and though any trade rumors involving the Suns seem murky at this point, it’s quite clear Phoenix is busy working the phone lines.

The reasons for the Suns’ apparent interest in Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol are obvious. They want a low-post presence for coach Jeff Hornacek’s offense, which seems at its best when working inside-out. Against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, the Suns found separation by posting unlikely post player Channing Frye, but that was only possible because Andrew Bogut and David Lee left a small defense on the court.

“Channing showed he can post up,” Hornacek said. “I don’t think that was maybe his reputation prior to this but we said, ‘Hey, we’ll throw him in the post.’ He made a key read at the beginning of that fourth quarter, I think it was, when he threw it out to Gerald to hit that three.”

Such an attack opened the opportunities for Green to get hot and for Goran Dragic to pour in 13 of his career-high 34 in the fourth quarter, but Phoenix would love to have that offensive ability every night — not just those where Frye is the biggest player on the court.

The targets and costs seems unclear because the Suns could swing for a star to play this year alone a la the Gasol rumor that’s gone cold because Phoenix is worried about the forward’s health. Or they could chase after a long-term player, which could hinder the team’s ability to attacking a 2015 free agency class — or even 2014′s — that’s deep in big names.

The rumors are out there. And the outcomes range from unlikely to intriguing.

Brandon Bass, Boston Celtics

The freshest rumor involving the Suns out there was reported by Sporting News’ Sean Deveney on Monday. Phoenix, Golden State and Charlotte are potential suitors for Brandon Bass, who has two years respectively worth $6.5 and $6.9 million on his contract left.

McDonough is quite familiar with Bass and is likely a big fan of his — this summer he was quick to dismiss questions of draftee Anthony Bennett’s height by comparing him to the Celtics forward. Bass is a nice player and a contributor who could take some minutes at center or power forward, but he would obviously get in the way of developing Miles Plumlee, Alex Len and the Morris twins.

Bass’ offensive versatility only goes as far as giving Phoenix another midrange threat, and defensively he would provide the ability to switch in pick-and-roll coverage more often.

As Deveney notes, Bass seems to be a Plan B considering Phoenix went after Gasol and called about Zach Randolph’s availability. Even for a first-round pick and contracts, it’s questionable how much of a difference Bass would really make.

And between just the Suns and Celtics, it’s hard to see a reasonable deal being worked out that involves Emeka Okafor’a contract or not.

Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

The fact the Suns called Memphis showed just how brazen McDonough is in inquiring about whatever is on his mind. USA Today’s Sam Amick reported that Phoenix made a call regarding Randolph, and though the Grizzlies seem far from likely in dealing their power forward, imagining him in orange and white could be even more appealing than any of these other options.

Thaddeus Young, Philadelphia 76ers

This is more a possibility than a rumor. Young’s contract owes him $8.9 million this year and $9.4 million next. That would allow Phoenix to try out the young power forward for a year and a half with Young having the ability to exercise an option on his contract in 2015-16, or move in a new direction via free agency.

As is, Young is a below-average rebounder who wouldn’t plug the lack of that production at power forward, nor does he project as a big upgrade as a defender considering his size. Young doesn’t have a jump shot with enough consistency to spread the floor like Frye — but a player can always learn.


Many have made a bigger deal out of the power forward position that it should be. Frye will always have a big role so long as he’s on the Suns, but again, the team as-is lacks that paint presence that could help the shooters, Dragic and Eric Bledsoe when he returns.

One thing that could hold any trade up is the Suns’ apparent interest in Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay. The forward can opt out of his contract and told ESPN’s Marc Stein this week that he is unsure whether he’ll do so or not.

Amick reports McDonough has an eye on Gay.

If Gay did opt out of his deal, the Suns might want to hold tight to have the ability to sign a player of his caliber this upcoming summer. It’s probable Gay will be pushing for a deal smaller than the $17.9 million he’s earning this season, but it will be a hefty contract nonetheless.

  • Foreveris2long

    I am not sure I understand what you are saying Kev regarding the power forward spot. You indicate the fans have made a bigger deal out of the position than it should be but then you proceed to say the Suns lack that paint presence that could help the Suns shooters. Unless I missed something you did not mention how poorly we defend the low post especially against potential playoff teams who like to play half court offense like Memphis and Chicago but more importantly the way most teams play in the playoffs (half court offense). The Suns also are not a very good rebounding team against teams who slow it down against them.

    While I agree as long as Frye is on the Suns he will get considerable minutes playing the four spot, I do not think his presence means the team would not tremendously benefit from a defensive minded power forward.

  • BCrayZ

    Rudy is a volume shooter & has not proven himself to be a winning type.

    Bass is a good ball player but we already have someone so mush better in Channing Frye.

    When Jeff asked him to post up, he showed his versatility & does what the coach asks. Miles tries but does not possess the skill set of Frye. Jeff played Frye in a small ball line up vs. the Dubs in Q4, finishing the game with Gogi & finally also with The Brazilian Blur. This line up gave us the separation we needed to take control of this important game. Each game will get more & more important (particularly in the playoffs) for the remainder of the year. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EBJM

    Per Hoopshype, Young has a player option of $9.7 million in ’15-’16. So Phoenix doesn’t have the option to try him out for only two years. It is highly unlikely Young walks away form $9.7.

    Just like it is unlikely Frye will walk away from $6.8 million next year.

    That extra third year on Young’s contract is the one that creates issues for Phoenix. Dragic has a player option of $7.5 million in ’15-’16.

    So if they resign Bledsoe this summer, Young’s third year prevents them from keeping Dragic and a third star when ’15-’16 rolls around. The Morris Twins will also need to have contracts if McD and Hornacek decides to keep them in ’15-’16.

    Phoenix needs an inside stud at PF and the Pistons F.O. will most likely be in transition this summer as Piston’s fans want Dumars to retire. Suns should throw a big contract offer at Greg Monroe this summer.

  • EBJM

    Forever, I think it is a matter of semantics regarding PF and Frye. Hornacek wants to play inside-out, so if Pau was to come aboard, he and Frye would still play together.

    So I think we have to look at Frye and Markieff together as one player since they pretty much split the time at PF. Together they do a good job, good, not great except when one of them has the occasional huge game.

    IMO, Suns should forget about Gay. The draft is full of wings and Marcus is still on the fence as to whether he wants to become a star in this league.

    I’d rather they throw the money at Monroe this summer and see what happens.

    Suns only have to deal with Frye for one more season.

  • BCrayZ

    @Forever – Who defended Blake on our team?

    Better believe it was none other than Channing Frye.

    What did Blake do vs. the Suns? Near zero. Who won the game? Our Suns. Who defended David West? Must have been that same Frye. What did West accomplish? Who won that game? Al Jefferson was on a tear until he was guarded by Frye. Who won the game? Our Suns. What about Farried? Frye again. Who won that game? Then there was another All Star, besides Blake, named Kevin Love. What did he accomplish when guarded by Frye? Also near zero. Who won that game? Will you finally give this nonsense a rest? Frye is our home town hero. He is skilled & smart & versatile & will do what Jeff asks. Frye plays well with Gogi. Gogi plays well with Frye. They both play well with Barbosa. Jeff won our last game by finishing with all three of them playing at the same time. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Foreveris2long

    BCrazy I really am not going to dignify you with a response other than to say how many times have we beaten Chicago and Memphis this year, two teams who slow it down more than anyone? The teams you mentioned above are not teams who pride themselves on running a half court offense, letting most of the shot clock expire before taking shot.

  • BCrayZ

    EBJM -

    How many more seasons will Suns fans have to deal with your hate on Frye?

    Suns fans should be happy & thankful that we have such a versatile & skilled big man on our team. Greg is a good ball player & much better rebounder but cannot do half of what we get from Frye. Frye is best when teamed with Gogi & our “Blur.” Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    More specifically, I don’t think the problem is with Frye. People can complain about him all they want, but he’s not as bad as portrayed nor going to change. The issue is more of an offensive one, IMO, but sure, the paint defense leaves something to be desired.

  • Foreveris2long

    EBJM I agree to wait and go after Monroe. I was reading today Detroit is hoping they can sign him for about $10m/yr similar to what OKC did with Ibaka. If the Suns overpay for someone IMO let it be for someone who can defend the low post, rebound and has an evolving low post game.

  • EBJM

    Speaking of Chicago, if the Bulls wanted to move Taj Gibson, I’d be all for that trade!

    Give the Bulls Okafor and Phoenix gets Gibson and the expiring contract of Kirk Hinrich. Gibson has three more years after this one at a very reasonable $8, $8.5, & $9 million.

    Bulls want to clear cap space to make a run at Carmelo.

  • Kevin Zimmerman

    Also, got sort of cross-eyed on the Thad Young contract. Meant year-and-a-half, not two years.

  • EBJM

    BCrayZ, hopefully only one more season! LOL

    Frye was the last remaining player from D’Antoni’s SSOL. I was never a big fan of D’Antoni. Frye is a wonderful role player to be used sparingly in the manner that Popovich uses Matt Bonner.

    I’d like the Suns to use a more traditional line-up. Look at the Blazers, Frye’s last team where he couldn’t get off the bench. They went traditional and it has paid off.

    Grizzlies play traditional and now that they are healthy will be chasing Phoenix for a playoff spot.

  • BCrayZ

    @ Forever – perhaps I should not even dignify your hate on Frye.

    Will we see the Bulls in the playoffs this year? What about the Grizzlies?

    Sure, there are teams that we match up with better than others, just like every other team does, but, it is not all on Frye. Will we see the Pacers in the playoffs this year? Sure hope so. What about the Trail Blazers? Good possibility. What has LMA done vs. Frye? Near zero. Frye mentored him & knows his every move. What about the Clip this year? Sure looks possible. Will you just crawl back under that rock? Frye does not need your hate & neither do good Suns fans. Jeff knows what he is doing & I’m sure glad that he is the coach of this team. Even finished with Barbosa last game. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EBJM

    Forever, that will never happen for Detroit because Monroe’s agent is David Falk. Pacers wanted to pay Hibbert less but Falk went up to Portland and found him a max offer.

    Falk will come see McD this summer and try and do the same thing for Monroe.

  • Foreveris2long

    So there is no confusion I like Frye and think he is a quality big in the NBA who has a rare skill to shoot 3s. I think he would be even better if he had a center like Robin Lopez, who has a decent offensive game and is a good defensive player. However players like him who play with a center that has no offensive game normally has trouble being effective when the game slows. Aldridge is having a great year due in part to having a really good defensive center who can score offensively. Plumlee is not that guy so teams will be more aggressive defending Frye in the playoffs should the Suns get there.

    I personally do not want to mortgage the future to rent Gasol to open the offense more because I seriously doubt the Suns can win the West without being better defensively in the paint. Just my two cents worth.

  • BCrayZ

    EBJM -

    “Traditional” does not necessarily produce wins.

    With all of this fuss about “D”, let it be known I was never one of Mike Dumb Antoni’s fans. I am, however, intrigued by this fact. Suns have won 20 straight games when scoring 110 points or more. This same style of play (under Alvin’s rule) nearly got us a finals date with the Celtics (four years back) & that was a team that we matched up very well with. Let’s appreciate what we already have. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side. Let’s run with what worked so well in Q4 of last game. Make it so Jeff.

    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • EBJM

    Hey I love Frye also! If we could cut his minutes to the level of ’12-’13 I’d be ecstatic!

  • EBJM

    Suns have always played an uptempo, try and score as many point as us style throughout their history except for a short period of time when they went big.

    But they had Tom Chambers who could shoot like Frye BUT he would use his shot to set up drives to the hoop for dunks.

    They also had Barkley who could score anywhere plus rebound the ball.

    Frye stands at the three-point line and does nothing else. Hubie Brown calls it every time he calls a Suns game. In the last Rockets game Terrance Jones mentored Frye. He went right around Frye for three offensive rebounds, scored 9 points all in the first TWO minutes and Hornacek had to sit Frye with two fouls.

    David West was killing Frye until he injured himself and had to sit.

    Taj Gibson embarrassed Frye as does Z-Bo.

    Frye still can’t contain the Spurs old man of Duncan.

    So for every example that you provide where Frye does well, i can provide a counter game.

    On the season Frye still shoots more threes than twos.

  • Smovich

    I understand the stance that people take who want a more traditional team and the people who like the runnin’ n gunnin’ style. It’s all moot when you don’t have any HOF players on your team. I don’t see anyone on this team as a future HOF player or any of the names being thrown out there for trades and free agents.

    Happy Monday, all.

  • BCrayZ

    EBJM -

    What your saying is you want us to lose?

    Suns lost more games in ’12-’13 (last year) than any other year, except our expansion year. Frye played ZERO minutes last year. He is alive now but you’re rooting for him to have a heart problem & would rather see him dead? Where & when? Will take you on, mono y mono. Best for you if you just left town. Let’s run with what worked so well in Q4 of last game. Make it so Jeff.
    MUST start & ALSO finish with LB. Let’s go SUNS!!!!

  • Smovich

    Uh oh, internet tough guys flexing their muscles.

  • Al

    The Suns need some LOVE sprinkles…C’MON!!! Otherwise do some great college scouting…I am liking Adrian Payne, Rodney Hood, and Kyle Anderson as 3 players Phoenix could go after in the draft…if they keep the picks…

  • Alex

    BCrayZ, after some of the things you said in your last post I think you should change your nick to IBCrayZ.

  • KDW

    Okafor + picks + Frye = Melo. Make it happen, Suns.

  • Mark Patito

    Okafor and a first for Gortat.

  • SarverHater22

    Suns need a short-term rental at PF

  • HankS

    This will sound quite crazy, but it makes me wonder…

    The Pistons have signed Josh Smih and have been kicking themselves very hard ever since.

    We’ve been pipe-dreaming about Josh Smith for years.

    He’s admittedly having a horrible season, but he simply doesn’t fit on the Pistons’ team at all. He’d fit much, much better on the Suns’ roster, as currently constructed.

    Now, just how desprate the Pistons are? Could we perhaps take Smith off their hands (trade him for Okafor, that is) while fleecing them in the process? Getting this year’s first-rounder for the Pacer’s pick plus another future first-rounder, or something like that?

    What do you guys think?

  • EBJM

    He is making $14 million per for the next three seasons. Dumars might save his job if could move him.

    Okafor plus the Pistons swap their unprotected 1st rd pick for the Suns and Wizards picks. Pistons are currently picking at #9. Suns and Wizards are currently at #18 and #23.

  • noitallman

    pass pass pass pass…

    I wish Kief would get in the gym and improve, as he really should be the answer to our PF question.

    I think we should try to get a Henson, or someone young like that…

  • gilbertazsunsfan

    Andre Drummond would be a great fit here if we could convince Detroit with a bunch of our picks.


    The next big three.

  • EBJM

    GilbertAzSunsFan? Jey Smith is that you?

  • Foreveris2long

    Supposedly Pistons are listening to offers for Monroe but are not interested in draft picks. McD see if we can do a 3 team trade where we can involve a team who is interested in draft picks and has talent that could interest Pistons. It seems Pistons want established talent to help them make the playoffs this season.


    Frye is a roll player at best and although his defense has been somewhat better ,he handles the pick the worst I have ever seen. Both Morris brothers will always be roll players at best. If we can get Gasol for a pick, why not? We will not sign more than 2 picks anyway. Bring him in and lets see what he can do. If he is anything like he once was, he could really help us at 4 and 5 alternating. I am not sure that his recent lack of production is not do to being unhappy with the Lakers situation. He is highly competitive and with the Suns chance to make the playoffs he can take us to the next level.

  • EBJM

    Well Forever, if Channing Frye is as good as BCrayZ constantly tells us and not bad enough to warrant criticism from fans per Kevin, then the Pistons should have any problem swapping Frye for Monroe and Singler.

    Frye is a starting forward on the 7th best team in the NBA, right? He compliments Josh Smith really well, providing the three-point shooting that Smith cannot while Smith does things that Frye does not.

    Dumars, give McD a call ASAP!

  • EBJM

    SouthPhilly I’d rather McD use his three picks this year and play the odds. Suns will only have nine players signed after the season ends. That is six open roster spots.

    Bulls are a great example of scouting and drafting well.

    Three potential starters next season for them are Taj Gibson taken #26. Jimmy Butler taken #30 and Tony Snell taken #20.

    Suns picks thus far are #18, #23, & #30.

  • DZ

    I see that the latest “rumor” is that the Suns are looking into trading for Carlos Boozer. I expect to hear that the Suns are looking into trades for almost every PF and C in the NBA before the trade deadline gets here.

  • Foreveris2long

    EBJM you are killing me with any reference to BCrayZ but I get your point. DZ way to keep us informed. Just my two cents worth but I think Boozer is worse than Frye on the defensive end.