Mar 14, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Channing Frye (8) and center Miles Plumlee (22) celebrate against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Miles Plumlee: Center of the future or trade piece?


Miles Plumlee clearly hit the rookie wall last year as the Suns’ full time starting center. After all, by playing in only 55 minutes for the Indiana Pacers before coming to the desert in a trade that also netted Phoenix Gerald Green and Thursday’s 27th overall pick in the NBA draft, he certainly could fit under the rookie label.

Plumlee was great for the first couple months of the season. He was an explosive force deflecting and swallowing opponent’s shots on defense, while slamming alley-oops and throwing in the occasional jump hook. Unfortunately, the loads of minutes piled up and other teams started figuring him out.

The former Duke prospect will be paid $1,169,880 this upcoming season and the Suns have a standard $2.1 million team option for his rookie contract next year. The 25-year-old is backed up by a 21-year-old Alex Len, who was picked fourth overall in last year’s draft. The Suns have more than $3.6 million invested in Len next year, but he is still pretty raw talent-wise compared to Plumlee. Until Len shows significant strides toward becoming a starter, Plumlee will be a key in the Suns’ starting lineup.

“Sky Miles” could be added in a trade if Phoenix sees Len take those steps forward and wants to give him the minutes. More likely, Suns management thinks Len isn’t ready for a full workload and keeps Plumlee until it’s forced to part with one or the other.

Chances Plumlee gets traded: 25 percent

We’ll know a whole lot more about the roster situation beginning on Tuesday when free agency opens, but there is a pretty good chance Plumlee won’t be dealt unless there’s significant upgrades on the frontline. Plumlee could probably be thrown in a trade if a team wants promising young talents in return, and at this point he likely has more value than Len. That said, Phoenix would need to get a big man in return unless Len is ready.

Tags: Basketball NBA Phoenix Suns