Phoenix Suns Trade Grades: 3-Team Deal For Brandon Knight

Jan 6, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives past Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight (11) in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Eric Bledsoe (2) drives past Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight (11) in the third quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2015 NBA trade deadline has come and gone. Bodies litter the floor, carnage is everywhere and my head hurts. For Phoenix Suns fans, their hearts probably hurt as well.

The Suns were one of the league’s more active teams today, virtually pouring gasoline on the NBA trade deadline and lighting it on fire. A fitting analogy, since Goran Dragic was the main domino to fall in three separate trades that Suns general manager Ryan McDonough manufactured (more on that in a bit).

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It’s time to take a look at how he did, especially after the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas this past summer made Dragic feel unwanted and all but pushed him out the door.

By trading away Goran Dragic, it was pretty obvious the Suns would need a backup point guard unless they were ready to commit to Tyler Ennis. After they traded away Isaiah Thomas, it became even more obvious. In their final trade of the day, Ennis was sent away…so that the Suns could bring in another starting-caliber guard to pair with Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt.

Here’s a look at the three-team deal:

Phoenix Suns receive: Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall
Milwaukee Bucks receive: Michael Carter-Williams, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis
Philadelphia 76ers receive: Top-five protected pick (via the Los Angeles Lakers)

Knight is the biggest star of the trade, by far. He’s been having a career year with the Bucks and many people thought he was an Eastern Conference All-Star snub. Knight was Milwaukee’s best player, averaging 17.8 points, 5.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 40.9 percent from downtown.

Knight is a bit notorious for his hero ball at times, but he’s also a promising 23-year-old who should fit in nicely with Eric Bledsoe in the backcourt. Both guards can work well with the ball in their hands and they both can be effective working off the ball as combo guards.

Plus, a happy reunion with Kendall Marshall!…who will be waived immediately.

Plumlee isn’t a huge loss. He started for the Suns recently when Alex Len went down with a sprained ankle and Sky Miles played very well, but he was ready for a new opportunity where he could earn minutes. Milwaukee will allow him to do just that.

Ennis is only 20 years old, but on a team with so many guards, he rarely saw the floor and it’s not a given he pans out to be anything special anyway.

However, the real kicker here is that the Suns surrendered that highly coveted top-five protected pick from the Lakers. On the one hand, it was unlikely Phoenix got that pick this summer, since Los Angeles would need to finish outside the top five. But the pick was top-three protected in 2016 and 2017 before becoming unprotected in 2018.

The Lakers might improve over the summer, but the Suns were still looking at a potential top-10 pick in 2016. That’s a tough blow to suffer, even for a young player as talented as Knight.

Knight will be a restricted free agent this summer, which explains why the Bucks wanted to move on. Milwaukee got MCW, a guy who was already being compared to Jason Kidd before the Bucks paired him with his new head coach, and even better, he’s on a rookie contract. The Bucks didn’t want to pony up for whatever offer Knight might receive.

As for the Suns, they’ll be able to match offers for Knight, which probably won’t be as massive as what Goran Dragic would have received this summer. Knight could command eight figures a year, but the Suns have the room to pay him that. They cleared out their clogged backcourt, brought in a superior guard to Thomas AND made sure that player was young and full of potential.

Losing the Lakers’ pick stings, since it has the potential to be very valuable next season, but other than that trading Ennis and Plumlee for a prize like Knight was a great move.

Grade: B

Next: Phoenix Suns Trade Grades: Isaiah Thomas Moves To Boston

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