This is it. The blockbuster trade of the summer. And the Suns are involved! Though probably not in the way that most fans might hope. Let’s take a look at this one, as it’s pretty meaty. Kawhi wants out of San Antonio, as his camp has made perfectly clear. There’s been plenty of rumors of the Suns’ interest, but it appears doubtful any kind of deal gets done, as Phoenix doesn’t want to deal number 1 for him. Leonard has been linked to the Lakers since the moment the report first broke.
With possible free agent targets LeBron and PG13 available, going after Kawhi seems like the right move for the Lakers at this point. If getting Kawhi can draw LeBron or PG13 (or both) to LA, the Lakers will be on the fast track to being top of the West once more.
For Phoenix, the involvement is simple. They take Luol Deng off the Lakers’ hands, and in return, they get a young point guard of the future in Lonzo Ball. Yes, he has baggage. Yes, he needs to be taken down a peg or three. But his talent as a distributor and defender is undeniable.
The kid can ball (lol), and his passing and size would be the perfect complement to Devin Booker and Josh Jackson.
If he can continue to develop his shooting stroke, this team could be set up for a lot of success in the coming years. Deng, despite his age and contract, is still a serviceable backup, and he’d bring veteran savvy and solid wing defense that this team could definitely use.
In San Antonio’s case, there’s not much recovering they can do from Kawhi’s public dissent at this point. All they can do is get the best offer they can, whether they want to continue to strive for current success or look to the future. The haul they can get from the Lakers is a solid way to start paving their way for the future.
Brandon Ingram could still turn into an All-Star caliber player, especially on a new team in a system like the Spurs run. Kyle Kuzma was a pleasant surprise last season, and if he could continue to develop, he could turn into a very nice piece on a playoff team in a few years’ time. Zubac also has the potential to grow.
Chandler is an expiring contract and a good veteran presence, and Daniels gives the team a good shooter to fit right into their floor spacing and ball movement offense.
As far as picks go, they don’t get any high lottery picks, but there’s also a solid chance their own pick will be a lottery selection moving forward. Plus, if they truly want to commit to a rebuild, they could look to deal LaMarcus Aldridge for some picks and expiring deals as well, maybe to a team like Cleveland if LeBron wants to stay, or to a team like Memphis that may want to still compete now and not start over.
For the Lakers, they shed a lot of salary and bring in Kawhi. They blow up their entire young core, but I’m pretty safe in saying Lakers fans and front office would prefer LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13 over Ball, Ingram, and Kuzma. They also get Marquese Chriss back in the deal, who could be a solid player for them down the line if he develops and matures.