Robert Sarver, James Jones, and the Phoenix Suns have less 30 days remaining to get something done – or it’s all over.
The Phoenix Suns have 30 days to save the season.
They have 30 days to acquire a star.
They have 30 days to save the future of the franchise.
Because they have 30 days before Devin Booker is traded.
Well, technically 26 – I am publishing this a couple of days late.
No, Booker is not likely to be traded on the NBA’s February 6 trade deadline – at least I think he has more self-respect than Goran Dragic did.
But if Robert Sarver and James Jones do not come together to bring about a tremendous deal that not only improves the roster in a big way now but well into the future, the ticking clock that we all fear we hear in the back’s of our mind, subtly now but only destined to grow deafening like the heart beat of an Edgar Allen Poe character, will go off like an alarm to wake the dead following the end of this season.
Devin Booker, will demand a trade.
And why shouldn’t he?
Forget that he is under contract for a few more years – even against the cries of loyalty that local fans demand of their favorites, he is a star and he wants and deserves to win; something that Sarver has never been willing to spend a penny over the competitive base minimum to do in his going on 16 years as owner of the franchise.
Give Sarver credit all you want for any amount of victories of the Seven Seconds of Less era, you know in your heart that he cost the franchise more wins than he actually earned through his tight-fisted, money-saving moves that cost the franchise numerous talented players and valuable first round picks.
And Booker knows this.
Heck – he has lived it.
Who is the single-most expensive free agent that the Phoenix Suns have signed since drafting Devin Booker?
Yup. Tyson Chandler signed for four-years and $52 million dollars. He was 33-years-old.
It then took until this past offseason for the Suns to get anywhere close with the desperation (albeit pleasantly surprising) signing of Ricky Rubio for three-years and $51 million.
To be fair to Rubio, he was not only a very good signing at the time and filled the most gaping hole the franchise has ever known, but he is also a solid point guard and should a significant replacement not come about via the draft this offseason or next, he could easily be extended well-beyond his current contract in the summer of 2022.
All of this comes back to the issue of how quickly the deadline to make trades this offseason is coming up, and how desperate Phoenix Suns management should feel about making a big move before Devin Booker decides that he needs to be at the center of the next one.
As of today, they have less than four more weeks.
Four weeks to decide on how they are going to turn this franchise around.
There can be no excuses that this is still a rebuilding year, as this is one of ten rebuilding years since the franchise’s last playoff appearance.
Literally all the stops must be pulled to make an impactful deal:
Is Deandre Ayton off-limits? NO!
Is Aron Baynes off-limits? NO!
Is Kelly Oubre off-limits? NO!
There is literally one, single player that is not only off-limits, Booker himself, and if the desire to retain a single other player on the roster (each of which is only a role player by comparison) is in anyway an impediment to making said deal, then the person on the Suns’ side of the phone should literally walk away in shame – forever.
That too should include draft picks.
“Hello Minnesota, would you take four future first round picks for Karl-Anthony Towns (the maximum allowed)? 2020, 2022, 2024, and 2026?”
Does the franchise have any guarantees that a single one of those picks will be as good as Devin Booker already is?
Or as good as both Booker and Towns already are?
Or how about the fact that the team should be built more efficiently and that the combined pairing of Booker and Towns for the foreseeable future will make each one of those draft picks about as low in the first round as possible, essentially never amounting to more than the 10th man on the bench?
Of course, the idea of trading for Towns might be a silly one since the Minnesota Timberwolves decision-makers do not yet necessarily have that much pressure on them as of yet to make a deal.
In fact, they are probably looking at Booker and the Phoenix Suns with the same eye of interest that Phoenix Suns fans have in Town.
The point is though, that the Phoenix Suns are on the brink.
Devin Booker is literally their only major piece on the roster and if he demands out – bam. It’s over.
Who cares if Deandre Ayton might be really good in three years. He’s not there now, and he doesn’t look like he has the drive to get there anytime soon.
Who cares if Aron Baynes is fun off of the bench,. He is 33 and an unrestricted free agent after this season. He is not a piece of the future and is as expendable as any backup center on any roster should be.
Who cares if Kelly Oubre has more energy on the court than a 7-year-old stuffed full of sugar from a birthday party. He is not the kind of player that is the second or third best on a playoff roster.
He is fourth, at best.
In many ways, he is T.J. Warren – an above average roll player who can pour it in on occasion.
But neither will ever be a star.
The clock is ticking. The heart is beating. The day will come when Devin Booker demands a trade if Robert Sarver and James Jones do not make one first within the next four weeks to acquire a second star, and make this roster significantly better.
26 days from today (January 11). If nothing happens, then you know what is next.