Phoenix Suns’ 5 best trades: Chris Paul arrives

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns key trade acquisition Kevin Johnson.
Phoenix Suns, Kevin Johnson (Photo by George Frey/AFP/Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns’ No. 2 best trade, Feb. 25, 1988, was to bring aboard Kevin Johnson as part of the 1993 Finals foundation.

With the acquisition of yet another key point guard, Kevin Johnson, Phoenix set the path toward a recovery from the dark days of the late 1980s and embraced the up-tempo style that made the West wild.

On that subject, the Suns also acquired Mark West along with Tyrone Corbin, a first-round pick and a second-round pick from the Cleveland Cavaliers. In return, they sent Mike Sanders, Larry Nance (winner of the first NBA All-Star weekend dunk contest), Mike Sanders, and a first-round pick.

Johnson had struggled to find much playing time (All-Star Mark Price led the Cavaliers) and the Cal Bears standout immediately relished his newfound freedom in the desert.

KJ won the NBA Most Improved Player award in 1989 (20.4 points, 12.2 assists per game). Johnson had serious staying power, becoming Phoenix’s most recognizable athletes while playig 12 seasons with averages of 18.7 points (49.4% on field-goal attempts) and 9.5 assists per game.

He finished as a three-time All-Star with the Suns and, as mentioned, teamed with Charles Barkley to lead Phoenix into the 1993 NBA Finals.

During the epic, 23-game playoff run that year, KJ averaged 39.7 minutes per game, scoring 17.8 points per game and handing out 7.9 assists per game.

The next season, over 10 games in the playoffs, Johnson played 42.7 minutes per game, producing 26.6 points and 9.6 assists per game.

The icing on the trade? The Suns drafted Dan Majerle with the pick they received from Cleveland.