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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Charles Barkley, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Paul F. GERO / AFP) (Photo by PAUL F. GERO/AFP via Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, Charles Barkley (Photo by Paul F. GERO / AFP via Getty Images) /

The Phoenix Suns’ best trade was consummated June 17, 1992, when the Charles Barkley era began.

Phoenix sent Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry and Andrew Lang to the Philadelphia 76ers for their dynamic, if troubled, budding superstar.

If ever there were a “final piece to the puzzle,” Charles Barkley was it.

Barkley brought a force that transcended basketball. The trade dominated sports headlines for days surrounding the deal, made even more impactful because Barkley went on to win a gold medal that summer as a charter member of the U.S. Olympic “Dream Team,” perhaps the greatest assembly of basketball talent in the history of the sport.

His meteoric rise with Phoenix was, unfortunately, similar to a meteor: Barkley burned brightly and lit up the state, but flamed out far too quickly.

His first season with the Suns was his best: He rewarded the passion of Suns fans by averaging 25.6 points and 12.2 rebounds, pushing that to 26.6 ppg. in 42.8 minutes per game over the 24-game playoff run.

He won the NBA MVP award for helping Phoenix to a 62-20 record and, in the long playoff run came within a John Paxson 3-pointer of perhaps taking the franchise’s first NBA title.

In only four seasons with the Suns, Barkley put up 23.4 points and 11.5 rebounds while connecting on better than 50% of his field-goal attempts– and he placed the Suns firmly in the NBA consciousness.