Phoenix Suns: ESPN experts push 2 deals at the trade deadline

Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker (Photo by Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

When Woj is given a half-hour on the day before the NBA trade deadline, especially when the subject concerns the Phoenix Suns, it’s wise to listen.

ESPN’s Wednesday special hosted by Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe featured the myriad possibilities for player movement in the hours leading up to noon on Thursday, when the NBA trade deadline hits.

The Suns, who lead the Pacific Division and hold the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference entering Thursday, have a number of acquisition targets to consider as the busy hours unfold before the trade deadline.

The Phoenix Suns are firmly in the mix, according to ESPN’s NBA experts, to make a trade-deadline move.

The Suns’ braintrust – general manager James Jones, coach Monty Williams and all those involved with player personnel decisions – has monitored the rumored deals in real time, waiting for the right opportunity to jump in.

Zach Lowe devoted a big part of his late-in-the-show segment on trade wishes to the Suns.

“I want the Phoenix Suns to look at this as a championship window that’s open for them and make at least a small win-now move,” Lowe said.

His first suggested Suns trade:

The Phoenix Suns acquire Oklahoma City’s Kenrich Williams or Houston’s Danuel House for Jevon Carter and two second-round picks.

Williams, 6-6, 210, seems a redundant add; he’s like Torrey Craig except, on a positive note, he’s made 27 of his 62 attempts from 3-point range (.435). He contributes 7.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game.

House, who played for the Suns in 2017-18, has averages of 9.7 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, playing more than 28 minutes a night for the Rockets.

Lowe’s second Suns trade on the wish list:

The Phoenix Suns acquire Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. for Jalen Smith, Jevon Carter and a lottery protected first-rounder.

Larry Nance Jr., 6-8, 245, is the son of a Sun (Larry Nance, who, incidentally, won the NBA’s first official slam-dunk contest).

Nance’s numbers: 9.4 points, 6.6 rebounds in 32.8 minutes. He has started 24 of the 26 games in which he’s played. The 28-year-old could help with front-court depth during the playoffs, but the cost seems a bit steep.

Lowe was excited about the possibilities in Arizona: “They have a chance to win, let’s go for it. Price be damned.”

Easy for him to say.

The Phoenix Suns have to be very aware of the deadline’s other side of the coin: the buyout candidates.

Wojnarowski and Lowe explored several potential buyout players — some of whom have  been mentioned to be on the Suns’ radar.

Phoenix is certainly looking at all possible ways to improve but has to have seen the playoff future when Dario Saric is forced to defend talented Western Conference bigs.

Saric, as Suns fans know, has been a huge boost for the team in 2020-21 and will play a valuable role down the stretch.

But a little help never hurts.

New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter JJ Redick, whom the ESPN duo predicts could land in Brooklyn or, as more of a long shot, with the Utah Jazz.

It might be fun to see whether Redick — via very low-cost move — could rediscover his stroke with the Suns. That’s move is not too likely to happen.

San Antonio Spurs veteran LaMarcus Aldridge, whose most likely destination they say (assuming the buyout) would be the Miami Heat. Aldridge, who better fits what many see as the Suns’ more pressing need – backup big – had a dalliance with Phoenix during his 2015 free-agency tour, so he knows what the city, now with a contending team, has to offer.

Cleveland Cavaliers pricy big guy Andre Drummond carries far too high a price to be mentioned as a trade candidate but, with a buyout, just about everyone will take an interest.

Woj and Lowe say the Lakers are more likely to land Drummond than most, but at a minimum salary for the rest of this season, Drummond could decide to go with the Clippers, Nets or even the Suns.

His game is not exactly a perfect fit for the Suns, who value versatility and an active perimeter presence to go with shot-blocking ability among their more coveted big-man requirements.

And that brings us to a guy that ESPN didn’t see fit to mention: Hassan Whiteside. It’s just hours from the trade deadline now, and if the Kings buy him out – or maybe even dangle him out there as trade bait — the Suns could well make Whiteside among their top priorities.

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