Phoenix Suns: 3 Trades to Move Up in the 2021 NBA Draft

Phoenix Suns, NBA Draft Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns, NBA Draft Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Phoenix Suns
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Phoenix Suns trade Jalen Smith and Pick No. 29 to the New York Knicks for Pick No. 19

The New York Knicks already possess a young, gritty, and revitalized team looking to make noise within the less-competitive Eastern Conference. An environment such as that sounds like the perfect landing spot for Phoenix’s first round pick last year, Jalen Smith.

Sending a player packing right after completing their rookie season undoubtedly feels wrong, but the Suns need to make a business decision here. Last season, Smith failed to live up to expectations which most lottery picks carry, spending almost the entire season with Phoenix’s G-League affiliate. He suited up for just 27 contests, averaging a forgettable 2.0 points per game.

Even as a rookie, if Frank Kaminsky owns a rotation spot over you, something must be off. If the Suns hope to win a title, they need a team that runs 12 men deep, which based on the evidence from last year means they need to deal Smith away.

With pending free agents for the Knicks such as Nerlens Noel and Mitchell Robinson likely to gather attention from multiple NBA teams, you can expect them to miss out on bringing at least one back, and if not, both. That makes a young, big man with strong upside like Smith valuable by their standards.

If this trade went through, it could put heavy pressure on the Suns to sign another center depending on what they do with pick No. 19. With Kaminsky entering free agency and Dario Saric likely out for the season after tearing his ACL a few weeks ago, this deal leaves the Suns without anyone to play behind Ayton.

dark. Next. Point Guards the Phoenix Suns Can Sign if Chris Paul Leaves

This makes any potential deal involving Smith incredibly risky, and for this reason, the least likely one to come into fruition. But if the Suns see the perfect player slipping outside the top 20, this is the way to add him.