Phoenix Suns: 3 Potential Midseason Trade Targets

Phoenix Suns, Larry Nance Jr., Dario Saric. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Larry Nance Jr., Dario Saric. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Larry Nance Jr.
Phoenix Suns, Larry Nance Jr. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Phoenix Suns Midseason Trade Target: Larry Nance Jr.

The Cleveland Cavaliers started shopping Larry Nance Jr. during the 2021 trade deadline, and from their perspective, the choice makes sense. The Cavs possess a big man logjam, as they picked Evan Mobley in the 2021 NBA Draft, extended Jarrett Allen to a long-term deal, and have yet to move Kevin Love’s big contract. Additionally, the Cavs look unequipped to contend in the short-term, where Nance Jr. definitely holds value.

But the Suns do stand ready to compete and contend in the short-term, so they need to step up and capitalize. Phoenix’s lacking playable size outside of Ayton became a huge weakness during this past postseason, especially while trying to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic, and even DeMarcus Cousins.

As a result, the Suns signed JaVale McGee. However, his minimal defensive mobility at this point in his career makes him a questionable playoff rotation player. McGee barely played any meaningful playoff minutes during his last two postseason runs, even after taking the floor often during the regular season.

But what makes Nance Jr. worth targeting? The high-flyer embodies one of the most underrated defenders across the entire league. He remains versatile enough to not only work as a disciplined wing on the perimeter, but also carries the wingspan and defensive IQ to play center.

He contains well on drives from players bearing all frames. His quick hands make him a true unicorn defender at his position as well. Among all players with at least 1000 minutes in the 2020-21 season, Nance Jr. ranked fifth in steals per 100 possessions, and the highest among all power forwards.

Nance Jr. also provides something unique on the offensive end as a big with his excellent passing technique, validated by his backpicks passer rating which ranks in the 86th percentile. He also stretches the floor as a shooter, potentially giving the Suns a chance to play a potent five-out lineup with Ayton resting.

Unlike Jerami Grant, Nance Jr.’s trade value will only fall the longer he stays stuck in Cleveland’s big man logjam. Wait until the right time, and then go after Nance Jr. with everything.