Phoenix Suns: 3 Trade Options Still Involving Jalen Smith

Phoenix Suns, Jalen Smith. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Jalen Smith. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Phoenix Suns just threw two stiff jabs at former lottery pick Jalen Smith.

Earlier this week, the Suns essentially stamped the word “bust” onto his forehead by declining to pick up his relatively cheap rookie option. A day later, they neglected to play him for a single second against the Pelicans, even with starting center Deandre Ayton unavailable.

Needless to say, both Phoenix’s front office and coaching staff seem to view Smith as a negative asset, rather than a high-upside prospect. This feels disappointing to say the least, especially once considering how the Suns spent what will likely be their last lottery pick in a while on him.

Starting out his second season with the team this year, Smith has only suited up for 29 contests with the Suns, averaging 6.0 minutes and 2.1 points per game.

Smith shined brighter than almost anyone during the NBA’s Summer League a few months ago, even earning First Team All-Summer League honors. But still, his performance there felt somewhat hollow with his competition being soon-to-be rookies and aging veterans just trying to make an NBA roster.

But even though Phoenix’s jury is now out on Smith, some other teams might want to hear his testimony one more time. He still possesses the ideal basketball frame for a center, stretching out to six-foot-ten and with a seven-foot-two wingspan. His willingness to let it fly from deep also makes him intriguing as a floor spacer.

The Suns dropping Smith’s option decreased his trade value substantially, which makes any deals involving Thaddeus Young or Marvin Bagley III now highly unlikely. However, some “diamond in the rough” trades involving Smith still might come into fruition.