Even with the NBA declaring “open season” on the trade market about three weeks ago, most teams have yet to strike up any league-shattering bargains, including the Phoenix Suns. The Cleveland Cavaliers shook things up a bit when they traded for Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo last week, but other than that, the wild west that is the NBA seems relatively civilized, at least for now.
However, fan pages and media outlets alike have both come out guns a-blazing, cooking up mock trades that sometimes make you question the ESPN trade machine’s moral existence. We even introduced a few three-team deals where the Suns help move Ben Simmons away from Philly, which of course feel like pieces of fan-fiction in their own right.
But more recently, NBA Analysis Network came up with an interesting potential trade that sends veteran swingman Robert Covington to the Suns. The proposed exchange goes as follows:
As far as mock trades go, this one does not look too shabby for the Suns. Covington remains a solid 3-point shooter who makes any team better with his floor spacing alone. He also fits the team’s identity as well, just over three years removed from being named as an All-NBA Defensive First Team member.
With the Suns he likely assumes a much smaller role than with Portland, working behind Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, and Cameron Johnson. However, he does deserve a shot at the minutes usually taken by Abdel Nader when healthy, who has proved to be quite disappointing so far this year.
However, this trade remains highly unlikely for the Trail Blazers to accept.
With this deal allowing the Blazers to acquire three pieces that provide nothing for the team until at least next year, it relies heavily on the assumption that they will go into a rebuild. Portland still might move in that direction, but CJ McCollum’s recently healed collapsed lung, an uptick in production from Damian Lillard, and gut-check win last night against the Atlanta Hawks might force them to think otherwise.
But even if the Blazers did want to blow everything up, Saric and two second round picks feel like a low-ball offer for Covington’s services.
Granted, Covington’s expiring contract makes him more cheap than usual, but Saric also becomes a free agent during the following offseason. So with him taking this year to heal up, he also equals a rental just like Covington, and a less productive one for that matter. It still makes sense for the Suns to try and trade Saric for something to fit their “win now” agenda, but they need to set the bar a bit lower.
Phoenix’s two second rounders, pushed off multiple years into the future, also feel like worthless throw-ins. As an already talented team built around young stars, the Suns are expected to compete for the next several years, rather than just a few.
Due to that, those second round picks are more likely to come at the entire draft’s back end, rendering them almost useless. If the Trail Blazers truly want to rebuild, they must know they need to do better than all that.
Even if this trade were to occur, it would make more sense for the Blazers to trade Lillard or McCollum beforehand, with them being the two hot commodities that can be exchanged for better rebuild pieces. So pushing either of those deals through first resembles yet another roadblock between the Suns and Covington, making this deal that much more improbable.