Re-Grading Landry Shamet Trade for Suns Halfway through the Season

Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

Behind Devin Booker, the only shooting guards on the Phoenix Sun last year were E’Twaun Moore and Langston Galloway—who collectively averaged just 8.2 points per game and now find themselves off the team.

Needless to say, Phoenix needed another two-guard for the 2021-22 season.

In recognizing this gaping hole hiding behind their best player, general manager James Jones called up the Brooklyn Nets to look for some assistance. With little information behind their collective negotiations leaking out, they likely came to an agreement quite fast.

Nearly five months removed from this deal which actually took place on draft night, we all know that Phoenix landed sharp shooter Landry Shamet in the exchange. In return, the Nets secured Phoenix’s first round pick and backup ball-handler Jevon Carter.

From that point on, at least from a general sense, both sides have profited. The Suns currently own the entire league’s best record, and although a vaccine mandate and recently injured Kevin Durant have tripped the Nets up a bit, they still remain the favorites to win it all this year on almost every sportsbook.

But when you look at the trade with a more powerful microscope, and with the benefit of hindsight, some missed opportunities for Phoenix still come to light.

Re-Grading the Landry Shamet Trade for the Phoenix Suns

Even with how popular Jevon Carter made himself in the Valley with his gritty play style, he now resembles nothing short of a wasted roster spot in Brooklyn.

Phoenix’s old bulldog currently averages career-lows across the board with 2.8 points, 0.9 assists, 1.4 rebounds, and 0.4 steals per game. He also finds himself posting dreadful .301/.284/.750 shooting splits.

Without question, the Suns got him off their payroll at the ideal time.

Although still somewhat disappointing, Shamet has been far better for the Suns. As it stands now, Shamet averages 7.7 points, 1.6 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game. To be fair, his scoring does reflect a career-low mark as well, but his shooting spits at .375/.354/843 remain far better than Carter’s.

But as it always does, the money in this equation plays a big factor as well. This summer, the Suns chose to extend Shamet, now set to pay him roughly $10 million each year until after the 2024-25 season. The extension made sense given Phoenix’s attraction to Shamet, but for better or worse, they remain attached to him for the next few years.

Contrarily, Carter’s contract somewhat bails out the Nets, paying him only $3 million for one more season after this one. So unless Shamet kicks things up a notch over the next few years, the deal feels relatively balanced given each player’s talents and weight against the budget.

However, the real kicker for this trade has yet to be elaborated on, and it hails from North Carolina, carries fantastic upside, and remains under a team-friendly contract.

As briefly mentioned earlier, the Suns also sent a first round draft pick to Brooklyn in the exchange, which the Nets used to select center/power forward Day’Ron Sharpe. Having started five games for Brooklyn so far this season, he already looks like an absolute steal.

With Sharpe currently averaging 6.5 points per game while shooting 60.0 percent from the field, no rookie has scored that much at that high a clip this year. On a per 36 minutes scale, he also averages 13.6 rebounds per game, the second most by a rookie only behind Ömer Yurtseven.

Granted, the Suns needed Shamet in this deal, and not another big man with Deandre Ayton, Frank Kaminsky, JaVale McGee, and Jalen Smith all aboard. With that considered, it saves this trade from looking like a lopsided Brooklyn victory.

But at the same time, they also could have taken someone other than Sharpe with that pick, perhaps even a younger backup guard to fill the Shamet role. Although he plays more as a point guard, Ayo Dosunmu was available, as was 3-and-D stud Kessler Edwards.

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So with the production of all parties involved, the financial side of things, and those team needs still considered, this still feels like a less fruitful trade for the Suns as most initially perceived it as. The word “fleeced” does not apply by any means for Phoenix here, but still, they could have done better in getting a secondary shooting guard for what they gave up.

Grade: C