The Phoenix Suns currently possess the NBA’s top record, and it will likely stay that way once we move past the February 10th trade deadline. However, that does not mean they will not look to improve their roster as they compete for their first ever Larry O’Brien trophy.
Let’s face it. Last year was Phoenix’s best shot at winning a championship with minimal competition in the West and the Brooklyn Nets not making it to the NBA Finals. But this year, a similar opportunity already appears to be unfolding.
The current roster looks good enough to get it done as is, but again, it can always be improved. For teams hoping to win it all, “good enough” is never good enough.
The West will be tougher to conquer this year with the Golden State Warriors healthy and in contention. The Utah Jazz are still here, and the Memphis Grizzlies look ferocious as well. The Los Angeles Lakers cannot be counted out either with LeBron James on board, especially if they pull a rabbit out the hat at the deadline.
The NBA team with the best regular season record has not won the championship since Golden State did it in 2017 with their Durant-led super team. Chris Paul is only getting older, and who knows how Phoenix will fair when he inevitably loses a step a year or two from now
If the Suns want to strike while the iron is hot, they need an upgrade at their weakest position: power forward. Phoenix might sit tight at the deadline, but if they did want to switch things up, here’s what it will take.
How could the Phoenix Suns acquire Domantas Sabonis?
Indiana’s stretch big Domantas Sabonis is arguably the best known player available at the deadline. More importantly though, he looks like a piece almost certain to fit easily within Phoenix’s system.
A second big who facilitates, shoots the ball, and plays at the same time as Deandre Ayton represents one of the few things which Phoenix currently does not have. Sabonis does all of that, and at an All-Star level.
A mock package that brings Sabonis to the desert might include: Cameron Johnson, Jalen Smith, Jae Crowder, and a few draft picks.
Johnson is a nice asset but probably Phoenix’s fifth best player on the roster. Smith also carries potential, but appears to have fallen out of the rotation recently. Crowder remains an easily pluggable piece which any team would love to have, but a worthy sacrifice for this southpaw stud.
Suns fans may not want to deal Johnson, but Sabonis is the same age as him and has three years still on his contract. His deal also only stretches out to $20 million annually. Meanwhile, Johnson has just two years left on his contract and will soon command more than that with his extension eligibility coming up this summer.
How could the Phoenix Suns acquire Jerami Grant
Detroit forward Jerami Grant’s game looks compatible with Phoenix’s as well. He knows how to score the ball, but also defends at an above average level. It even might have been a championship-winning move last year to put Grant on Giannis Antetokounmpo during the NBA Finals.
A similar deal for Sabonis could prompt the Pistons to give him up, again revolving around Johnson, Crowder, Smith and picks. That default package offers the Pistons exactly what they are looking for in some promising players and draft capital.
If nothing else but to slow down a player like Antetokounmpo or Kevin Durant in the NBA Finals this year, Grant would be worth it.
How could the Phoenix Suns acquire Christian Wood
Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood represents another fun hypothetical trade target thanks to his dynamic skillset and length. Wood also knows how to put the ball through the hoop, averaging 17.7 points per game while shooting 37.0% from deep this year.
The Rockets are hunting for young players in return, which Phoenix has an abundance of. But the Suns will mainly focus this exchange around draft picks due to Wood’s less expensive contract.
The Suns also should not be concerned while giving up all this draft capital being “all in” for the next few seasons, and should feed Houston multiple picks beside Johnson and Smith.
This deal first and foremost grants the Suns another star. However, it also allows Houston to save some money, add young players, and more picks to build their foundation for the future. This trade is a home run for both teams.