Phoenix Suns viewed as LeBron destination – would they be interested?

LeBron James and Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
LeBron James and Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

With the Phoenix Suns in a position of championship contention, the front office should be constantly assessing ways to improve the roster they have in place.

What better way to do that than by acquiring one of the best players in NBA history – LeBron James. Although it may seem like a pipe dream, some believe Phoenix could be in a position to lure the four-time NBA champion away from Los Angeles and to their Pacific rival.

The Phoenix Suns are viewed as a top destination should Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James wish to join a fourth NBA team over his illustrious career.

In a recent article on The Ringer last week, respected NBA analyst Kevin O’Connor suggested that Phoenix should be James’ preferred destination from a basketball fit standpoint. He identified the relationships already built within the organisation, along with the relative proximity between the two cities.

"“LeBron is BFFs with Chris Paul and old friends with James Jones. The Suns want Durant. Wouldn’t they also want LeBron? Phoenix is a great city itself, Arizona has lower taxes than California, and it’s just a short flight from Los Angeles. LeBron would get accused of riding coattails, but the Suns fell short in 2020-21, looked beatable in 2021-22, and are getting a little long in the tooth in 2022-23”."

Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Would the Suns actually be interested?

It’s highly unlikely James requests a trade this season, and even more unlikely that the Suns would be able to acquire him regardless. Just like the Kevin Durant situation, Phoenix simply don’t have the value they’d be willing to give up to acquire a player of this magnitude.

However, unlike Durant who has four years left on his deal, James is on an expiring contract and can become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Would the Suns be able to make a deal work, even if he still wants a contract in excess of $35 million per season?

Theoretically they could, it would just take a lot of manoeuvring. The Suns would have to trade Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet’s salaries, let Cameron Johnson enter free agency, and ask Paul to take a significant pay cut. Overall, they’d likely be left with a core of Paul, James, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.

Would that be worth it? It is if they deliver the franchise its first ever NBA championship. If not, then it would severely hamper the future success Phoenix are currently trying to build. They’d have one-to-two years with Paul and James, then be left with Booker, Ayton and very little else.

Would the franchise have had preliminary discussions internally on this topic? Given Jones’ and James’ relationship, it’d be hard to envisage conversations not having already taken place within the front office.

Next. Phoenix Suns land experienced wing from Pacific rival in proposed trade. dark

It’s all a moot point if James chooses to re-sign with the Lakers, with talks already having begun on a contract extension for the 37-year-old, four-time MVP.