1. Mikal Bridges
The primary piece in the Kevin Durant trade, Mikal Bridges was surely a tough player for the Suns to trade. However, trading him away became even tougher when Bridges increased his points per game by nearly 10 points, increasing it up to 26 points per game with the Nets.
Bridges has long been considered an elite 3-and-D wing, but given his proficiency in the mid-range with the Suns, there were signs he could become even more. Once traded away to the Nets, he showed that and then some, becoming a three-level scorer and number option heading into the playoffs.
With how rare elite players with Mikal’s skillset are, despite acquiring Kevin Durant, trading away Mikal Bridges will be a tough pill to swallow unless the Suns can win a championship with Durant. After losing in the second round this season, I’m not so confident in that.
While obviously, I don’t know what the trade negotiations were like, it seems like trading away two great 3-and-D wings in their primes was not the best idea for the Suns. In hindsight, they probably should’ve traded De’Andre Ayton instead, but for all we know, the Nets didn’t want him.
With the insane rise in production from Bridges, it raises the question of why the Suns didn’t give Bridges more scoring opportunities. With Chris Paul’s declining play, the Suns were looking for a better second-scoring option. Why couldn’t that have been Bridges?
While this conversation will become moot if Devin Booker and Kevin Durant can lead the Suns to the championship, if they don’t, fans will look back on this trade and question if it was a good idea, despite acquiring an NBA legend still playing at an elite level.