The Phoenix Suns continued to defy the odds this postseason and keep making moves this past Sunday, as they added center Bol Bol on a one-year deal to consolidate their roster. The Suns weren’t done there however, as they finally moved on from Cam Payne as well.
In this deal, they traded the point guard, as well as a future second round draft pick, for a protected second rounder that will also convey in future. Finally, the Suns did a deal with the Orlando Magic, who Bol played for last season, and replenished some draft capital by adding three second round picks in exchange for a first round pick swap in 2026.
That is a lot to get through, and although all of these deals were done around the fringes of the roster, the importance of how the Suns came out of the negotiations here is huge.
Starting with adding Bol, and it is a no-brainer move that makes a ton of sense for player and team. Bol had some moments with the Magic last season, most notably in November when that roster was decimated by injuries and he stepped up to the plate.
But Bol is also a limited player, and defensively he has been hideous. Really the Suns just need him to provide a different look offensively on some nights during the regular season, and then hope that the players they brought in this offseason, as well as a rejuvenated Deandre Ayton, can hide Bol on the defensive end.
Bol is not going to come close to challenging Ayton for serious minutes, and once the postseason starts he’s likely to be stuck to the bench. But if he can give the team 15 minutes per game, a couple of made 3-pointers and not be a black hole on the other end, then this will have been a smart pickup for a group that are going to attempt to outscore every opponent they face.
Moving onto the deal with the Spurs, and many fans will be happy to see the back of Payne. The Suns got $6.5 million off their books with this one, while also saving a projected $26.4 million in luxury tax. It gets better, as they also creating a $6.5 million trade exception.
All of this a welcome sight to a front office who have constructed a roster featuring their top four players on ludicrous money. Giving up one second round pick in exchange for another with protections is about as small a deal as you can do with picks in the NBA. This was a win in every way except one.
Payne could have run the team some, but also would have had no problem deferring to Devin Booker. It is not so much that he is gone, and more that Eric Gordon, Bradley Beal and Booker are the only recognizable ball-handlers now on the roster. That may not be a problem, but the thinking had been that T.J. McConnell could be gotten for Payne, a move that would have been excellent.
This deal also gives us an indication as to what the Suns must think of Jordan Goodwin. An afterthought in the Beal deal with the Washington Wizards, he may have much less experience than Payne, but he does have a ton of upside. Trusting in him at a time when the team want to be true contenders is a risk, but it could pay off in a big way.
So in a vacuum the Payne deal is a good one, and certainly for the organization’s cap sheet it was a great bit of business to get done. But in losing him and failing to get a proven floor general back, even on a minimum deal as 11 other players on the roster currently are, and instead taking on Bol, it destabilizes an already wobbly roster construction.
The deal with the Magic was another shrewd move, as it gives the Suns more picks to use in future deals, or more likely, to use themselves to add cheap players to this expensive collection of talent in the future. It is too early yet to tell if Toumani Camara is going to be a hit, but early indications from Summer League are that of a player who will give his all defensively each night.
Potentially losing a first rounder in 2026 in a pick swap sounds bad, but the Suns will hope to still be in contention by that point anyway so the pick is going to land much closer to the second round than the lottery. Three years away may seem uncertain when you’ve got the 34-year-old Kevin Durant, but both Booker and Beal will still be in their prime at that point.
So this was smart business to give the Suns more flexibility in the future. When you look at the level of transaction they got done this summer, having extra draft picks to use in whichever way they want to will be hugely beneficial to them.
No matter what way you look at each of these three mini deals then, all of them ended with a positive outcome for the Suns. Bol won’t solve everything, and in some ways he doesn’t solve anything. But on a minimum deal and given his intriguing upside, he was a great get.
Moving on from Payne also saves the Suns heaps of money, and really the second round pick swap is secondary in that deal. They needed to get off a contract to save money, and they didn’t even have to really include an asset of any kind to get it done while working with a rebuilding team in the Spurs.
Doing a deal with the Magic was just the icing on the cake here. The Suns didn’t quite steal Cole Anthony from under their noses, but they identified a young group with heaps of talent that didn’t need the picks and could take a chance on a swap deal in future. Individually these three moves are all A’s, and combined they make an A+ to continue an incredible Suns summer.