The Phoenix Suns have had themselves a busy offseason. Not only did they add Bradley Beal and say goodbye to Chris Paul in the same deal, but they followed that up by signing no less than eight players to minimum deals in pursuit of a first championship.
Deandre Ayton was dealt to the Portland Trail Blazers just before media day, bringing to an end an at times turbulent relationship between franchise and former first overall pick. About the only deal the Suns didn’t seriously get involved in was going after James Harden, a wise move that continues to look better as time goes on.
Harden is rumored to want to force his way to the L.A. Clippers, and the Suns can help make that happen and add one more player for this coming season.
Before proceeding, the only way the Suns even enter into these trade talks is if they feel they’re not helping the Clippers jump them in the pecking order. Given everything we know about Harden, who would be asking out of his third team, plus the injury history of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, this trio does not trump that of Beal, Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.
If anything, the addition of Harden to any roster has only led to postseason meltdowns in the past, even if the now 34-year-old looks fantastic during the regular season. The Clippers have a single Western Conference Finals appearance to show since pairing Leonard and George, and it is hard to see how Harden helps change that. Here is the proposed deal in full –
We are not here to argue the merits of this trade for the Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers, so that will be kept brief. The Clippers get their man, and the 76ers get an expiring contract in Marcus Morris Sr. (to go with Tobias Harris who is also coming off their books next year), a first round pick, another guard in Keon Johnson and Norman Powell. A player who can help them to win now.
The Suns on the other hand, manage to land an intriguing guard in Bones Hyland in all of this. To be clear – Hyland is not a player who would start for the Suns, or who in most other scenarios is even worth going to the trouble of getting. But in this instance, he is falling into their lap.
Hyland is a streaky player with a ton of self-confidence on the court. He is also the kind of wiry, score first guard that head coach Frank Vogel would have no interest in. Which is exactly why the franchise should be taking a flyer on the 23-year-old.
If anybody can get through to him defensively, an area he has really struggled since getting to the league – it is coach Vogel. On the other hand, if any coach can mask the deficiencies of a player on that end, it is again Vogel. Hyland would really bring some pop off their bench as well.
Despite the Denver Nuggets giving up on him early, Hyland has managed to average 10.9 points per game in 125 games played. That’s impressive in its own kind of way, while the 36.8 percent he has amassed from deep is hovering around an acceptable level, especially when you you factor in that he would be playing next to three stars.
Not that the Suns need Hyland to be a knockdown shooter. That is why they went out this summer and got Yuta Watanabe and Eric Gordon, two elite 3-point shooters who are also better defenders. But if the organization are willing to take a chance on Bol Bol, then why not see what they can make happen with Hyland?
Keon Johnson recently came over in the Ayton deal, and while he may fit in just fine with the Suns, Hyland right now has a higher ceiling. These deals around the fringes where you take a chance on a player like Hyland are exactly what an organization like the Suns should be doing. Buying low to see if they can strike oil.
Right now it would be a huge stretch to call Bones Hyland the next Jamal Crawford or Lou Williams. He’s not even close to J.R. Smith. But there exists a potential here to turn him into a bomber on the Suns’ second unit, with a view to perhaps one day being the sixth man for this roster.
If they can get him for Johnson, and in the process potentially torpedo a Clippers roster by adding Harden to Russell Westbrook (a movie we’ve seen before), Leonard and George, then all the better for the Suns.