Could three-time NBA Champion center end up in Phoenix this summer?

The Phoenix Suns should always be in the market for an upgrade at the center position, and a three-time champion might just fall into their lap.
Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors v Boston Celtics / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

It is no secret that the Phoenix Suns will be looking for ways to improve their roster this offseason. Recent front office additions ensuring that owner Mat Ishbia is doing all he can to get a competitive advantage, despite their bloated cap sheet stopping them from getting involved in a lot of deals.

On the plus side however, the Suns still have some genuinely valuable assets that they could shop around the league, in hopes they can get closer to the title conversation next season. In an ideal world they would try and get an upgrade for starting center Jusuf Nurkic - and even though he did really well for the franchise is 2023-24 - taking him on is still a tough sell to other organizations.

Yet the Suns might not even have to go out and try and trade for a Nurkic replacement, with a three-time NBA Champion potentially going to fall into their laps instead.

That's because according to Tim Kawakami of The Athletic - an excellent resource on all things Golden State Warriors - that franchise may be looking to offload Kevon Looney, instead of paying the 23-year-old the $8 million he is owed next season. What will be the final year of his current deal.

Speaking on his podcast about Looney's current situation in The Bay Area, Kawakami mentioned that the Warriors ditching Looney might be in their best interests moving forward. Like the Suns they also have a complicated cap sheet, and that is with Klay Thompson as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

He has been linked with a move away - the Orlando Magic one name that has gotten mentioned as a possible suitor by several sources - but the Warriors could yet decide to try and keep him. If they do that, then having Looney's $8 million on the books (only $3 million is locked in until June 24th when the full salary for the year is guaranteed) would be another obstacle for them to overcome.

If the Warriors were to just ditch Looney altogether then, why would he consider the Suns as his next team? As of now they can only offer him the minimum - and despite being a somewhat limited player who has regressed some in recent seasons - Looney's value around the league is worth more than that.

But the chance to play with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal on a roster that should make the playoffs might appeal to a player who in theory is still in his prime. Yes Looney could probably get a larger payday from one of the rebuilding organizations with cap space, but is that really how he wants to see out this crucial part of his career?

Next. The point guard the Suns should target is staring them in the face. The point guard the Suns should target is staring them in the face. dark

Why not gamble on himself, play for the minimum on a fringe contender for a season, and then look for a payday and the security of a longer deal after that. If there's one place where a center like Looney can show what he can do, it is in The Valley. They are crying out for a big man to patrol the paint, and Looney fits the bill.

If Nurkic was successfully able to rehab his trade value last season - to the point he's now getting mentioned in trades that don't sound outrageous - then Looney can most certainly do the same thing. Kawakami did say this was just a hunch he had based on the Warriors' financial situation, but it is one to monitor for the Suns, because he would be an amazing get if they could persuade him.