Draft night trade between Suns and Knicks would suit everybody

There is an obvious trade to be made on draft night that would suit both the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, but will they make it?
New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns
New York Knicks v Phoenix Suns / Chris Coduto/GettyImages

The Phoenix Suns have the 22nd pick in this year's NBA Draft, and it is an underrated asset in their quest to improve their roster. Already we have speculated what the organization might do with the pick, which has included targeting everybody from Bronny James to Zach Edey.

There is another way of thinking with this pick however - one that Shams Charania of The Athletic spoke about a couple of months back - that says the Suns could package that first round pick and their first rounder in 2031 to go and get a veteran to try and help them win now.

The fact the Suns are in the second apron complicates that idea even further, although Nassir Little's $6.7 million owed for next season could be the money involved that allows the Suns to get somebody they would actually want. Still, not being able to take back more than they send out in any potential deal because they are in salary cap hell makes this difficult.

But what if the Suns were to call the New York Knicks, and enquire about trading down on draft night and getting another pick in the process?

As of now, the Knicks will be selecting 24th (pick from the Dallas Mavericks) and 25th when the time comes. Obviously both of those picks are valuable in their own right, but it is unclear what the Knicks could get and would even want to add to a roster that looks pretty close to making it out of the Eastern Conference.

They also have a player in Julius Randle who ironically could rejuvenate his career in The Valley, but that does not look like something that is going to happen anytime soon. With Jalen Brunson the star of the show and the Knicks looking to bring back both Isaiah Hartenstein and OG Anunoby, adding a pair of first round picks to that roster would make things overcrowded. So let's simplify things.

Knicks Trade

This solves problems for both organizations immediately. The Knicks can zone in one one player that they can add to their roster, or perhaps even trade what is a marginally better pick for more stuff because they are not restricted in the way that the Suns are to do so.

For the Suns, they currently only have eight players under contract for certain heading into next season. Another four have player options - but even if all of them pick that extra year up and come back - this roster could do with young and cheap players to fill out their rotation.

As the contracts of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal get more expensive (from 2025-26 onwards, all three will never be earning less than $50 million a year each), having these types of guys on the roster allows for more flexibility. Obviously the goal here would be to get a big man to replace Jusuf Nurkic with one of the picks.

A best case scenario would be a Dereck Lively II type, somebody who statistically did not stand out in college but who as a rookie has helped the Mavericks to the finals. The second pick could then either be used on a point guard to bring along slowly to bridge the gap between now and a future when Durant is gone, or else a Mikal Bridges type who could play right away.

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An individual who could get minutes as a rookie by playing hard defensively, and who in all likelihood will have played at least a couple of years at the college level. Getting cheap contributors would be the goal, but working them into a future trade alongside Little (because they would go from picks to actual salary to make getting a more expensive player possible) could also work.

Either way this seems like a no-brainer for both teams, a rare scenario where everybody wins. Will the Suns be brave enough to do this? Not if the front office thinks it can take their two current first-rounders and turn them into a real player down the road, but that does not look likely right now. Why not instead draft for the here and now, and have confidence that two first rounders could work out?