Grade the Trade: Suns regain their future by trading superstar in blockbuster pitch

The Phoenix Suns are trapped in team-building purgatory, but another team just made a move to go after a Suns superstar and give the team back its future.
Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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Should the Suns say yes?

The Phoenix Suns don't have a lot of easy answers awaiting them this summer. They are extremely expensive to the point that team-building tools are being taken away, they are top-heavy, and they don't have the assets to do anything about it.

A trade like this would be painful, as it would be admitting that the Kevin Durant trade didn't work. It would also lower their ceiling significantly for next year, although it's hard to imagine they were truly in the title mix under any scenario that involved keeping the core three stars.

On the other hand, it's an incredible haul of players and picks. To match Durant's salary the Rockets had to stack up a number of players, and most of them are on expiring money that gives the Suns flexibility next summer to either bring them back or cut them loose. Jalen Green is wildly inconsistent but his best flashes are as good as anyone in the league. Jabari Smith Jr. is an extremely reliable 3-and-D big man. Cam Whitmore is a worthy flier after a strong rookie campaign.

The Suns would also be refilling the draft pick coffers, adding back a handful of picks and swaps, including the Suns' own pick and swaps owed. That includes the No. 3 pick in this year's draft, an excellent commodity for Phoenix whether it uses the pick or trades it to the highest bidder.

The Suns would have the flexibility to flip prospects and picks for a different star down the line, or can wait out a couple of years of Bradley Beal's contract while the young players develop and then make their big swing. Moving Durant allows them to reset their timeline by a few years at least.

Houston may not be willing to offer this much for Kevin Durant. The Phoenix Suns may not be willing to entertain the idea of trading Kevin Durant. If the two parties come together, however, it could very well end with Kevin Durant off the team and the Houston Rockets looking to make some noise next season.

Grade: B+