With their "Big 3" of Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal finally healthy and getting an extended run of games together, it feels like the Phoenix Suns have turned a corner. Their recent 22 point comeback win over the Sacramento Kings by far their most impressive victory of the season.
That game saw Durant spend the crucial part of the fourth-quarter as the team's center, and it feels like head coach Frank Vogel has found a five-man group with Durant manning the middle that will have a big impact for this group down the road. Certainly it is a lineup that the Suns are sure to turn to in the playoffs.
With the Suns trending in the right direction, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports has claimed that the team are exploring what two players would get them on the trade market.
The two players in question are Grayson Allen - who is having a career year with the team - as well as Nassir Little, who was also part of the Jusuf Nurkic and Allen trade that sent Deandre Ayton to the Portland Trail Blazers. On the surface this seems ridiculous, Allen has been fantastic for the Suns so far this season, they wouldn't be where they are right now without him, but a trade may make sense.
We'll return to Allen, but exploring the options for Little makes sense. He's under contract for three more seasons after this one, and never makes more than $7.5 million in a season. At 15.2 minutes per game, he is coach Vogel's 11th most used player this season, behind the likes of Jordan Goodwin and Drew Eubanks.
Little is capable of creating a modest amount of offense, and defensively can have an impact as well. It just feels like he doesn't do either well enough to force his way past more established players like Allen and Eric Gordon in the rotation. Even Bol Bol represents more intrigue right now, and upside as a result of his size and what he can do in that large frame.
Could the Suns get a first round pick back for Little? Probably not, but they may be able to restock their coffers with draft capital of some kind. Alternatively they could move Little for a player who makes similar money, but who could have a greater impact on the rotation ahead of the postseason. It is highly likely that hypothetical player who be an expiring deal however.
With the Suns unable to re-sign them beyond this season, perhaps the better play here is to keep Little? If nothing else he doesn't make a ton of money, and can be on this roster for the long haul. Still only 23-years-old, the best could be yet to come for Little with the Suns. Especially next season when some players on one-year, minimum deals will no longer be around.
Allen's situation is more complex, as he has been the Suns' third best player so far this season. That may say more about the season this team has had, but he has stood up when needed. His 29 points in the win over the Kings - a team high at mostly coming at a time earlier in the game when his teammates didn't have it going - the latest example of his importance.
He is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and has likely played so well that another team is going to offer him the kind of deal that the Suns simply cannot match. If they're going to lose him for nothing this offseason, why not then see what they could get for him now, when his value has undoubtedly never been higher?
The Suns can't think long-term right now, and the single focus is winning a championship. Allen would seem to be best positioned to help them achieve that, as there is no telling what a new player could bring to the rotation in his place. As an expiring deal, Allen wouldn't fetch a first round pick, and in all likelihood the Suns would be getting back another veteran on a short-term deal.
The 48 percent he is shooting from deep is a top five mark in the league this season, and there's basically no other player in the entire league who could shoot that well next to three stars. As a defender, Allen isn't terrible either, and plays his part on that end of the court. The below stat isn't nothing, and Allen is a legitimate part of that.
So while the Suns may quietly be fielding calls for Allen, the smart play here is to stick with him for the remainder of the season. If you'd told fans 18 months ago that Durant and Beal would be on this roster - alongside Booker - they would have laughed at you. But the league moves quickly, and it is not impossible that the Suns could indeed bring Allen back again for next season.
Little's case is a little different - and although he can be a long-term solution even after the likes of Durant have left The Valley - it is absolutely worth exploring what the organization can get back for him now. The championship window is small here, and Little isn't helping a ton right now. Turning that into a player who could would be a trade deadline win for the franchise.