The Phoenix Suns find themselves in a nice spot as the calendar flips over to December. They're into the last eight of the in-season tournament, and recently went on a seven game winning streak. Even with Bradley Beal in street clothes most of the time, the franchise have built momentum behind Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.
If there is one thing we know to be true about owner Mat Ishbia however, it is that he will always be aggressive in trying to make this roster the best that it can be. It's why he moved on from Chris Paul in favor of Beal, and before that again made the massive decision to bring Durant to The Valley. A deal that looks like it has paid off with how great Durant has been so far this season.
Less exciting - but no less important - is finding the right mix of role players to compliment these stars in pursuit of a championship. Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon and Drew Eubanks were clear wins in this area for example, while the jury is still out on individuals like Chimezie Metu. Give head coach Frank Vogel some credit here, he has worked with what he's been given extremely well.
Adding the right role players in a trade in no easy task, but the arrival of James Harden to the L.A. Clippers may just have pushed an ideal candidate for the Suns closer to the exit door in Los Angeles.
Bones Hyland is by no means the finished product, and really in his time with both the Clippers and Denver Nuggets before that, he has failed to really work out. Why then would the Suns have any interest at all in a player who hasn't worked out on two contenders? The Nuggets especially drafted him, then went on to win a championship when he was no longer around.
The easy answer here is what it would cost to get Hyland, and why that is worth taking a flyer on. Right now the Suns could probably get him for a second round pick or two, but failing that the salaries of Hyland and Metu are basically the same. The Clippers recently lost backup center Mason Plumlee to an MCL sprain, and he will re-evaluated in a month.
They could have some interest in a player like Metu - who had some moments in the past with the San Antonio Spurs - as a professional veteran to tide them over until Plumlee gets back. The Clippers' roster right now is disjointed because of the arrival of Harden, and although Metu wouldn't fix that, he would provide some much needed stability to their big man rotation.
In return the Suns would get Hyland, a scorer who deviates from the game plan often and who in all likelihood would drive coach Vogel demented. He has appeared in 12 games for the Clippers so far, with his 16.8 minutes per game a career low. He has a pair of starts to his name, but he's not going to get close to the rotation for that roster as it is currently constructed.
Yet despite being an afterthought who is being fazed out of the rotation in Los Angeles, Hyland has put up 8.3 points per game and is shooting 35.4 percent from deep on four attempts per night. To be clear, these are not the kind of numbers that are going to excite anybody. But don't they also feel like numbers that could surge upwards, if only Hyland was given a little bit more love and time on the court?
The Suns could spot an opportunity here to take Hyland and add him to their second unit as an energy guy offensively. One who will take some bad shots and not always make the right decision, and so should not be used as the point guard where possible. But instead as a player who scores in quick bursts before disappearing back to the bench again.
Surrounding him with Eubanks and Keita Bates-Diop would hopefully mask some of his defensive fragilities, and really with Booker continuing to miss games with niggling injuries, any opportunity to add a scorer to the backcourt on the cheap is a scenario worth exploring. We recently argued the merits of trading for T.J. McConnell, although the asking price to make a deal work appeared too steep.
Hyland is not nearly the floor general McConnell is, nor is he as good defensively (and McConnell at this stage of his career isn't even that great). But he is younger, has never had a problem scoring and most importantly for the Suns, is available on the cheap. They took a chance on Bol Bol this offseason and barely even use him, so why not see if Hyland can provide for a contender?