The Phoenix Suns were active at the trade deadline, managing to add Royce O'Neale and David Roddy, while sending out four players in the process. Of the four departed individuals, it is the loss of Yuta Watanabe that will always have Suns fans wondering what might have been.
The Suns are now a player short of the 14 required on an NBA roster as a result of their dealings, and it is no surprise to hear that they will be active in the buyout market. While a player like Spencer Dinwiddie - somebody who can create their own shot and would be an awesome addition - is now out of their price range and headed to Los Angeles, there are other options the Suns can pursue.
Perhaps none fit the profile of what this franchise needs than Danuel House Jr., and he is a player the Suns should be trying to sign.
House Jr. is perhaps best known for his sudden emergence with a Houston Rockets roster led by James Harden, and as a player who gave his all on the defensive end. But he also shot 41.6 percent from deep during one 39 game stretch with the Rockets, and knocked down a shade under 37 percent of his 3-pointers in four seasons there.
That is not the kind of number that will move the needle for the Suns - especially with Grayson Allen literally catching fire at times this season - but it becomes a better figure when you factor in the defensive intensity as well. Playing alongside Harden in the past generated House Jr. plenty of good looks, but playing alongside Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal would be something else.
Then again, House Jr. was with the Philadelphia 76ers this season, and they traded him to the Detroit Pistons at the deadline, with the Pistons then waiving the player. Surely if he was that good, another contender in the 76ers would want to keep him around and so the Suns shouldn't be too excited about his availability?
That is an avenue worth going down, but for House Jr. he was just the odd man out at a crucial time for the 76ers. Harden is no longer in town and Joel Embiid's knee will decide how deep they can go this postseason. So with Tyrese Maxey running the show for the time being, the organization needed some cap space moving forward because there exists a lot of uncertainty for them right now.
They shed over $4 million by letting him go - and although that is a figure the Suns could have taken on given their own cap sheet issues - they now wouldn't even need to with House Jr. having been bought out. The Suns also can't go after players (such as Dinwiddie) who were making over $12 million this season as per the new CBA, so House Jr. meets that criteria too.
Why the Suns should get involved at this point, is because House Jr. is still only 30-years-old, and would represent a kind of insurance for Eric Gordon down the stretch of the season. House Jr. can play as a forward or a guard, much like Gordon, and the two have similar enough body types for head coach Frank Vogel to be able to interchange them.
Gordon is the better shooter and offfensive creator - and really in his day was just the flat out better player - but he also turned 35 on Christmas Day. With the Suns having fortified their roster in other areas, and with the need for a backup point guard something that continues to not be on their radar, adding House Jr. makes a lot of sense.
The front office tried to get creative last offseason, and signed Keita Bates-Diop in the hope he could be a lockdown defender for stretches next to the likes of Durant and Booker. That never happened - but if that was the plan then - it should surely continue to be the direction to go in now that House Jr. is available. He has a lot more experience and has appeared in 29 playoff games for three teams.
The defensive rating he is posting this season (107.7), is outrageous, and is miles better than the league average (114.8) the Suns have managed so far this season. Playing with Embiid surely skews this figure in House Jr.'s favor, as does the 34 games played with only four starts. But individually he can help for spurts, which is why the front office should be examining this closely.
If the Suns go with Durant at the five in the playoffs, they are going to need different combinations around him in order to try and break down different types of opponents. A short and stocky combo of Gordon and House Jr. - alongside Beal and Booker in the backcourt - could be just the kind of lineup that opponents would struggle to deal with, and it's why the Suns have to make their move soon.