The 1 Trade the Phoenix Suns Must Consider Making This Offseason
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The Phoenix Suns are now in the midst of a rebuilding process, meaning that a complete roster overhaul in the next couple years would not be a surprising sight. After finishing the past season last in the Western Conference, the Suns have few pieces to build around and will be active over the next few summers drafting prospects, signing free agents and trading for other assets.
The Suns may look to make a trade this offseason, in which case they have several assets they could dangle in front of other teams.
However, general manager Ryan McDonough is not necessarily looking for a speedy rebuild, meaning that a blockbuster trade for a star is quite unlikely.
The Suns simply don't have the pieces to trade for a superstar, and while they could potentially acquire a borderline All-Star such as Eric Gordon, a player of his caliber would not be able to lead the team deep into the playoffs as the No. 1 option. Additionally, his overpriced max contract would be a cumbersome burden to the team's financial situation.
With that being said, perhaps it is better if the Suns simply look to acquire additional draft picks for their rebuilding process.
One trade proposal the Suns should strongly consider making is Marcin Gortat and the 57th overall pick (from Denver) to the Portland Trail Blazers for Joel Freeland, the 10th overall pick (from Portland) and the 39th overall pick (from Minnesota).
True, this is not a flashy or particularly exciting trade. A couple of extra draft picks will not immediately improve the Suns, and Gortat, who is only a slightly above-average center, is not going to be enough to bring the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals.
Still, it does improve both teams, albeit in drastically different ways.
The Suns do away with Gortat, who just came off a fairly disappointing season. Gortat averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this past year, though he was not always effectively used by the offense and his touches were down as well.
Gortat vented his frustration with the team early on in the season and seemed discontented with the Suns' losing season. He didn't show as much effort offensively or defensively, and now perhaps it is time to allow him to play for a playoff team.
But more important than what the Suns give away is what they receive. In addition to having the fifth pick in the 2013 NBA draft, the Suns would also receive the 10th pick, which perhaps makes up for losing the 14th pick after the Lakers just barely made the playoffs. Also, this trade would give the Suns three first-round picks.
And in addition to that, the Suns swap their current second-rounder (which is one of the last picks in the draft) for the 39th pick from the Timberwolves. Again, this may make up for the early second-round pick the Suns lost in February by trading for Marcus Morris, and now they would be able to pick up a another solid talent for their bench.
The Suns bringing in four rookies in one season may seem like a lot, but they could certainly use the influx of youth. And with four selections all in the top 40 picks, Phoenix would have tons of options to work with.
For example, perhaps the Suns want to go big and select someone such as Alex Len with the fifth pick. Then, if they also want a quality guard, it is not a problem. By the 10th pick, perhaps Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, C.J McCollum and even Shabazz Muhammad will all be available.
Or, Phoenix could go after a guard such as Victor Oladipo or Ben McLemore with its first pick. Anthony Bennett (who the team has already worked out) could potentially be available at No. 10, and if he isn't, big men such as Steven Adams, Mason Plumlee and Gorgui Dieng should be strongly considered.
In fact, perhaps Oladipo and Adams would be the ideal draft for Phoenix. Adams, the massive 7'0" center out of Pittsburgh, shows potential as a great finisher around the rim and a rim protector. Adams averaged 2.0 blocks in just 23.4 minutes per game in his freshman season, and he could be a great defensive asset for the Suns.
On the other hand, he is still very young and one of the more raw prospects in his class. Adams would need a couple of seasons to develop, but perhaps the Suns will pull the trigger if they are truly sold on his potential.
In the second round, there usually isn't much to gain with the 39th overall pick. Don't expect a superstar, but Landry Fields and Jonas Jerebko are two examples of solid role players in the past few years taken with the 39th pick. As long as the Suns select a solid bench player, it can't be considered a wasted opportunity.
Finally, the Suns also gain some cap space from the trade. Joel Freeland will have to be paid, but the Suns will save $4 million in cap space by making this move. That isn't a particularly large sum of money, but when combined with the cap space Phoenix has already saved, it could chase after a starter in free agency.
For Portland, this trade is all about finding a replacement center for free agent J.J. Hickson.
Center is the weakest position in the NBA, and we all know about the injury history that has plagued that Trail Blazers for many years. But with this trade, the Blazers could find a veteran, defensive-minded center.
Gortat may not be a top-10 center in the league, but he is certainly a solid starter and an above-average defender. He could be a great option to finish down low on offense and strengthen the team's interior defense, and the acquisition would likely please All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge.
What Do You Think of This Trade Idea?
Gortat is a good defensive anchor, and while he may not be the most exciting name for Portland, he is a practical, realistic trade target. With a starting five that includes Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, two-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, rising star Nicolas Batum and now Marcin Gortat, it is hard to imagine Portland not at least fighting for a playoff spot next season.
And as for Phoenix, it will simply continue its slow rebuild, clinging to the hope that a few dismal seasons could give way to the revival of the franchise.
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