Here's a new one. Your team struggling to put those rebuilding days behind it? Just find yourself a "disgruntled" star—presumably in the hope he becomes a little less disgruntled on account of the greener grass and all.
That's one way to do it, anyway, and it's crossed new Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough's mind (via HOOPSWORLD's Steve Kyler):
“We could have as many as three [picks] next year and two the year after,” McDonough said to Adam Green of ArizonaSports.com.
“When teams have maybe a disgruntled superstar, what are they looking for in return? Well, they’re looking for picks, that’s what they want.
“I think we’re well positioned to strike if and when the next disgruntled superstar becomes available.”
Sounds appetizing, huh?
The Suns aren't exactly in any position to be picky. And if one of those disgruntled stars is—oh I don't know—DeMarcus Cousins, well, you suck it up and see what happens.
The trade market may seem like a second-best means of roster improvement to the casual fan. Why lose something of value when free agents and draft picks cost only their price in cap space? Unfortunately, even the best free-agent targets become overly valued, empowered with all the leverage afforded by a pretty open market. Meanwhile, draft picks are rarely guaranteed to pan out, much less pan out on an All-Star scale.
For many organizations, that means trading one's way out of the lottery is the surest option. When there's a chance to take someone like James Harden and turn it all around, it's a no-brainer for all but the most risk-averse, penny-pinching GMs—the one's who've gotten used to losing.
Looking to acquire a difference-maker is one thing, but having the resources to do so is obviously another. A handful of teams could—and most definitely should—be in the market to snag a star who's thus far eluded them.