Luol Deng, Small Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers
With the Suns teetering on the edge of a playoff spot, it's not hard to see that the one key component missing from Jeff Hornacek's starting lineup is an upgrade at the 3.
P.J. Tucker has established himself as a nice 3-and-D wing, but truthfully, he shouldn't be starting at small forward on a team with grand postseason aspirations.
Enter Deng, who's set to hit the open market this summer as an unrestricted free agent.
Although he's struggled during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Deng is an All-Star-caliber talent who could help provide much-needed depth and stability on the perimeter.
The good news? Phoenix is slated to have loads of money to spend even if Channing Frye exercises his $6.8 million player option for next season.
With just under $34 million on the books for 2014-15, the Suns are primed to be big spenders and add a couple of key pieces in the summer ahead.
Best Fit: Phoenix Suns
Pau Gasol, Center, Los Angeles Lakers
Speaking of the Suns, they could use some insurance at center.
Miles Plumlee's terrific season-opening stretch feels like a distant memory, and his production from an offensive standpoint has been pedestrian at best. Just look at his shot chart.
The answer to the Suns' problems could be Pau Gasol, whose diversified offensive portfolio and ability to draw defenders away from the basket (he's shooting 44.8 percent between 10 and 16 feet this season) would provide Hornacek's attack with a new dimension.
Suddenly owning a win-now mindset, the Suns could take another strong step forward and fully embrace the all-in mentality by bringing Gasol aboard to solidify their starting five.
Best Fit: Phoenix Suns
Kyle Lowry, Point Guard, Toronto Raptors
Back around the trade deadline, NBA.com's David Aldridge reported that the Toronto Raptors were wary of signing Kyle Lowry to a long-term deal this summer, noting:
...the Raptors do not want to give Lowry a big-money contract this summer along the lines of what other point guards who've signed extensions recently: Denver's Ty Lawson (four years, $48 million), Golden State's Stephen Curry (four years, $44 million) or New Orleans' Jrue Holiday (four years, $41 million from Philadelphia).
Aldridge went on to say that the Raptors are afraid of spotting Lowry big bucks based on an impressive one-year sample size, which further lends credence to the thought that the point guard may be looking for a new employer in a few months' time.
So which teams should be looking at Lowry? The New York Knicks are one of the few squads in desperate need of a two-way threat at point guard, but their salary-cap situation is comically bad.
How about the Los Angeles Lakers? They have a need in the backcourt, but Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding wrote earlier this month that the team isn't expected to make any major splashes this summer and could choose to ride out the remainder of Steve Nash's contract next season.
Which leads us back to the Raptors. With the supply of point guards greater than the demand, perhaps Masai Ujiri will be able to work his trademark magic and get his breakout floor general back at a discount.
Best Fit: Toronto Raptors
Paul Pierce, Small Forward, Brooklyn Nets
Is it possible that we could see Paul Pierce back in a Boston Celtics uniform after just one season with the Brooklyn Nets?
According to Peter May of SheridanHoops, there remains a possibility that the second-leading scorer in franchise history could make a return to the land of parquet floors.
“Why not? Play for them. Work for them. You never know,’’ Pierce said, according to May. He later was a bit more definitive when asked if he’d consider returning to play for the Celtics. “Without a doubt,’’ he told SheridanHoops.
In the midst of one of the worst offensive seasons of his career, Pierce's return to Boston would be a nice way to go out, allowing him to extinguish memories of a forgettable stint in Brooklyn.
Best Fit: Boston Celtics
Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard, Indiana Pacers
Upon watching Stephenson thrive under the tutelage of Larry Bird and Frank Vogel, how could one not think the Indiana Pacers are the perfect fit for one of the league's brightest prospects?
Making a shade over $1 million this season, Stephenson's production (14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, five assists) has far exceeded his pay grade, and he's earned the right to be considered one of the most coveted free agents in this year's class.
But will he take a hometown discount to stay with the Pacers?
As things stand, Indiana is staring at roughly $66 million in committed salaries for next season, which would put them somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million to $9 million below the projected tax line, reported CBA FAQ and ESPN's Larry Coon back in June.
It's going to be a tough decision for both Stephenson and the Pacers, but there's no denying that the league leader in triple-doubles would be doing wonders for his career by standing pat.
Best Fit: Indiana Pacers