The NBA draft is getting closer and closer, and that means that NBA rumors are swirling around the web.
Last year, the Phoenix Suns were incredibly active during the offseason, acquiring multiple first-round picks as well as players such as Eric Bledsoe, Miles Plumlee and Gerald Green. Those trades came out of nowhere.
This time around, everyone is wondering what general manager Ryan McDonough is going to do in his second summer with the organization. With three first-round picks, some expiring contracts set to hit free agency and an abundance of cap space, he will certainly face some big decisions within the next couple months.
Here are a few of the most prominent rumors and speculations regarding the draft.
Suns Willing to Trade 27th Pick?
The Suns already won 48 games last season and have a set of key contributors and role players both in the starting lineup and on the bench. They are rebuilding faster than your average team.
With that being said, they do not need three first-round prospects to enter training camp in October. If coach Jeff Hornacek struggled to find playing time for rookies Archie Goodwin and Alex Len, he definitely wouldn't be able to develop three more prospects.
So, it isn't surprising that the Suns are willing to trade the 27th pick. The question is, what will they trade it for?
Suns showing strong willingness to move 27th pick in draft for a future first-rounder, league sources tell Yahoo. Suns have 14 and 18, too.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) June 21, 2014
If the Suns fail to acquire Kevin Love or another star (which is likely), they may simply trade the 27th pick for a future first-rounder in 2016 or 2017. Perhaps, because this is considered a strong draft class, the team could acquire an additional second-round pick or other role player as a throw-in.
Or, the Suns could focus solely on acquiring a player rather than a draft pick.
Hearing: Knicks have explored possibility of swapping Iman Shumpert for late first-round pick heading into Thursday's draft— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 23, 2014
Iman Shumpert is now entering his fourth NBA season and has yet to break out, but he can offer better production than the average 27th pick in the draft. Perhaps adding another athletic defensive specialist to the backcourt would not be a bad idea.
No matter what they trade for, expect the Suns to do something with the 27th pick. It's still possible that they trade for a star or trade up. But the most likely scenario is that they make a minor move, either for a future first-round pick or a current NBA player who they feel can contribute coming off the bench.
Suns to Trade Bledsoe to Kings?
This is a particularly odd rumor that started several days ago when it was made known that Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas is available. The idea would be to trade Thomas and the eighth pick of the draft for Eric Bledsoe.
One source even mentioned Sacramento offering a feeler trade to Phoenix last weekend of No. 8 and Isaiah Thomas for Eric Bledsoe.— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 18, 2014
However, break the rumor down more, and it becomes clear that it isn't quite so realistic. Here's why.
Both Thomas and Bledsoe are restricted free agents. Restricted free agents cannot be traded during the draft. So right there, that means that the only way for this trade to work would be if the Kings selected the eighth pick for the Suns and an agreement was made later.
As restricted free agents, Bledsoe and Thomas could be re-signed by their respective teams and then immediately dealt for each other in a sign-and-trade. However, if an outside offer sheet has already been signed by the players, the Kings and Suns do not retain the right to orchestrate that trade. At least, not until they have matched offers.
Also consider the fact that even if this was a feasible idea, Isaiah Thomas is one of the smallest players in the league and is not nearly as talented defensively as Bledsoe is. Unless the Suns are desperate for a fourth first-round pick (perhaps to trade for a star such as Love), this idea just doesn't make much sense.
Suns Interested in Drafting Shooters?
Despite the fact that the Suns were such a successful shooting team last season, they could always use more. Especially because there are a few players who may not necessarily be with the team for several more years.
Gerald Green is about to enter the last year of his contract, making $3.5 million. He will be the team's sixth man, but if he has a season that is anywhere near as successful as his 2013-14 campaign, he could be due for a huge pay increase, one that the Suns may not be willing to forfeit to a bench player.
Then there's Channing Frye, who just recently opted out of his contract to become a free agent. That does not mean that the veteran power forward/center hybrid is definitely leaving Phoenix, but the Suns should be prepared with a backup plan nevertheless. If both Frye and Green are gone within the next 12 months, they could be desperate for shooting.
And that is why, according to Paul Coro of AZCentral Sports, they are looking at quality shooters with their lottery pick this year. Names such as Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris all come to mind. Rodney Hood, James Young and Adreian Payne should be available with the team's picks as well.
From the article, McDonough had this to say about the possibility of the Suns acquiring more sharpshooters:
We have a pretty good shooting team with the way Goran and Gerald (Green) and P.J. (Tucker) and Marcus (Morris) and Channing (Frye) shot the ball. We value that. We value the spacing that comes along with the shooting. But we're trying to add to it as well. We feel like we have very good shot creators with Goran and Eric (Bledsoe) to get shots for shooters so that's something we value. I think that is pretty deep at the combo guard or shooting guard/small forward position. I think is pretty deep with shooters.
He seems high on the swingmen in this draft class, so don't be surprised if the Suns take one with either the 14th or 18th pick. Although the team has greater needs in the frontcourt, there aren't many great power forwards or centers available in the Suns' range.