The Phoenix Suns are desperate for help ahead of the NBA's Feb. 9 trade deadline, and it appears the franchise could be aggressive in its approach to acquiring new players under incoming governor Mat Ishbia.
Phoenix is willing to move a first-round pick and potentially take on salary long-term "for good players and winning acquisitions," according to The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania.
Shams Charania @ShamsCharania
Incoming Suns owner Mat Ishbia will attend Phoenix-Brooklyn tonight, his first Suns game since agreeing to buy team. Details on <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRally?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheRally</a> about how Ishbia's impending arrival impacts Suns at the trade deadline, plus his approach to relationships across basketball: <a href="https://t.co/uNnEPDge2S">pic.twitter.com/uNnEPDge2S</a>
The Suns are currently 12th in the Western Conference with a 21-24 record. It's been a highly disappointing season for the franchise after reaching the NBA Finals just two years ago.
Phoenix has battled numerous injuries this season. Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet and Josh Okogie are currently on the shelf. Additionally, Jae Crowder hasn't taken the court for the franchise this year as he pursues a trade.
Beyond the injuries and underperforming roster, the Suns are dealing with a shake-up in their management, which has undoubtedly had an effect on the team. Suspended governor Robert Sarver handed over operations to interim replacement Sam Garvin, and Ishbia is currently in agreement to purchase the Suns for $4 billion.
There had been questions about whether the Suns would be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but it certainly appears Ishbia wants to buy as he looks to get the team back into playoff contention.
One player the Suns have been linked to leading up to the deadline is Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, who can become a free agent in the offseason if he declines his 2023-24 player option.
VanVleet, who went undrafted out of Wichita State, has molded himself into one of the top point guards in the NBA, and his presence would help the team better handle injuries to Paul, who entered Thursday having missed the last five games.
The 28-year-old is having a respectable season, averaging 18.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.3 assists in 37 games while shooting 38.4 percent from the floor and 33.4 percent from deep.
If the Suns can get healthy and add a star player ahead of the trade deadline, they should at least turn things around and clinch a berth in the play-in tournament.