NBA Exec Says T.J. Warren Had 'No Red Flags' to Push Suns to Trade Him to Pacers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2020

Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren (1) plays against the Orlando Magic during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns gave up T.J. Warren last offseason in what was effectively a salary dump, but there was no real cause to give up on the forward.

"There were no red flags," an NBA executive told J. Michael of the IndyStar. "He was always a good kid."

Warren was sent to the Indiana Pacers for cash considerations while also clearing the remaining three seasons of his four-year, $50 million extension. He has responded with a career-high scoring average of 19.9 points per game and has been a star during the league's restart in Orlando with an average of 34.8 points per game.

Warren has also added 6.6 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game during his five appearances, leading the Pacers to a 4-1 record.

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Even without the recent stretch, the 26-year-old has proved to be an impact player over the past few years. He averaged 18.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the last two seasons with the Suns before his trade.

"I'm ready to show the whole NBA—and not just the Suns for making the wrong decision—that the Pacers made the right decision," Warren said in October, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. "I'm worth more than cash considerations. It's on me to prove it. But the Suns messed up."

If there was one issue with Warren during his time in Phoenix it was his health as he never played more than 66 games in a single season. Trading him away also cleared a logjam at small forward, allowing Kelly Oubre Jr. to thrive in his best year yet.

The extra cap space also allowed the Suns to add Ricky Rubio in free agency.

Still, Warren would have made quite a difference in Orlando for a Phoenix team trying to earn the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.