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Report: Suns looking to trade 2014 draft picks in order to win now

Dec 13, 2013, 9:47 PM EDT

Ryan McDonough

The Suns under new GM Ryan McDonough have been widely praised for setting themselves up for success by attempting to rebuild the franchise in what is conventionally believed around the league to be the right way.

That process involves pain at the beginning due to the losing that typically accompanies a roster that’s been intentionally set up without superstars on the books whose high-dollar, long-term contracts make for unfriendly conditions under the league’s new and more strict collective bargaining agreement.

Phoenix has acquired multiple future first round picks, and has ample salary cap space to go after a max player and some complimentary talent in free agency if that’s what the team so chooses. But with the surprising start that has them in the mix for a playoff spot this year, and with the players in place buying in 100 percent to new head coach Jeff Hornacek’s system, the plan may be changing a bit in order to try to become a top-tier team in the more immediate future.

From Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:

The Suns, obviously encouraged by a promising start and with several attractive assets at their disposal, are making it known around the league they are open to trading one or more picks in the loaded 2014 draft if they can get an established star capable of making an impact now, NBA.com has learned. …

“I think one of the things that’s important for people to realize is that we may not draft four players even if we have four picks,” McDonough told NBA.com. “Our preference would probably be to maybe package a few of them. We’re obviously all looking for stars and we feel like we can put together a package as good, if not better, than any other team in the league if and when a star becomes available. That’s kind of generally what we’ve wanted to do, not only with our draft-pick situation but also with the cap space that we’ve acquired.”

McDonough explains this perfectly.

The Suns just drafted two players in Alex Len and Archie Goodwin whom they believe in as prospects, but they are guys who will also need time to develop. The team knew this when they selected these players, and was willing to make that investment.

There’s no guarantee that any of the players available when Phoenix might draft next summer will be better than what they have already or better long-term fits, and they might need as much time or more to be molded into productive NBA-caliber players.

Acquiring a lot of picks is nice, but at some point those need to turn into legitimate star talent in order for a franchise to turn things around. That’s what the Suns are thinking in their willingness to trade one or more of their picks for proven players that can help immediately, and that’s why the team continues to be on the right track in its now accelerated rebuilding process.

  1. grizzlystrike - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Fine, but what established stars are available that are worth it? And no thanks to all the garbage from the Knicks.

    • asimonetti88 - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      What about Pau? He may not be a star anymore, but he would help them in the immediate term… and he’s an expiring, so even if he doesn’t, they can move on soon without affecting the plan too much. And the Lakers would love to get some picks to build with.

      Not that it would ever happen within the division, but it might not be a bad choice for either team.

      • bkallday52 - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM

        Pau is not himself in D’antoni ‘s system . so what makes you think he’ll be the same in Phoenix uptemo system? .. Pau needs to go to a team that grinds out and throw the ball in the low post. too bad a good majority of teams now are uptempo .. and looking to shoot the 3 ball

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:19 AM

        Haven’t had a chance to catch a Suns game this year, so not really sure what their offense looks like yet. Still seems like it could be ok for Phoenix. He would be a starter on Phoenix, and again, he is expiring, so if it doesn’t work out, they can get out from the mistake quickly.

      • casualcommenter - Dec 14, 2013 at 2:43 AM

        “He would be a starter on Phoenix, and again, he is expiring, so if it doesn’t work out, they can get out from the mistake quickly.”

        Except the Suns have good options at PF/C already who are cheaper than Pau and have far more upside.
        Also, the Suns wouldn’t get their 1st round pick back “if it doesn’t work out,” so no, giving the Lakers a nice pick for a player like Pau who hates his current coach, was terribly injury prone last season, is very expensive, and has been called out for lack of effort in a lost season for the Lakers isn’t a good move for a rebuilding team that could cool off later this year.

    • muhangis - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Exactly. Sometimes patience is key. Trust in your ability to draft. There is no guarantee in so-called “established” players either, as Brett Pollakoff seems to think. TOO OFTEN we see guys play fairly successfully into one system, yet they go into another system and it’s not working out so well for them.

      Look at many franchises throughout sports – the ‘quick fixes’ don’t work out quite as well as they thought, or they become all too TEMPORARY. [Knicks, Nets, look at what the Washington Redskins were trying to do for so long, etc. - they just ended up wasting a ton of money for nothing!]

      On the other hand, if you draft well, you can have young, talented players who have the opportunity and time to build continuity and a much stronger cohesion, for a successful and winning franchise for long years too come.

      The worst thing, however, is to be stuck in the middle and that’s where the Suns seem to be heading with this. There is no point in sub .500 seasons one year after another. Just ask the Hawks and Sixers, Mr. Pollakoff.

  2. phillysports1 - Dec 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Trade for Evan turner .

  3. cbrown386 - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Have Granger, please.

  4. JHathwell - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    This is smart. With as much hype as this draft has on it, some smart teams can sell these mid 1st round picks for $1.50 on the dollar, if you know what I mean. Guys like Luol Deng, Greg Monroe and Paul Millsap are all out there for the right price.

    • casualcommenter - Dec 14, 2013 at 2:46 AM

      Agreed.

      Deng in particular could be a target worth watching if the Bulls struggle and their ownership decides they don’t feel like paying a lot of money for a roster that’s hopeless in the playoffs.

      Bulls get financial relief (which their owner cares about) plus more picks to build for the future (when Rose gets back), while the Suns get a veteran, unselfish, 2-way player who can set a positive example for the younger guys.

  5. 00maltliquor - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    If Pau really has to go, should the Lakers be looking into this?

    My preference is to keep Pau. Forever. But if he is really getting shopped, this may be ideal. Plus the Suns can use a legit big man. The Morris boys, Plumlee and Frye have been holding it down though, but this is Pau Gasol.

  6. mp4philly - Dec 13, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Your move, Sixers.

  7. ironyisadeadscene - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    Gerald Wallace? We’ll throw in Jordan Crawford

  8. stephenolszewski - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    Only other guy I can see besides Pau or Evan Turner would be Zach Randolph and he would come off their books to at the end of the year.

    • somekat - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:23 AM

      Thad Young, Spencer Hawes…the sixers have half a roster they would move

  9. azcards - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Trading for Pau is a ridiculous comment. The Suns are not going to trade for an old declining big man that if/when it doesn’t work out, they just forfeit a pick. Laker fans please be smarter then this. It not going to happen from the Suns. Thanks for your 2015 pick for Nash though.

    • JHathwell - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:58 AM

      I think you might be too hard on Pau’s value here. The Suns have up to 4 first rounders in next years draft and a bunch of young assets. Point is, they have so much of both that it might be worth their while to take a flyer on Pau for the stretch run and maybe re-sign him.

      Feels like you are too quick to dismiss it in a way that suggests you don’t like the Lakers. If they we’re offering Okafor, one of the picks and another body it might just work for both teams.

    • casualcommenter - Dec 14, 2013 at 2:53 AM

      Exactly.

      They don’t understand – This is the 2013 version of Pau Gasol. It’s like they’re still watching highlights from 2009 on YouTube instead of watching what he’s become the past 3 years. Yeah, he looked really good against Team USA in the Olympics, a team where the front-court depth was so bad that Coach K actually played LeBron at center at times.
      IN THE NBA, Gasol has been in clear decline. He has no versatility in his game – not a good defender and by his OWN admission cannot be effective anywhere outside of the low-post.

      2013 Pau doesn’t make the Suns into a contender the way 2009 Pau did for the Lakers.

  10. ohioteamsusuallysuck - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    Eric Gordon

  11. bhester1906 - Dec 14, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    Greg Monroe is your man Phoenix

    • DonKellyBaby - Dec 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      Good Luck with that one. Actually, we’ll give you Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings for free.

      -Pistons Fan

  12. suns1334 - Dec 14, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    Cousins, Love, Davis, Melo, Griffin, etc???

  13. maracineanu16 - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    Well, that’s the chance for the Bulls to decide upon their future relationship with Booz’ and Lu’. They still would not tank, but could get some nice players in the next draft

    • adoombray - Dec 14, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      once and for all, bulls fans: nobody is taking Boozer.

  14. antistratfordian - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    Win now? That has to be a joke.

  15. azproball - Dec 14, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Couple of Trades that can make PHX an Elite Team in the west

    Suns – Channing Frye, Indys Pick
    Boston – Jeff Green

    Suns – Okafor, Len, Green , two draft picks
    Hawks- Al Hordford, L Williams

    Starting 5 Coming Off Bench
    Bledsoe L.Williams
    Dragic Goodwin
    Tucker Morris Brothers
    Green Plumlee
    Hordford

    • kylecleric - Dec 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      I don’t think the Celts are looking to trade Green.

  16. chicagocane - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM

    This would be a nice spot for Deng to land and for the Bulls to get a good return. Do Suns fans have ANY interest in Boozer too? ummmm…please? pretty please?

  17. billtetley53 - Dec 14, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Don’t pay attention to the lakers fans. They are just looking for a way out of the hell hole their team is in.
    Don’t you know that LeBron is coming to L.A next year? They are fricking delusional people. Pau is not a fit there and is not worth a 1st rounder .

    The lakers are stuck around .500 until Kobe retires.

  18. grizzlystrike - Dec 14, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Everyone is missing the point. McD is only going to trade picks for a proven young star. So the Zach randolph, pau, luol deng (really?) proposals aren’t happening. Something like what the rockets did last year with James Harden. Suns don’t want other teams garbage.

  19. homergreenz - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    The Suns are 13th in the league in team pace and the Lakers 3rd.

    Some of you talk about the Suns as if D’Antoni is still the coach of the Suns even while at the same time acknowledging that he’s the coach of the Lakers.

    • homergreenz - Dec 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

      5 people hate facts.

  20. sauey2000 - Dec 14, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Philadelphia makes the most sense. They have young proven talent in Turner, Young & Hawes. The Sixers have 2 first round picks next year & Hinkie the GM has been clear about wanting to build through the draft.

  21. tcclark - Dec 14, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    This isn’t really news. it sounds like news, but really every team in the NBA would be willing to trade draft picks and prospects for a proven star. not granger, deng, or gasol, but Howard, Lebron, and KD yes. They want stars, not fringe all-stars.

  22. phx1311 - Dec 14, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    The suns are not trading any picks to the Lakers period. If you have not seen them play your are missing out, this team is nice. I hope they dont make any trades actually but they will.

  23. 1509lucky - Dec 16, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Call Philly IMMEDIATELY!

  24. hahapapa - Dec 17, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    And to think Hornacek should have been named the coach at Utah.

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