Once Deandre Ayton returns the Phoenix Suns will deploy a big man rotation that includes; Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky, and Cheick Diallo. Along with that group, there’s the potential for Kelly Oubre Jr. or Cam Johnson to play some four in small-ball lineups as we’ve seen at times this year.
This is why I’m going to focus more towards adding a guard for the bench unit. I still believe adding another power forward or versatile forward is possible– and even include some in here– but I think adding a veteran guard is more of a need at the moment.
Before you dive into each trade, just know the numbers work on all of these trades. That’s been the most difficult part of trying to find trade partners that both make sense from a basketball perspective and have matching salaries going both ways.
Disclaimer: All of these trades are with the focus of bolstering their bench. Kevin Love, Aaron Gordon and Danilo Gallinari are some names that’ve popped up around the rumor mill, but they won’t be included in this article.
Option #1: Patty Mills
This is my favorite trade target for the Suns and is someone that can play alongside both Booker and Rubio and even spot start games for them if one of the two is to miss some time. He’s someone I think you can pair with Ty Jerome in the second unit as well and really help the spacing with his 41% three point shooting on nearly 5 attempts per game this season. Not to mention him and Aron Baynes already have some chemistry from their time on the Australian National Team.
Phoenix: Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli
San Antonio: Tyler Johnson, Elie Okobo, 2022 2nd round pick
Why do the Spurs do it? This trade allows the Spurs to clear upward of $19 million in cap space for next offseason and clears the path for them to develop their young guards where they currently have quite the logjam. This is assuming at the deadline they are still struggling and just want to blow it up and focus on their young core.
Marco Belinelli would be more of a throw in to help match salaries, but could also prove to make a decent backup with his ability to stretch the floor.
Mills/Belinelli/C. Johnson/Bridges/Baynes bench unit with some Jerome sprinkled in? Sign me up.
Option #2: JJ Redick
New Orleans is struggling this year and with Zion’s return in question it wouldn’t surprise me if they shop the 35 year old veteran. Redick signed a 2 year, $26.5 million deal with the Pelicans this offseason, so the Suns would be on the hook for his $13,000,000 salary next season, which is about his market value anyways.
Redick is shooting 44% from three point range on 7.3 attempts per game, making him one of the top shooters in the league yet again.
I want you to close your eyes and just imagine a lineup of Booker, Redick, Cam Johnson, Saric and Baynes and just think of the spacing. There are plenty of other intriguing lineups they’d be able to throw out there by adding Redick and I think he’d be a nice offensive compliment to Ty Jerome in the backcourt. Not to mention Redick mentioned on a podcast earlier this year that the Suns pursued him last offseason.
Phoenix: JJ Redick, Nicolo Melli
New Orleans: Tyler Johnson, Jevon Carter, 2020 1st round pick (lottery protected)*
*1st round pick lottery protected in 2020, top 10 protected in 2021, and if it doesn’t convert in 2021 it turns into two 2nd round picks (2022 and 2024).
This gives the Pelicans a decent shot of getting a mid-first round pick from Phoenix, with the worst-case scenario being them getting some salary cleared and two 2nd round picks. Melli is someone that theoretically fits in with what Phoenix likes to do as he’s a stretch big that plays the four and some five and add depth. He’s mainly in there to help match salaries though.
Option #3: DJ Augustin & Al-Farouq Aminu
DJ Augustin is on a reasonable contract and I believe Orlando will be a playoff team so dealing him may not make sense from their perspective unless it’s a part of a larger deal. The Aminu contract hasn’t worked out too well for either party thus far, so this could be one option Orlando explores to clear themselves some cap space for this summer.
Phoenix: DJ Augustin, Al-Faroq Aminu
Orlando: Tyler Johnson, Elie Okobo, 2022 2nd round pick.
Is this something Orlando would have any interest in? I have no idea. I’m strictly thinking about things from the Suns point of view, and adding a couple useful rotation pieces to upgrade the bench could help them stay in the playoff mix. Tyler Johnson’s contract will have a ton of value for teams that want to clear long-term deals off their books.
Option #4: Davis Bertans
I have no idea how they pull this one off.
The Wizards might not even make him available in the first place and decide to extend him if anything, because acquiring him was the first positive move they’ve made in a while so why let him go? The Suns also don’t have great salaries to match up with the Wizards. I got a headache trying to crunch the numbers. He will be high in demand and I doubt this is a realistic option, but it’s something I would absolutely love. I think a three-way deal of some sort would be required to make it happen.
Option #5: Jeff Teague
Hear me out. Teague isn’t great. Johnson isn’t great. This is a basically a straight swap where each team just wants to reset and see what happens. Why not? Threw in Jevon Carter and a future 2nd as sweeteners if Minnesota believes Teague has more value than Johnson (which they most likely do), but with both guards on $19 million expiring contracts it could make some sense to explore something like this if Teague buys in to a reserve role.
Phoenix: Jeff Teauge
Minnesota: Tyler Johnson, Jevon Carter, 2022 2nd round pick
Finding quality bench pieces that don’t ruin the team’s financial flexibility isn’t as easy as it sounds. Shoot me a tweet if you have any ideas of your own, and thanks for reading.