The Suns wouldn't be averse to trading any of their players, as Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports wrote today, and as they target Iman Shumpert, Al Jefferson, Gordon Hayward and others, Jared Dudley is a name that keeps coming up on Phoenix's end. The 27-year-old swingman is again performing close to the level he attained in last season's career-best campaign, and with an affordable long-term contract, he could be a fit for teams looking for a steady, if unspectacular, role player.
Dudley has been linked to the Knicks and Jazz in recent days, and the Grizzlies were reportedly insisting that Dudley be included in any offer that would have sent Rudy Gay to the Suns. Among those three teams, he would probably make the most sense in Memphis, where his long-range accuracy (he's made 38.9% of his treys this season) would help a squad that's last in the league in three-pointers made this season. Dudley could provide depth for the Grizzlies, who've continually reduced their forces to shed salary. Even now that Gay is in Toronto, the Grizzlies could slide Dudley's $4.25MM salary into the $7,489,453 trade exception they received in last month's three-team deal, and still have plently of room on the exception and under the tax line to add someone else. The hangup there would probably be over what the Suns would get in return, since Memphis doesn't have much in the way of draft picks to surrender, and giving up a player to get one in return wouldn't solve the team's depth issues.
The Knicks are at the opposite end of the three-point spectrum from the Grizzlies, having made the second-most long balls of any team in the league, so Dudley would likely overlap with existing talent in the Big Apple. Still, too much outside shooting isn't necessarily a problem, and for a high-payroll team like New York, Dudley's contract could be a welcome value. He's set to make the same salary every year through 2016, though the final season of his deal includes an early-termination option. Finding cheap contracts wouldn't really seem like a pressing concern for the Jazz, who have only about $25.3MM in commitments for next season, but GM Dennis Lindsey and company, just like every team's front office, aren't going to turn down a value, particularly if they'd be swapping him out for Gordon Hayward's rookie contract.
Utah is in the bottom third of the league in three-pointers made, but perhaps the reason why Utah and other teams would hesitate to jump at Dudley is that he probably wouldn't really represent a significant all-around upgrade, particularly if he's in the starting lineup. The 22nd pick in the 2007 draft, Dudley set his career mark in points per game at 12.7 last year, his first as a full-time starter. He's at 11.5 PPG this year, with averages of 3.5 rebounds and a career-high 2.6 assists in 29.4 minutes per game. Those conventional statistics suggest mediocrity, and they're backed up by his 15.1 PER, right on the mark for an average player. His presence hasn't been able to lift the Suns out of last place in the Western Conference, and while he could be the missing piece on an established team, Dudley by himself is nothing special.
Teams that can utilize him as a fifth starter alongside a more explosive wing player or use him as a shooter off the bench seem like the right fits. Though his name is not often mentioned when the league's best marksmen are discussed, he's a career 40.5% three-point shooter, and nailed 45.8% of his attempts from behind the arc in 2009/10, the fourth-best percentage in the league that season. He seems like he could be a more inexpensive option for teams going after J.J. Redick, who's making $6.19MM this year in the final season of his contract. Dudley would be a long-term alternative who could also be much easier to obtain, considering the Suns are looking to deal while the Magic seem reluctant to part with Redick. Given the volume of Redick rumors we've seen this season, Dudley's team-friendly pact, and Phoenix's willingness to make changes, I think the Boston College product shouldn't get too comfortable in the warmth of the Valley of the Sun.