The Suns got off to wretched start to the season and they didn’t wait long at all to make changes with an eye on turning the franchise’s fortunes around. Phoenix fired coach Earl Watson, something that upset Eric Bledsoe, and just weeks later, the team dealt the point guard to the Bucks.
GM Ryan McDonough believes the Bledsoe trade put the team in position to make a “compelling offer for a superstar,” as Greg Moore of the Arizona Republic passes along. The executive adds that if the organization wants “to be a player in 2018 and speed up our timeline a little bit, we’re able to do that as well.”
The Suns have could have as many as three first-round picks in the 2018 draft. They will receive Milwaukee’s 2018 first if it falls between No. 11 and No. 16, and they possess Miami’s first-rounder from the Goran Dragic, though the selection is top-seven protected.
If recent history is any indication of the trade market, dealing for a star does not require the kind of haul it has in previous years. Outside of the Kyrie Irving trade, one can argue that nearly every All-Star that switched teams over the past year via trade did so at a discounted price.
The Pelicans brought in DeMarcus Cousins for a lottery pick and a young prospect. The Bulls landed Jimmy Butler for a pair of guards with potential and the ability to move up nine slots in the 2017 draft. The Rockets only had to surrender a few solid NBA players in addition to a first-rounder in the Chris Paul trade. The Thunder landed Paul George for two players who each may never make an All-Star team (though, if Victor Oladipo‘s hot start continues, he’ll make a case for one this season) and they reeled in Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks for an Enes Kanter-headlined package.
Each of those deals had various circumstances to why the price was so low. However, had each of those players not been in their respective situations, the top talent would have likely never even been on the market.
Phoenix had the assets to make competitive offers for each of those stars and stood pat. After the Bledsoe deal, they maintain the ability to get involved should another star become available. However, it’s possible that the string of deals were more situation-based coincidences than a sign that new trend is emerging in the market for stars.
The trade adds to the Suns’ cupboard, though the increased flexibility doesn’t guarantee that the team is any closer to competing for a playoff seed in the West. McDonough’s talk of an improved timeline may be legit or it could simply be him masking a one-sided trade.
Do you buy what McDonough is selling? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below and let us know how you would proceed if you were sitting in the GM’s chair. We look forward to what you have to say!