HANG TIME WEST – 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.
The move to capitalize on the enviable flexibility of probably having two choices in June and as many as four, along with the potential of about $20 million in cap space in the summer, comes with Phoenix at 12-9 and far exceeding most preseason projections. Adding a proven player in exchange for the uncertainty of the draft, even one as stacked as 2014, could greatly accelerate the rebuilding and firmly establish the Suns as a playoff regular again.
The aggressive front office of owner Robert Sarver, president of basketball operations Lon Babby and general manager Ryan McDonough, has not even put the Suns’ own pick, the only one with a chance to deliver a selection at the top of the lottery, off limits. They will obviously ask for protections in negotiations if that choice is in play and may even insist on it, but whether Phoenix can get them in the end will undoubtedly depend on the names involved from the other side.
“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.”
The Suns are in an especially good position to trade picks because they have two rookie first-round selections on the current roster, Alex Len and Archie Goodwin, the possibility of four in 2014 and two more in 2015. Taking all those goes well beyond a youth movement. Even if all four choices cannot be spent in the upcoming draft, they could delay only one year, at which point Phoenix would still have the unwanted riches of four in 2015.
In addition to their own 2014 choice, tracking to the late-teens or early-20s with the season about a quarter old, the Suns have Minnesota’s first-rounder, which is top-13 protected and Washington’s selection protected through 12. Phoenix also has the Indiana pick that is top-14 protected, meaning it will be conveyed this season barring unimaginable developments. Whatever selections are not delivered for June will roll over to 2015 – when the Suns already have their own No. 1 and could get another from the Lakers with the L.A. spot protected through the top five.