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30 Suns trades to consider before 2024 NBA Trade Deadline

Gerald Bourguet Avatar
January 23, 2024
With the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline fast approaching, here are 30 Phoenix Suns trades the team should consider to help shore up their bench

The 2024 NBA Trade Deadline is just over two weeks away, and potential Phoenix Suns trades will be a hot topic of conversation in the Valley until Feb. 8 arrives.

Following Monday’s exhilarating comeback against the Chicago Bulls, the Suns are 11-3 over their last 14 games. They’ve started to figure things out on both ends, ranking fifth in offensive rating and 13th in defensive rating over that stretch. Their new starting lineup of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Grayson Allen, Kevin Durant and Jusuf Nurkic is a +37 in 164 minutes together, and despite his recent shooting struggles, Eric Gordon gives Phoenix six reliable players for the playoff rotation.

As we covered in our extensive Suns trade deadline primer, the team’s biggest priority will be shoring up the bench, particularly with a more capable 3-and-D wing. Because of the limitations Phoenix will face as a team in the second tax apron moving forward, this is a crucial trade deadline, and it’s one of their last opportunities to aggregate their own players in a deal.

Given the way this team’s contracts are structured, with the Big 3 on max salaries and most of the rest on veteran minimum deals, the most likely names to come up as a starting point in Suns trades are Nurkic ($16.9 million salary) Allen ($8.9 million) and Nassir Little ($6.3 million).

However, trading Nurkic would leave Phoenix in need of a starting center, and the Suns are high on what he’s brought in terms of his screen-setting, passing ability, improved rim protection and all-around fit with the Big 3. It seems unlikely they’d punt on him so soon.

Allen has value as a guy who’s currently leading the NBA in 3-point percentage and posting 50-40-90 shooting splits, but the Suns might value him more than another team because he’s capitalizing on all the open looks that come with playing alongside Booker, Durant and Beal. He’s Phoenix’s most attractive, realistically attainable trade chip, but finding a deal that allows the Suns to upgrade on the wing is tough.

Teams aren’t just giving out starting-caliber 3-and-D wings, and that would need to be the return in any Allen trade. Again, point guard is NOT the Suns’ biggest position of need. A backup point guard would be nice, but they don’t have the assets to land a starting-caliber floor general anyway.

Bearing all that in mind, it’s time to take another look at some targets for Suns trades. Some of the names will be familiar from the last time we examined a few way-too-early trade scenarios, but we’ve updated all of those and included new names as well. We’ll start with some low-cost options for the Suns’ trade exceptions, followed by a few popular names that feel unrealistic, and finally, more attainable options in the middle ground.

REMINDER: These trades are not about what I think the Suns should or should not do, but rather, a thought exercise to try and gauge what certain players’ value might be, both in Phoenix and around the league. Names who show up frequently below like Nassir Little, Yuta Watanabe and Bol Bol could still prove themselves now that the Big 3 is healthy, but these hypotheticals reflect their current value and place in the rotation.

Suns trades: Trade exception targets

As we covered in our trade deadline primer, the Suns have four trade exceptions at their disposal. They can’t be stacked on top of each other, and they can’t be combined with Suns players to encompass more salary, but any player whose salary fits within one of these amounts can be added via trade exception:

  • $6.5 million trade exception (Cam Payne trade)
  • $5 million trade exception (Dario Saric trade)
  • $1.8 million trade exception (Isaiah Todd trade)
  • $1.1 million trade exception (Toumani Camara trade)

Basically, anything under $6.5 million fits within a Suns trade exception, at which point Phoenix would need to send out some combination of draft picks to get a deal done. The Suns don’t have any first-round picks to offer, so they’ll have to resort to second-rounders to sweeten the deal.

These are the only second-round picks Phoenix has to offer:

  • A 2024 second-rounder from the San Antonio Spurs (protected 31-54)
  • A 2026 second-rounder (least favorable pick between the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic)
  • A 2028 second-rounder from the Boston Celtics (protected 31-45)
  • A 2028 second-rounder from the Memphis Grizzlies
  • A 2029 second-rounder from the Grizzlies

So which players are making less than $6.5 million this year and could be attainable for some second-round picks? It’s difficult to say for sure, but here are a few potential names that come to mind.

KJ Martin

Suns trades

Since being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, Martin has played in 26 games. Of those 26, he’s logged double-digit minutes in just six games. It’s no surprise The New York Times’ Marc Stein reported on Monday that Martin is available.

Martin’s $1.9 million salary is an easy fit into one of Phoenix’s trade exceptions, and according to Stein, the Sixers are only looking for “a quality second-round pick” in return. He wouldn’t move the needle a ton, but the Suns have had interest in Martin in the past, and having a more athletic option at the 4 certainly wouldn’t hurt. Martin is still only 23 years old and averaged a career-high 12.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season.

Because the Suns have 15 fully-rostered players and wouldn’t be sending one out in this deal, they’d have to waive somebody. Bol Bol seems like the most likely candidate.

Josh Richardson

Suns trades

Would the Miami Heat sell this low on their second J-Rich stint? Nothing is certain, but he’s been struggling something fierce lately:

Part of it is Richardson being miscast as a ball-handling guard, with Erik Spoelstra going as far as moving Kyle Lowry to the bench to help with the second unit’s offense. The Suns have a glut of guards as it is, but at 6-foot-5, with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, Richardson could help with the wing defense. His $2.8 million is an easy fit into a trade exception, and he’s got a $3.1 million player option for next year.

Unfortunately, a second-rounder is all the Suns should be willing to give up for a guy who’s shooting 34.5 percent from deep this season, and that’s probably not enough for the Heat to justify parting with a guy who’s averaging 26.2 minutes a night — even if it does feel like he’s on the cusp of falling out of the rotation or being put on the trade block.

Maybe the Suns consider dangling an actual player like Keita Bates-Diop or Yuta Watanabe instead, but more than likely, they’d prefer to keep KBD’s defense and Watanabe’s 3-point shooting in the reserves just in case. (And for those wondering, Josh Okogie and Damion Lee can veto any trade, so they’re not going anywhere.)

Torrey Craig

Suns trades

Trading for Torrey Craig before the NBA Trade Deadline is becoming an annual tradition for James Jones. The funny thing is, we can’t entirely rule it out again this year, since the Suns could use some help on the wing.

Craig is averaging 6.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game for the Chicago Bulls this season, and for the first time in his career, he’s sustained efficient 3-point shooting outside of Phoenix, making 38.2 percent of his triples.

Would it be an underwhelming addition? Yes. Would it make Craig and the rest of us belly laugh? Also yes. But his $2.5 million salary fits, and although the Bulls have climbed back to near-.500 territory, they’re primed for some deadline deals. Craig doesn’t feel off-limits by any means, and if the Suns try to tweak around the edges, another reunion isn’t impossible.

Maybe this time he’d actually be able to stick around past the summer, thanks to his $2.8 million player option for next season.

Jalen McDaniels

Suns trades

McDaniels was already struggling for minutes before the Toronto Raptors added a bunch of new names to the roster with the Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby trades. In his 27 appearances this season, McDaniels has registered double-digit minutes in nine of them.

After the Sixers traded for him last season, McDaniels put up 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game over 24 appearances, shooting 48.8 percent overall and 40 percent from 3. He’s still only 25 years old, his $4.5 million contract fits into one of the Suns’ trade exceptions, and his $4.7 million salary for next season would give Phoenix another low-cost bench player, or at the very least, some extra salary flexibility if they wanted to move him down the line.

At 6-foot-9, McDaniels is another low-cost option to consider. There’s no guarantee he’d prove himself in a way that Little, Bates-Diop and Watanabe have failed to do, but at this point, anyone who only costs a second-rounder might be worth a shot.

Troy Brown Jr.

Suns trades

Would one Western Conference contender consider a trade with another? That’s debatable, but Troy Brown Jr. isn’t exactly an essential fixture in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ rotation. He’s played in 34 games for the NBA’s stingiest defense, but he’s only averaging 11.6 minutes a night.

That doesn’t mean the Wolves will just give him away, which is why two second-rounders might be the asking price. If Minnesota wants an actual player to replace Brown, Watanabe would be the best place to start, since empowering the Wolves’ No. 1 defense with the length of Little or Bates-Diop feels risky. Cashing in on the Little trade chip for this kind of return would feel admittedly underwhelming.

However, Brown shot 38.1 percent from deep last year and is at 37 percent this season, so it’s an area of his game he’s worked to improve. At 6-foot-7, he might be able to plug up some of those 3-and-D minutes, and at $4 million (with a $4 million salary for next year that’s non-guaranteed), this is the type of buy-low target the Suns should kick the tires on.

Reggie Bullock Jr.

Suns trades

The Houston Rockets are loaded with guards and wings that need minutes, and while they’ve had problems keeping them healthy at the same time, it’s become clear some are fully expendable. Reggie Bullock Jr. is at the top of that list, since he’s played in less than half of Houston’s 42 games, and that he’s averaging just 9.3 minutes per game.

Still, Bullock is an experienced veteran, and even this season, he’s knocking down 38.5 percent of his 3s — right around his career mark over 11 years in the NBA. Although he’ll turn 33 years old in March, Suns fans are well aware of what he can do in a playoff setting from his time with the Dallas Mavericks.

He’s not a lockdown defender by any means, which is the Suns’ biggest need, but if they made a move for Bullock, it would be the lowest-cost target of the bunch. Adding Bullock wouldn’t preclude Phoenix from pursuing other deals, and Bullock competes on the defensive end. He’s not the sexiest option, but there are worse fallback plans than his $2 million expiring deal.

Andre Drummond

Suns trades

Drummond has quitely had a revival off the bench for Chicago this season, putting up 7.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 15.9 minutes per game. He’s not the most limber defender or effective finisher around the basket, but as much as the Suns need 3-and-D wings, they could also use a third option at center to give them a change of pace from Nurkic and Drew Eubanks.

Drummond may be 30 years old now, but his $3.4 million salary would be an easy addition to any roster, and depending on how the Bulls approach the trade deadline, he’s a guy that could easily get lost in the shuffle.

Then again, maybe the Suns just need him on the opposing bench to give them life:

Dario Saric

Suns trades

Speaking of revivals, how about The Homie and what he’s doing down by the Bay? And before any Suns fans shrug off the idea of a reunion, Saric’s numbers with the Golden State Warriors deserve a look.

In just 20.9 minutes, Saric is putting up 10.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, all while shooting 48 percent from the field and 39.6 percent from deep. Last season in Phoenix and OKC, Saric shot 39.1 percent from beyond the arc, so it’s clear the 3-point touch is back.

Does Saric address the Suns’ biggest needs on the wing? Of course not. But he could give Frank Vogel a more reliable option at backup center behind Nurkic than Eubanks, and if the Warriors start shipping guys out at the trade deadline, maybe there’s a way Phoenix could sneak in there and bring The Homie’s $2 million expiring contract back.

As Kevin Garnett told us many years ago, anything is possible. That’s especially true when it comes to the NBA trade market.

However, some of these popular Suns trade ideas probably aren’t happening. We did our best to work out a sensible deal for both teams in each scenario, but as you’ll see from reading on, there are obvious reasons why they all seem doomed to fail in real life.

Clint Capela

We’ve covered this before, and there’s probably some alternate universe where the Suns drafted Luka Doncic in 2018 and then signed Clint Capela in free agency right after. But no matter how long you’ve been wondering about Capela’s potential fit in Phoenix, it’s probably not going to come to fruition anytime soon.

As we mentioned earlier, the Suns like what Nurkic has given them on both ends and probably won’t be pulling the plug on him, especially when they’d be going back to a more limited offensive big like Capela. He’s an effective rim roller and a better shot-blocker, but he’s also limited as a passer in the short roll and as an offensive hub at the elbows, which is where Nurk shines alongside the Big 3.

Furthermore, the Atlanta Hawks would have to be down really bad to sell off Capela and Saddiq Bey for Nurk, Little and four second-rounders. Their season would have to plummet over these next few weeks to get to this point, and even then, it feels unlikely. The Hawks have their center of the future, Onyeka Okongwu, waiting to seize that role, but for now, this team is still trying to compete for a play-in spot.

De’Andre Hunter

De’Andre Hunter is close to a best-case scenario in terms of wing upgrades for the Suns. However, it’d cost them Grayson Allen, along with three more players and a pair of second-round picks. It’s reasonable to wonder if Phoenix is better off just keeping their lights-out shooter who’s rapidly becoming a crucial part of their best lineup.

There’s no question Hunter fits the 3-and-D mold. He’s averaging 14.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, shooting 46 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent from 3-point range. At 6-foot-8 and 221 pounds, he’s a good positional defender, even if he doesn’t get a ton of deflections or steals. He hasn’t been immune to Hawks trade rumors, and his $20 million salary isn’t terrible, both in terms of keeping him or making additional trades down the line.

But would Phoenix be better off just keeping their 50-40-90 sniper, re-signing him in the offseason, and looking for a less costly wing option on the trade market in the meantime? There’s a good argument to be made there, especially since the Suns would have to include two vet minimum guys just to match salary. Wesley Matthews would be included just to ensure the Suns aren’t making a four-for-one trade, but the Hunter upgrade on the wing might not be significant enough to justify this kind of move.

And from the Hawks’ perspective, is that enough value for Hunter? Allen has been the NBA leader in 3-point percentage, but there’s no question playing alongside the Big 3 has boosted those numbers. Would Atlanta hold him in the same kind of high regard that Phoenix currently does? It’s debatable, and Allen’s status as an unrestricted free agent this summer would compound matters for a Hawks team that’s bogged down in salary cap woes.

Nic Claxton

Suns trades

Despite how off-the-rails the Brooklyn Nets’ season has gone, Nic Claxton is still a great, young big who will probably make a few All-Defensive teams before his time in the league is done. The Nets would be out of their minds to sell low on him.

Any deal revolving around Jusuf Nurkic is a downgrade for the Nets at center, at least in terms of their timeline. Any deal revolving around Grayson Allen leaves the Suns with two starting-caliber centers, and it leaves the Nets with a hole at center and a shooter who could bolt in free agency this summer.

This is the closest we could get to a trade that almost makes sense, and even then, it’d make zero sense for Brooklyn. For now, Claxton will remain a name that makes sense for the Suns on paper, but one they have no reasonable path to attaining.

Tyus Jones

Suns trades

Tyus Jones is probably the best-case scenario for the “Suns need a point guard!” crowd. But as bad as the Washington Wizards are, and as much as Phoenix has already fleeced them on one trade within the last calendar year, don’t count on it happening a second time.

For starters, the Wizards had no leverage with the Bradley Beal trade. In this case, they have all of the leverage, knowing that multiple teams around the league see Jones as either one of the NBA’s best backup point guards, or a young, starting-caliber floor general. He’s putting up a career-best 12.6 points and 6.0 assists per game on .510/.421/.750 shooting splits, and his $14 million contract is very team-friendly.

However, even with Jones being an expiring contract who could leave D.C. in free agency, the Wizards won’t sell low on him, and the Suns have no first-round picks to offer. According to HoopsHype, that’s the bar Washington is setting for a Jones trade, and Jones reportedly wants a starting spot — and the money that comes along with it — wherever he ends up in free agency.

The Suns need a backup point guard, and while Jones is obviously the top possible candidate, they don’t need a starting floor general. If that’s what Jones wants, and the Suns don’t have the draft capital to make a better offer anyway, we can effectively rule this out — especially since they’re not getting to Jones’ $14 million salary without including Allen.

Daniel Gafford

Suns trades

Gafford would be another great, young look at center, but again: The Suns aren’t pulling the plug on Nurkic unless they’re getting a definitive upgrade for right now. The 25-year-old Gafford has shown plenty of promise, averaging 10.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game on 68.5 percent shooting, but solid numbers on a nine-win team don’t necessarily translate to a team trying to contend right now.

Furthermore, the Wizards would need a substantial return to sell on one of their few young players with potential. Getting to Gafford’s $12.4 million salary isn’t impossible, but it would almost certainly require either Nurkic (why would the Wizards do that?), or Allen — plus either Little or two vet minimum deals — to make the math work (why would the Suns do that?).

Gafford is someone to keep an eye on down the road, but right now, the fit makes little sense for either side.

Herb Jones

Suns trades

Action Network’s Matt Moore recently speculated the New Orleans Pelicans might be open to moving Herb Jones for the right price as they prepare for the contract crunch that comes with paying him and Trey Murphy III. But The New York Times’ Marc Stein shut down that idea on Monday, reporting the Pelicans have no interest in moving Jones.

Even if the Pels were interested, the Suns wouldn’t have the assets to pull such a trade off. Jones would be an absolute best-case scenario to plug on the wing next to the Big 3 for the foreseeable future, and getting to his $12 million salary wouldn’t be too difficult. But in terms of draft compensation? New Orleans would want more than a capable shooter like Allen, a vet minimum guy, and a bunch of second-rounders.

We regret even allowing you to dream for that brief moment in time, but it needed to be addressed.

Harrison Barnes

Suns trades

Another long-tenured member on Suns fans’ wish lists, Barnes has taken a step back in the pecking order for the Sacramento Kings, averaging 10.6 points in his 29.1 minutes per game. However, he’s still efficient as ever, shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from deep.

At 31 years old, Barnes’ best defensive days are behind him, but he can still compete on that end. At 6-foot-8, he’s well-suited to either log minutes as a 3, play small-ball 4 or even man the 2 in super-sized lineups. That kind of positional versatility and willingness to take a backseat would make him an ideal fit next to the Big 3 — especially with another two years and $37 million on his deal to give the Suns some flexibility moving forward.

However, it’d cost Allen, Little and a vet minimum guy (Bol Bol, in this case) to get the job done. Is going from a better and younger player (Allen) to a slightly worse player at a position of need (Barnes) really the right move? Throwing in JaVale McGee rounds things out and makes Bol’s departure slightly more tenable, but ultimately this feels like a move just to make a move, and Sacramento might not feel the need for this type of deal just to get a Kevin Huerter upgrade.

Draymond Green

Suns trades

Draymond Green makes $22.3 million this season, so the only way the Suns are getting there is by including Nurk’s $16.9 million contract (which would save them the awkwardness of being on the same team after the smack heard ’round the Valley). That renders this deal moot right off the bat.

This type of trade would represent a drastic departure from the Suns’ roster construction, abandoning a true center to go with small-ball looks where Green and Durant man the 5. They’re capable of doing it for stretches, as they showed with the Golden State Warriors during their heyday, but could they do it full-time? That’s a big ask given their age, injury mileage and surrounding personnel.

Green would allow the Suns to play similarly to how they do with Nurkic, since Green is an underrated playmaker in the short roll. But he comes with his own set of problems, and for all his defensive intellect and versatility, Green has been unreliable this season. Plus, the Warriors would have little need for Nurk even if they opted to totally blow things up and hit the reset button.

A weird, fun idea, but it would never happen in real life.

Dorian Finney-Smith

Finney-Smith is a solid two-way player who can plug up a number of positions defensively. He’s shooting 38.6 percent from 3 this season and is a career 36 percent shooter from deep.

With that being said, as much as Finney-Smith would be an ideal wing fit in the Valley, giving up Grayson Allen and Nassir Little for him would be foolish. The Nets reportedly want multiple first-rounders for DFS, and paying that price in actual players should be a nonstarter for Phoenix.

Marcus Smart

Suns trades

Marcus Smart is out for another month with a severe right ring finger injury, Ja Morant is done for the season, and the Memphis Grizzlies are basically cooked in the West. But even if their season is over, that doesn’t mean they have to blow things up.

Looking at their cap sheet, the only player who will be a free agent this summer is Xavier Tillman. Yes, it’s a lost year, but that doesn’t mean the Grizz will strip the roster down and sell it off for spare parts.

As a recent Defensive Player of the Year, Smart would be a terrific addition for the Suns on that end. But he won’t be back on the court until late February at the earliest, and giving up arguably the best shooter in the league for one of the worst (31.3 percent on 6.7 attempts per game) is a tough look.

Larry Nance Jr.

Suns trades

Nance’s 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game may not seem like much, but he’s a staple in the New Orleans Pelicans’ rotation, and his impact — particularly on the defensive end — extends beyond the stat sheet. The Pels don’t really have a reason for moving him just to move him, unless a first-round pick or capable rotation player was dangled in front of their faces.

This package of Little, Watanabe, Bol and two second-rounders…is not that. Nance would be a terrific small-ball 5 in Phoenix for Vogel to deploy, his $10.4 million salary is team-friendly, and another year on the books worth $11.2 million certainly doesn’t hurt either. But the Pels have zero incentive to make this kind of move.

Jakob Poeltl

Suns trades

We’ve been hammering the Jakob Poeltl drum for years now, but the Toronto Raptors have basically zero center depth, and as we’ve mentioned ad nauseam, the Suns aren’t dumping Nurkic unless they get slapped in the face with an upgrade at center that they can’t refuse.

Poeltl remains an underrated 5 in this league, but he’s nowhere near a definitive upgrade with all the advantages Nurk brings offensively. Poeltl’s $19.5 million salary — plus another 2-3 years at that exact same price tag — is a much deeper investment than Phoenix currently has made in Nurkic.

Phoenix is simply not Poeltl enough for the Poeltl Club.

Realistic targets

Finally, we get to the sweet spot: Potentially attainable players, on middle-tier salaries, who might actually help!

T.J. McConnell

Suns trades

Okay, so maybe not that attainable. McConnell felt much more expendable at the beginning of the season, when he was hardly getting minutes behind Tyrese Haliburton and Andrew Nembhard. But since then, and especially since Haliburton’s injury, he’s reminded the Indiana Pacers how nice it is to have such a capable third-string floor general.

McConnell is only averaging 7.9 points and 5.4 assists per game, but he’s doing it in 16.7 minutes a night, all while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor. His 1-for-16 shooting from 3-point range is comically bad, but McConnell is a fan favorite for his gritty defense, hustle plays and general basketball know-how.

On an $8.7 million salary, he’d normally feel pretty attainable…except the Pacers have much less incentive to move him these days. The Suns have expressed interest in McConnell in the past, but Little, Bol and a pair of second-rounders isn’t enough, and Grayson Allen would be too much.

Goga Bitadze/Chuma Okeke

Suns trades

We’ve already covered a straight-up Goga Bitadze trade in the past, so let’s spice it up in our second edition here. Everything we said last time still holds true: Bitadze looked great filling in for an injured Wendell Carter Jr., but now that Carter’s healthy, Bitadze isn’t getting as many minutes behind him and Moritz Wagner.

Bitadze is still only 24 years old, he’s averaged 6.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game on 61.5 percent shooting this season, and his $2 million salary could be absorbed into one of the Suns’ trade exceptions. But if second-rounders and Yuta Watanabe — to help improve the Orlando Magic’s 29th-ranked 3-point efficiency — isn’t enough, how about adding in two wings to even the score?

Orlando would get Little, who’s still only 23 years old, fits their developmental timeline and is under team control for the foreseeable future. He’s a significantly better player than Chuma Okeke at this point.

For the Suns, they’re getting their hands on a capable third-string (or backup) center in Bitadze. Okeke would basically just be a flier and probably wouldn’t fill a spot in the rotation, but this is one avenue worth considering if Little’s trade market winds up feeling drier than expected.

Saddiq Bey

Suns trades

Bey is tied with Dejounte Murray for the most games played by any Hawks player this season, and he’s third in minutes per game, trailing only Murray and Trae Young. Atlanta clearly values what he brings to the table on both ends, even if he’s only shooting 31.1 percent from long range.

With that being said, the 24-year-old wing will become a restricted free agent this summer, and even if the Hawks wound up only paying for his qualifying offer ($13.7 million), they’d still wind up in the luxury tax. As a team that’s seven games below .500, is this roster really worth that type of expense?

If Atlanta decides to strip things down with a fire sale, Bey is an attractive two-way wing who might benefit from the wide-0pen 3s he’d enjoy in Phoenix. He’s a starting-caliber player who could either come off the bench or replace Allen in the starting five, depending on what Vogel wanted to do.

Unfortunately, as much as his $4.5 million expiring salary would fit within a trade exception, the Suns aren’t getting off that easy. It’d take more than a pair of second-round picks to acquire Bey, and more than likely, Phoenix would be outbid by another suitor.

In this case, it’s whatever vet minimum guy Atlanta prefers between Watanabe, Bol or KBD. If the Hawks randomly decided they wanted Little, that’s more than doable (though it’d make little sense to go from Bey’s expiring deal to a guy with multiple years left on his contract like Little).

Royce O’Neale

Suns trades

The Suns need wing help, and after falling eight games below .500, the Nets feel like a team that’s poised to make some changes at the trade deadline. On a $9.5 million expiring contract, Royce O’Neale may be the most expendable piece of the group, and for Phoenix, he’s probably the most attainable option too.

O’Neale is putting up 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season. His shooting numbers have dipped to 37.3 percent overall and 35.2 percent from 3, but since his time with the Utah Jazz, he’s established himself in that recognizable 3-and-D mold.

Is this enough value for the Nets? Brooklyn would probably try to hold out for a first-rounder, but the truth is, it’s hard to see a team going that far for the 30-year-old veteran. Little is a young player with some potential who’s under team control for the next few years, plus the Nets would get a fan favorite back in Watanabe, as well as a new fan favorite in Bol, who would have to be included to match salaries.

The Suns also throw in a pair of second-rounders to sweeten the pot, while the Nets send back Trendon Watford to make sure Phoenix isn’t giving up three rostered players for one — reuniting Portland’s former frontcourt in the process.

Dennis Schroder

Suns trades

The Suns could use a backup point guard, and Schroder is averaging a steady 13.9 points and 6.3 assists per game on .451/.359/.858 shooting splits as the starter in Toronto.

Schroder is a great theoretical fit, since he’s an underrated point guard with starting experience who could fill a void as the Suns’ backup floor general. The problem is how the Suns reach his $12.4 million salary without including Grayson Allen, who would be a drastic overpay in a deal like this.

If Allen is off-limits here (which he should be), looping in a third team would be Phoenix’s best bet without having to sacrifice Little and three additional vet minimum guys just to add one guy.

Nick Richards

Suns trades

We’ve covered Nick Richards before as a potential buy-low, third-string center who’s more of a traditional rim-roller. His athleticism would help open things up from the interior with his dives, and he’s holding opponents to 4.6 percent worse shooting at the rim on the other end.

Last time, we had the Suns offering up multiple second-round picks to absorb Richards into one of their trade exceptions, but that might not be enough. Richards is on a team-friendly deal that will pay him $5 million this year, next year and the following year (with zero guaranteed money in the final season). That’s the exact type of contract the Charlotte Hornets should prioritize unless they get offered something good.

Nassir Little’s team-friendly contract might need to be that something, on top of a second-round pick. If the Hornets aren’t interested, maybe the expiring deals of Watanabe or Bates-Diop would be more attractive?

A source has confirmed to PHNX Sports that the Suns are interested in Richards…as well as Miles Bridges. That’s an entirely different, entirely unpleasant conversation that’s not worth broaching unless those talks gain more serious traction. For now, we’ll mention Richards as a solid option for Phoenix’s third center spot and leave it at that.

Alec Burks/Monte Morris

Suns trades

Over Monty Williams’ dead body!

In all seriousness, the Detroit Pistons have won four games all season. Williams is highly unlikely to be okay with shipping off either of his two veteran guards, but the truth is, he’s not exactly on firm enough ground to be calling the shots at this point anyway.

Alec Burks would be the more immediate boon in Phoenix, averaging 12.6 points per game while shooting 40 percent from 3. He’s on an expiring $10.5 million contract, so maybe Detroit could be swayed by tapping into their fear that Burks will leave in free agency this summer for nothing.

However, despite not playing a single game this season, Morris might be the more attractive option. He’s better-suited to fill the gaping hole in Phoenix’s rotation at backup point guard, and it was just last season that he averaged 10.3 points and 5.3 assists per game on .480/.382/.831 shooting splits.

Morris is a career 39.2 percent shooter from long range, he’s four years younger than Burks, and he’s a more natural ball-handler and offensive organizer. He’ll need to be eased back into action coming off that quad injury, but Morris is getting close to returning and he’s on an expiring $9.8 million deal. Allen is off-limits, but even in this 3-for-1 deal, the Suns aren’t giving up anyone currently in their rotation.

Kenrich Williams

Suns trades

We’ve covered Kenny Hustle many times before, and the inherent problem remains true here: Little and a couple of second-rounders isn’t bad value, but why would the Oklahoma City Thunder trade one versatile wing on a $6.1 million salary for another versatile wing on a $6.3 million salary? Especially when the one on the higher salary is unfamiliar with their system?

OKC is rolling right now, and heaven knows they have enough first- and second-round draft picks to last a lifetime. Williams would be a nice fit in Phoenix, but even if the Suns stacked on the second-rounders, the Thunder have little reason to bite.

Delon Wright

Suns trades

Tyus Jones may be out of reach, but Delon Wright feels like a fairly realistic, gettable alternative on an $8.2 million expiring deal. Obviously he’s nowhere near as good, averaging 4.9 points and 3.1 assists in his 17.0 minutes per game, all while shooting a subpar 37.6 percent from the floor and 36.7 percent from long range.

But he’s a decent combo guard on both ends, and he might be worth taking a flier on if the Suns have lost faith in Jordan Goodwin logging meaningful playoff minutes. It’d cost them Little and Bol, at which point it’s reasonable to wonder if Phoenix is better off standing pat than making an uninspired move.

We won’t pretend to have all the answers, but if the Suns want a backup 1, Wright certainly isn’t a wrong answer.

Jae’Sean Tate

Suns trades

Truthfully, it’s hard to tell these days which of the Rockets’ wings are part of their core going forward and which are expendable. If the Suns can get in on Jae’Sean Tate, they should consider kicking the tires.

Tate has seen his minutes drop in Houston in each of the last three seasons, to the point where he’s now averaging 4.7 points and 3.5 rebounds in 18.6 minutes per game. He’s shot 47.7 percent overall, but made only 29.5 percent of his 3s.

The 28-year-old Tate was once seen as a promising piece of Houston’s rebuild, but now it feels like the undersized forward could be on his way out. His $6.5 million salary is manageable, as is his $7.1 million team option for next season. Still, Little is probably the safer bet, so unless the Suns are really convinced that Little can’t contribute on this team (which they shouldn’t be), this might be an overreach.

Jeff Green

Suns trades

It’d be fun to reunite former teammates like Durant and Uncle Jeff, who’s coming off a championship run with the Denver Nuggets last season. Green has only managed 16.3 minutes a night in Houston, but he’s played in 40 games for the Rockets, chipping in 6.6 points per game while shooting 52.1 percent overall.

His 3-ball hasn’t exactly been falling (32 percent), but Green is a capable small-ball weapon that teams have been utilizing for years. On a $9.6 million contract, with a $9.6 million team option for next season, Green just misses the cut-off point, salary-wise, for a package revolving around Little and one vet minimum guy.

Because the Suns would have to throw in a third player to make the financials work, the Rockets include Reggie Bullock as a gesture of goodwill. That would normally cost Phoenix a second-rounder, but since Little has the highest trade value in the deal, this one evens out.

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