Center of the Sun: Will the Phoenix Suns play to win in the Kyrie Irving Sweepstakes?

Welcome to the weekly news roundup of your Phoenix Suns.

If you are a Phoenix Suns fan one thing you can’t seem to escape whenever the team is mentioned is trade talk regarding whether to pull the trigger on bringing Kyrie Irving to the Valley… or at least get involved in a three-team trade with Cleveland that would get the Suns other assets. The main outgoing piece for the Suns is Eric Bledsoe no matter which trade scenario is discussed but beyond that opinions on who and what else could/should be included vary.

All reports are that the Cavaliers want a big haul in return for Irving and that they are willing to make a deal with the Suns. The Suns don’t like their asking price though (including Josh Jackson as part of the trade), so now we must wait and see which team blinks first and just how much the Suns value Irving.

So while we all wait, what else was I going to ask the Fantable about this week?

Now on to the questions and their answers.

1. What is the absolute most that you would give up in a two team trade with the Cavaliers where Eric Bledsoe and Kyrie Irving are the main players involved in the trade?

GuarGuar: The absolute most I would give up is Bledsoe, Chandler, TJ, and the 2018 Miami pick for Kyrie and Frye. Kyrie is only a 2 year rental in a lot of people’s eyes so there is no need to give up any part of our young core (unless you count TJ in that). Maybe I give a top 10 protected Suns pick too but that would be really pushing it. We saw what Paul George and DMC got, so why would Kyrie’s value be so different?

Sun-Arc: I’m not SUPER high on Kyrie. Would I want him here? Yeah, but not enthusiastically because of the fit next to Booker. I’d say… Eric Bled and up to two first round picks (nothing that isn’t top 5 protected) and a couple of second round picks would be what I’d like to suggest. I’d throw in Chandler (another LBJ buddy) or Dudley (kind of perfect for them as a bench player) if necessary. If you think that isn’t enough, read the excellent fanpost by Lee4 to see why I am not dying to get Kyrie. I do think he’s a really dynamic player, though. And I think trading Bled for him is not a bad move, even if it is only for 2 years.

SDKyle: My preferred deal would be Eric Bledsoe and the Miami first round pick for Kyrie Irving. That’s really about what I think Irving is worth. But in more direct answer to your question, the most I could possibly stomach offering is Bledsoe, our own first, and TJ Warren. And that’s really pushing it for me.

SouthernSun: The best package I would send to the Cavs for Irving would be either:

Bledsoe, Bender or Chriss, 2018 Miami 1st

Or

Bledsoe, TJ, 2018 Suns 1st, rights to swap 1st round picks in 2020.

Is that a lot? Yes, either of those would be a whole lot to give up. Would I prefer the Suns get a better deal? Yes. I would.

I am totally against involving Booker or Jackson. I consider them both cornerstones of this franchise. Bender and Chriss aren’t quite on that level, so I’d probably involve one of them if necessary. Same goes for TJ.

2. Another trade idea that has been frequently discussed is a three team trade between the Suns, Cavs and Knicks that would involve multiple players moving between the teams with Bledsoe going to Cleveland, Irving going to NY and the Suns getting Frank Ntilikina (plus other players and future draft picks being included). Ntilikina alone obviously isn’t enough to get in return for Bledsoe (plus the Suns would need to take back much more salary to make the trade work) so what other assets could the Suns get in return to make this trade acceptable to you?

GuarGuar: I like Frank Ntilikina a lot. However, I am skeptical about his offensive fit with Booker. A lineup of Frank, Booker, JJ, Chriss, Chandler (assuming he starts) would be absolutely awful for spacing. It would force Booker to do way too much and could hinder his development. Frank fits in very nice defensively though alongside Book. I would prefer to keep Bled for the time being over Frank. But I wouldn’t be mad at all if we made a trade that netted us Ntilikina and a future first. Ntilikina’s jumper over time will develop so in the future he could be great.

Sun-Arc: Complicated. Ntilikina is an intriguing prospect, but a huge gamble. And I can’t see him (at 18 years old and super raw) playing in front of Ulis. With those two as our PG rotation… whoo boy are we in for a rough season. If (a big IF) he works out, we possibly have a franchise PG. But, being that it is a gamble, we will need more. I’d want a Knicks’ first rounder, top 5 protected is ok. The hard part is what do we take back. Frye has been thrown around in our conversations on this deal, and I’d love that. He’s expiring. Lance Thomas has been mentioned, and might be someone the Knicks are willing to part with to get rid of Melo. Maybe. He’s a career 41% 3pt shooter, which would be helpful. And his contract isn’t horrible.

People have also mentioned Tristan Thompson. I like him as a player. But is he our answer at center for $17.4m/year for three more seasons? Maybe – but only if Chandler is outbound. And, really, you would have to pray you can trade Knight at some point otherwise this will get in the way of some important extensions. So I’m leaning no on taking his contract on. But I also think the Cavs, I mean Lebron, doesn’t want him traded.

Who’s contract is horrible and worth the risk of Frank not working out? Noah – $55.6m/3yrs. No. Tim Hardaway JR – $70.1m/4yrs. No. Courtney Lee – $36m/3yrs. No.

So, Frank and Lance Thomas? Throw in a pick and I’m in, particularly if I’m giving one or two out. Otherwise… probably not. It would be nice to send Bled to go play with Lebron. It’d make him happy and I’d like to see him smile more.

SDKyle: I’m semi-interested in Hernangomez. He’s a very good rebounder (7 per game in 18 minutes as a rookie last season) and still has a little room to grow into himself as a starting center option for the Suns. And he fits #TheTimeline, or something.

SouthernSun: Obviously the asset we would most like to see come back along with Frank is the 2018 Knicks 1st. However, without major protections, we wouldn’t be getting that along with Frank. Perhaps a future Knicks or Cavs 1st, as well as the young big man Hernangomez.

Suns receive – Ntlikina, Hernangomez, Frye, future Knicks 1st

Cavs receive – Bledsoe, Melo, Chandler

Knicks receive – Irving, Thompson

3. Which of these trades would you prefer the Suns to make and why?

GuarGuar: I’m very neutral on all 3 scenarios. Each has pros and cons:

Kyrie- Pros: Offensive superstar and Kyrie/Book could be amazing offensive backcourt. Cons: 2 year rental (most likely), awful defender (isn’t good pair next to Book).

Frank- Pros: Young and fits with #TheTimeline, Good defender and prospect. Cons: Unknown talent and a big risk, questionable shooter.

Bled- Pros: Good fit next to Book, knows the system, All-Star talent, fan favorite. Cons: Contract expiring soon, doesn’t fit #TheTimeline, wants to win now.

I am fine with any of these scenarios if the trades are for the right price. Any trade can look bad if we give up too much and hopefully that would not be the case.

Sun-Arc: If the deal is right I’m good with either trade. I would prefer Kyrie, I think. Frank fits the timeline to a degree, but there is a chance he won’t ever pan out and if that happened we’d feel like idiots for getting nothing for Bled at the height of his value. It’d at least be fun to see Kyrie play with these guys for two seasons.

SDKyle: I’d prefer a two-team trade at a reasonable price, but if the Cavs are going to insist on including both next year’s picks on top of Warren and Bledsoe, or otherwise play extreme hardball, then I’d prefer the Knicks deal.

That said, I’m completely fine making neither. Even as a guy who doesn’t much want Kyrie, I can still admit it would be exciting to bring in a guy with his track record. But I really think McD’s plan works equally well without acquiring him. At this point I’m at peace regardless.

SouthernSun: I’m not keen on the idea of trading Bledsoe for Ntlikina, but I suppose if the above package were available for him and Chandler, I’d be able to stomach it. However, the trade I’d most like to see is one for Irving. This seems like the perfect opportunity to trade Bledsoe for a young all star point guard.

The trade I’d most like to see (that’s reasonable for both sides) is this:

Suns receive – Irving, Frye

Cavs receive – Bledsoe, TJ, Miami 2018 1st

If this deal is set up, then go and attempt to snatch up UFA Shabazz Muhammad on a reasonable deal as a TJ replacement, have the Cavs wait to conclude this deal until we’ve had a chance to renounce our rights to Len and sign Shabazz and go into next season with this lineup:

Irving/Ulis/James

Booker/Reed

Jackson/Shabazz/DJJ

Chriss/Bender/Dudley

Chandler/Frye/Williams

I would prefer this trade happen because I believe a backcourt of Irving and Booker would be absolutely deadly. Would they give up a lot of points to opposing backcourts? Sure, but very few opposing backcourts would actually be able to outscore them. Also, the rest of the young core of this team are perfect for a backcourt like Irving and Booker. Jackson, Bender, and Chriss were all drafted in large part because of their substantial defensive potential. If they become close to what we expect them to, then they should be able to adequately cover up for the porous defense in the backcourt. Passing is another issue brought up frequently, but again, 2 of the 3 players I just mentioned happen to also be extremely gifted passers for their positions. Both Bender and Jackson can play a little point forward. Both make smart passes and will help make up for Irving and Booker being gunslingers.

Some are wondering what if Irving leaves in 2 years. Isn’t that when Bledsoe is scheduled to? How many of you want to bring Bled back on another contract at 29? I would, but I know most of you wouldn’t. Let’s roll the dice and try to convince Irving to stay. Let’s hope Booker, Jackson, Chriss, and Bender impress in that first 2 years, and he becomes a part of the family atmosphere Watson has established.

It actually seems like a match made in heaven. Everything seems to fit perfectly. Irving wants out. Their leverage is less than what it was on draft day when the Suns and Cavs apparently had discussions about him. The Cavs would really like a decent replacement for Irving, and the Suns have one of the best ones on the market. Bledsoe and LeBron are boys. Bledsoe is represented by LeBron’s agent. The Suns fan base is starved for a star.

Would Kyrie solve all the Suns problems? Of course not. But he’s a start. If the Suns can get him for Bledsoe, TJ, and the Miami pick, they need to get it done.

Once again many thanks to our Fantable… GuarGuar, Sun-Arc, SDKyle and SouthernSun!

Eric Bledsoe 2016-2017 Season Highlights

Quote of the Week

Tyler Ulis Update

“McDonough said Ulis, who underwent ankle surgery in mid-May, should be fully healthy for training camp. He said Ulis, who has added 10 pounds, is expected to be cleared to participate in five-on-five drills sometime in August.” (Source: Scott Bordow/AZCentral)

News & Notes

Latest On Kyrie Irving, Suns. Hoops Rumors

Suns’ Derrick Jones Jr. has won the Drive By Dunk Challenge. Arizona Sports

Phoenix Suns’ Alan Williams appreciates new 3-year contract. Scott Bordow/AZCentral

Cavaliers would accept Suns trade offer featuring Josh Jackson. 247 Sports

Next summer could be the wrong time to be an NBA free agent. Tim MacMahon and Bobby Marks/ESPN

The Craziest Almost-Trades in History. Basketball Insiders

Suns History in Video

Paul Westphal scores 25 Points and gets 10 assists vs Seattle (1979)

Suns Trivia

Paul Westphal ranks 8th in the list of all-time leading scorers for the Suns with 9,564 points. He ranks 7th in assists (2,429), 6th in steals (753), and 27th in blocks (157). In his six seasons with the Suns Paul averaged playing in 77.5% games per season and is 14th in the total number of games played as a Sun. He was a three-time All-Star for the Suns (1977, 1978 & 1979), made the All-NBA First Team three times (1976-77, 1978-79 & 1979-80) and the All-NBA Second Team once (1977-78).

Westphal played for the Suns during their first NBA Finals appearance (1976 vs Boston) and was the head coach for the Suns in their second Finals appearance (1993 vs Chicago).

Statistics courtesy of Land of Basketball.com.

Previewing the Weeks/Months Ahead

August 31 – Last day teams may waive players and apply the stretch provision to their 2017/18 salaries.

September 5 – Deadline to sign second-round draft picks (picks become free agents if not given a required tender)

Late September (specific dates TBA) — Training camps open.

October 17 – Day One of the 2017-18 NBA Season!

Last Week’s Poll Results

The question was, “What is you opinion of Earl Watson as the Suns head coach?” The results were:

35% – I like him. He should be given at least a couple of years to grow with the team.

37% – I’m on the fence about him. He needs to improve his coaching this season.

28% – He’s a good motivator but I don’t think he’s the long term answer as the Suns head coach.

There were a total of 239 votes cast.

This week’s poll is…

Poll

Is including Josh Jackson in a trade for Kyrie Irving a ‘deal breaker’ to you?

  • 90%

    Yes.

    (10 votes)

  • 9%

    No.

    (1 vote)

  • 0%

    It depends on what else it would take to seal the deal.

    (0 votes)



11 votes total

Vote Now

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