The Phoenix Suns are going to nowhere quickly, and hopefully the Suns front-office will work their behinds off to change that for the sake of the franchise and Planet Orange. According to a report by ESPN’s insider Chris Broussard report that the top three Phoenix Suns players that other teams are mostly interested in are Markieff Morris, Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat. Here’s what Broussard wrote in his article earlier today:
“Phoenix is also among the most active teams in terms of talk. In addition to speaking with the Knicks about a possible Jared Dudley-for-Iman Shumpert trade (that deal is not happening, sources tell me), the Suns have spoken with Utah about Al Jefferson. Those talks haven’t gained much traction, though. Clubs calling the Suns have been mostly interested in Dudley, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris.”
It’s not a complete surprise that teams are interested in Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Dudley is one of the better shooters in the NBA, and his basketball IQ along with his toughness could be of good value to any team. From my understanding, the Suns are hesitant to trade Dudley unless they are going to get solid value in return because Dudley’s role on the Suns extends beyond the hardwood into the lock room and ultimately into the Phoenix community.
Gortat has been used as trade-bait by the Suns front-office all season long however serious trade discussions involving Gortat has yet to materialize. Gortat has two-years left on his contract counting this season, and he’s set to make 7.2 million this season and 7.7 next season. Given his production since his arrival in Phoenix, his contract is as reasonable as any in the NBA aside from the rookie contracts. Like I mentioned earlier, Gortat’s value is as high as it will ever going to be. If the Suns ultimately decide to hold on to him for now but decides to move him on draft day or over the summer, they will without a doubt get less assets in return.
Markieff Morris was somewhat of a surprising name to hear but not completely. According to multiple sources, no player on the Phoenix Suns roster is untouchable; well except Luis Scola due to the fact that he was an amnesty claim. The Kansas product is in his second-year in the NBA but unfortunately Morris has shown little improvement from his rookie season. In fact his numbers are nearly identical, except he shot the three-ball better in his rookie season. The sell point for Morris right now is his shooting range and rebounding ability; a rare combination of abilities for an NBA big-man. Given Morris’ age and versatility, he’s likely the Suns second most valuable trade chip behind Gortat.
The Suns plan for the future remains shrouded in a thick fog. I’m uncertain about what the Suns are trying to do, the media sources are uncertain about what the Suns trying to do and quite frankly it looks like the Suns themselves are uncertain of what they want to do.
ESPN’s Chad Ford during his weekly Sports Nation chat yesterday was asked by a fan “Why do you think the Suns might be interested in Al Jefferson? Is he really a better fit than Gortat?” And Ford had this to say:
“I have no idea what the Suns are doing. Some days I’m not sure they know either. Funny team that seems caught in purgatory between trying to win now and rebuild. Jefferson is a good player, but doubt he’s the long-term answer. I know Phoenix doesn’t want to hear this, but they should be blowing this one up … getting young talent, high draft picks, etc. The other way is just going to prolong the suffering.”
With the trade-deadline is approximately a week away, expect at least one or two moves from the Suns. I am in full favor of the Suns taking the approach that the Dallas Cowboys took after the Tom Landry era. Make big trades, get draft picks, draft good players, develop those players, and build around those players. That approach has worked for the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL, and it has worked for the San Antonio Spurs as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA.
Phoenix is not Los Angeles, it is not New York, and it is not Miami, which means most big-name free agents won’t have Phoenix atop their desired destinations list come July. The Suns caught lighting in a bottle with Steve Nash in 2004 when Nash went from being an all-star caliber player in Dallas to becoming an MVP caliber player in Phoenix at the age of 30. The Suns front-office has a lot of figuring out to do, and they need to do it QUICKLY!