With the trade of Bradley Beal to the Suns let’s talk about who they should now target in this offseason to round out the starting lineup. This is a team with a clear strong starting four of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, and Deandre Ayton, and not much else. They also have essentially nothing left in draft capital to trade.
This was a trade I think you had to do both as Washington and Phoenix. It’s one of the few trades that seems to make sense to both sides. If you are a Washington fan it’s one that should have taken place years ago, and if you are a Phoenix fan, the time is now after going all in on Durant. He and Booker are one of the best if not the best duo in the NBA. Adding Beal gives them a legit big 3.
With the no-trade clause, Beal could name his place and that dictated a lot of the return. It’s also a pretty rough contract for a fairly overrated player in our opinion. That said I’d still rather have Beal than Chris Paul at 30 million, Landry Shamet, and a platter of 2nd rounders. I see the negatives, but what was the alternative? I think the best-case scenario is they could have found a deal similar to the Lakers with a DeAngelo Russell, Malik Beasley, and/or Jared Vanderbilt package for Chris Paul and 2nd’s. Is that really any better though?
The reporting suggests the Suns will try to bring back all their reserves from last year and over pay them in case they can package them for something bigger. How they will make that happen with only one 2nd round pick I don’t know, but the minimum-type guys on their roster aren’t bad players, so they should bring them back. It’s really just the extra money and with a new owner he seems to want to spend now so that’s fine.
Torrey Craig is the obvious first crack at the job. He’s started 60 games last regular season and 5 games in the playoffs and is a decent role player. Without a true starting PG though like Chris Paul the fear is you may need more ball handling in the new set-up. If he’s not starting that would push likely Booker to Small Forward which isn’t ideal on defense. Craig is likely the best defensive option.
Cam Payne is a pretty underrated back up point guard. He can take some of the ball handling pressures off of Booker and Beal, but he’s more of a liability on defense. He’s better as a 6th man type in our opinion.
It’s possible they could bring T.J. Warren back as the SF/PF beside of Durant. He would give them a little more ball skills than Craig but he really hasn’t been good since his foot injury. He’s also really bad on defense for a team that desperately needs defensive help.
Goodwin is a young player they clearly liked to bring back with Beal. He would be a good fit in theory as a bigger PG who could defend. He could be good, but it’s probably to soon to expect him to have a starting or closing role on a contender.
Free Agent Market
What the Suns could use most I believe is a player type of Pat Beverly. Someone that will defend and can provide some supplementary ball handling and spot up shooting. Pat Beverly is someone I would try to get at the minimum contracts they have to offer, but that likely will have a little more options and money on the table. Perhaps the contender, starting role, and good location would be enough. If I couldn’t get Beverly, Cory Joseph would be another option in a similar mold. This three point shooting has ticked up in recent years both in volume and percentage.
Jevon Carter would be the most ideal as a former college defensive player of the year who checks all the boxes, but I expect he declines his option and gets better money. Milwaukee would try to outbid on him just to keep him from Phoenix as well. If I couldn’t come up with any of those George Hill would be the last target. At 37 years old he’s not what he was, but if he could be preserved in the regular season by the the playoffs his experience and role could still be helpful and is a fit as a last ditch guy The other realistic bargain bin options likely aren’t as good as Payne or Craig though.
Corey Joseph is who I believe is the most realistic as the best fit as a more defensive-minded role player. That’s who I would target and try to push Payne to sixth man and Craig off the bench. That could be a pretty solid bench with Landel relative to the resources you have to build it.
This is the real team I would try to target.