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Suns can become West favorites with aggressive trade deadline after LeBron injury

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There should be a long list of Phoenix Suns trade targets already. The injury to LeBron James should have pushed the Suns towards aggressive NBA trade deadline moves.

Currently second in the Western Conference, things are falling into place for Phoenix. The Lakers are without their two stars. The Clippers are struggling. Denver has yet to go on a run. Utah is 4-5 over their last nine.

Phoenix Suns trade targets: Time to be aggressive

The Suns, meanwhile, are 11-4 across their previous 15. Their injury report is clean. Chris Paul and Devin Booker have developed a blossoming on-court relationship. Mikal Bridges is among the league’s best defensive players. They aren’t turning it over, and they’re top five in offense and defense. Phoenix has all the makings of a title contender as the trade deadline approaches.

There’s a balance to be struck. The Suns have waited so long to return to the postseason – it would be reckless to go all-in on this campaign with so much young talent on the roster. In the same breath, though, the Suns trade targets list should be aggressive. Chances at a title are rare, and there’s no doubt there is an opening for these Suns. Trading for Paul was a win-now move. They have the opportunity to do just that.


Phoenix have already made a notable addition. Torrey Craig was underutilized by Milwaukee. The Suns swept in to take Craig off the hands of the Bucks in the P.J. Tucker trade. That’s a start for the Suns, and adds another switchable, plus-defender on the wings, but it should not be their only move.

Phoenix’s hands are tied to a degree. They only have one tradeable first-round pick, and only a handful of players on their roster will be available. Which players could be among the Suns trade targets ahead of the deadline?

Suns trade deadline options

A pure backup five is a priority. Dario Saric has done a stellar job behind Deandre Ayton, but the former Sixer is not a viable matchup against Nikola Jokic or maybe even Rudy Gobert. Foul trouble for Ayton could be a postseason headache if Saric is the backup five. Monty Williams would benefit from another option at center.

Hassan Whiteside could be a big-bodied fit. Maybe JaVale McGee would make sense if the Cleveland Cavaliers choose to trade him. Andre Drummond will likely end up in New York or Los Angeles, but he’d be useful in Arizona, too.

Crowder, Bridges, Cameron Johnson and Craig can cover the forward spots. There’s some guard depth behind Paul and Booker. As with most teams playing as well as the Suns, there aren’t glaring weaknesses. Size, though, could prove to be the priority at the trade deadline.


Trevor Ariza has gone to Miami. Tucker is in Wisconsin. The Suns already have Crowder. Veteran three-and-D wing/forwards are always in high demand, and there’s only a handful left on the market. Phoenix doesn’t have enough to trade for Aaron Gordon. The same goes for Larry Nance Jr.

The Kings are apparently not interested in trading Harrison Barnes, and even if they were, the Suns cannot put together enough salary without including a key man. Barnes would be an awesome fit, though.

A player like George Hill would give a nice boost to the bench. The bidding will be intense for Hill, however, and the Suns might pursue lower-cost alternatives.

Phoenix isn’t in a position to make a massive trade. The success of this roster doesn’t suggest they need to, but they should be aggressive pursuing any player that can help them down the stretch and into the postseason. They could yet be Western Conference favorites by the time the playoffs start.

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