The Kyrie Irving trade mills continues to churn and the Phoenix Suns continue to be linked as a potential trade partner, either landing Irving or helping facilitate a trade as a 3rd team.
The linking of the Suns makes sense, I wrote about it when news of Irving’s availability broke, but it doesn’t meant that Phoenix should abandon their super-youth movement to acquire an NBA elite player.
Analysts, experts and social media have been discussing the scenario ever since and it seems centered around Suns’ guard Eric Bledsoe as a main trade piece.
I have no problem with Bledsoe being shipped off to Cleveland in this deal, but much more than that and the Suns risk coming out on the very short end of the stick.
It’s likely that any deal for Irving would include the likes of Bledsoe and veteran Tyson Chandler but the Cavaliers are interested in more than that.
We have all heard the chatter about Cleveland’s interest in rookie Josh Jackson, the 4th overall pick in the draft, and the response coming out of Phoenix is that Jackson won’t be a part of any deal, at all.
I like the sentiment but Phoenix must also be weary of over-paying for what is essentially 2-years of Kyrie Irving.
Keeping the core of Devin Booker, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and now Josh Jackson should be your priority, one that wouldn’t change unless a LeBron James or Kevin Durant type player is walking through the door, which he isn’t.
But dealing the likes of Bledsoe, who is working out with LeBron James and newly-signed Cavs guard Derrick Rose in Las Vegas, is the Suns best and should be their only shot at landing Irving.
Much above and beyond that becomes borderline irrational, despite Irving’s elite status.
Throwing in the likes of Tyson Chandler helps sweeten the deal and the Suns may also need to throw in a draft pick or two to get the deal done, but adding the likes of a Josh Jackson, a Chriss and even a Bender puts the Suns on the losing side of the equation.
I ask myself if my position would change if Irving had Phoenix on his list of preferred teams and/or he would re-sign with the Suns long-term if he did indeed land with the team?
Despite this question, I keep reminding myself that Irving’s style of play takes the ball out of Booker’s hands more often than not, that Irving is a “score-first” point guard and despite how clutch he is and regardless of his elite status I can’t convince myself that the addition of Irving makes the Suns a bonafide powerhouse in the West.
And that should give the Suns pause when at the negotiating table. It should also cut off trade talks at Bledsoe, Chandler and draft picks.
If the Suns aren’t reaching the NBA Finals or competing for the Western Conference crowns with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, than they need to stay the course and avoid any moves that dramatically shift them off course.
To their credit, the Suns have reportedly refused to include Jackson in any deal and have told him as much, but the NBA is a business and talent such as Irving, who would likely avoid a visit to Phoenix in favor of a larger market or better team in free agency, doesn’t come along every day.
The Suns need to tread carefully and it seems that the stars are aligning for Bledsoe to play alongside James in Cleveland, or elsewhere eventually.
But Phoenix doesn’t need to pay a king’s ransom to help them do just that.