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Frank Vogel content with what Suns have as trade deadline approaches

With the NBA trade deadline now less than a day away, Suns’ coach Frank Vogel has fielded questions about his stance on his team over the last couple of days.

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He has reiterated the same message: “We’re very confident in the group that we have.”

Arizona Sports’ John Gambadoro has reported that the Suns will stand pat at the deadline if they can’t find a player that will crack the top eight or nine players in their rotation. The exact time for the deadline is Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. MST.

“I’ve been with teams where we felt like we definitely weren’t good enough and had to do something to get better,” Vogel said. “We do not feel that way with this group. Obviously, there’s a lot of phone calls taking place. If there’s ways to improve our team, we’ll take advantage of that.”

What the Suns can trade out

The Suns don’t have much assets to give up. Outside of their starting five (who presumably would not be traded), only Nassir Little is not on a veteran minimum contract. Little signed a four-year, $28 million contract extension with the Blazers in October of 2022, which kicked in this season. He is making $6.25 million in the 2023-24 season with the figure increasing by $500,000 every year. At 23 years old, he has fallen way out of the Suns’ rotation but could be an appealing young prospect to teams.

Due to the limited money and the Suns being $22 million over the luxury tax, it is highly unlikely the Suns can make this big of a move at this season’s trade deadline. As Phoenix is operating over the second luxury tax apron, they can only take in 110% of a salary they are sending out.

The Suns also have four trade exceptions: a $6.5 million trade exception (from the Cam Payne trade), a $5 million trade exception (Dario Saric trade), a $1.8 million trade exception (Isaiah Todd trade) and a $1.1 million trade exception (Toumani Camara trade). These trade exceptions can be used to match a salary of an incoming player, but cannot be packaged together. They can be attached to a trade including a player or draft capital.

Phoenix also has a total of five second round picks to feature in trades: a 2024 second-rounder from the San Antonio Spurs (protected 31-54), a 2026 second-rounder (least favorable pick between the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic), a 2028 second-rounder from the Boston Celtics (protected 31-45), a 2028 second-rounder from the Memphis Grizzlies and 2029 second-rounder from the Grizzlies.

Miles Bridges

The biggest, and really only consistent, name tied to the Suns these last few weeks has been Miles Bridges.

Bridges signed a one-year qualifying offer with Charlotte in July worth $7.9 million, so ideally Phoenix could get a 20-point-per-game, 3-and-D wing without giving up much assets. Bridges also has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he can veto any trade he doesn’t like, just like what Bradley Beal has.

The latest report on Bridges is from a couple days ago per Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer:

“Phoenix continues to be mentioned as the leading suitor for Charlotte forward Miles Bridges, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Suns see Bridges, a Michigan State product, as a strong fit with their big three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. However, the Suns only have second-round draft capital to play with. And while Phoenix has indicated a willingness to add Josh Okogie into a package of Nassir Little and two second-round picks for Bridges, sources said, Charlotte remains hopeful it can generate a first-round pick in return for Bridges.

If not, Charlotte now has the upcoming cap space to re-sign Bridges, and getting the swingman on a multi-year deal would surely increase his trade value next season. The fact Bridges is playing this 2023-24 campaign on a one-year qualifying offer not only affords Bridges veto power in any trade, but dealing him elsewhere would squander Bridges’ Bird rights, preventing any team that acquired him before Thursday to re-sign him this summer if it is going to be over the salary cap on June 30. So there may even be stronger options for Charlotte to move Bridges as a sign-and-trade candidate this summer as well.”

Other names as of late include Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond.

Are the Suns really okay with whaat they have currently?

The Suns have finally been able to be healthy for the last 15+ games, so they can see what they have. After winning 11 of 14, Phoenix sits at sixth place in the Western Conference with a 30-21 record.

However, the Suns still possess one of the worst benches in the league, averaging just 27.7 points per game, the fewest amount in the NBA.

The Suns also have toughest strength of schedule to close out the regular season, according to Tankathon.

So do they need fine tuning or has this recent stretch shown that they are good enough? We will see what James Jones and Mat Ishbia decide in the coming hours.

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Brendan Mau is a senior writer covering the Phoenix Suns and more for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau


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