Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Report: Suns expected to be ‘very aggressive’ on trade market between now and draft night

© Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have not kept their rights to a single draft pick since owner Mat Ishbia took over, and that appears it could continue to be the case this year.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

The Suns will be picking 22nd overall in a draft that has been heralded as one of the worst in a long time. On the day of the first round of the draft (June 26), the Suns are able to trade both the No. 22 pick as well as their 2031 first-round pick, but not before then.

The Athletic NBA insider Shams Charania reported on “The Pat McAfee Show” yesterday that the Suns will be “very aggressive” on the trade market between now and then.

“Just to clear things up, they have two first-round picks that they can trade on draft night,” Charania said. “I think there is this perception out there that they don’t have assets, that they can’t make moves right now. But they do have some salaries that are easily tradeable. They have a guy like Nassir Little who you can throw in a deal, and they have two first-round picks on draft night, so I think they will be very, very aggressive between now and draft night.”

As Charania points out, there is a misconception that the Suns won’t be drafting for a long time, but not only do they own these two first-round picks, Phoenix will also still have a first-round pick in 2026, 2028 and 2030 as well due to all of these being pick swaps, but could be in a bad position with those if they finish in the lottery and have to give up a good pick. The only second-round pick they own right now is a 2028 pick from the Boston Celtics (protected 31-45).

Ishbia gave up the rest of the team’s draft capital in various trades. These most notably include sending out four first-round picks in the Kevin Durant trade and four future first-round pick swaps, as well as six future second-round picks for Bradley Beal.

Charania’s report should come as no surprise, as Ishbia sounded very uncommitted to both this year’s pick and the 2031 pick at his end-of-season availability two weeks ago.

“If fans like to look in the future and say, ‘Hey, I really like that 2031 draft pick, because maybe that seventh-grader is gonna be really good and we’re gonna draft them and one day he’s gonna be a player,’ you ain’t going to like the Phoenix Suns,” Ishbia said. “Because we’re gonna say, ‘Draft picks are to get great players.’”

In terms of Little, he is set to make $6.75 million on the second year of his four-year rookie extension next season, per Spotrac. The 24-year-old, 6-foot-6 wing only played in 45 games in his first season in Phoenix, not seeing much meaningful minutes since December.

Little, who was to be packaged in deals around the trade deadline, by himself might not command much, and the Suns could choose to just salary dump him somewhere, as they have the highest projected payroll in the NBA next season at $209 million.

However, if they attach Little to the first-round pick, that could potentially fetch a good return.

Trade Limitations

The Suns will be operating over the second-tax apron next season, which is projected to be $190 million.

In this threshold, Phoenix is unable to sign free agents outside of the Suns to anything other than veteran minimum contracts. In terms of trades, the Suns will not be able to take in more salary than they send out, include cash in deals, aggregate contracts or use a preexisting trade exception.

Coming off a first-round sweep to the Minnesota Timberwolves, this is not the level of flexibility is not ideal for Phoenix.

Per Spotrac, Durant will be making $51.2 million next season with an additional year on his contract after that, Bradley Beal will be earning $50.2 million on the third year of a five-year deal and Devin Booker is set to make an estimated $49.4 million on the second season of a four-year extension. Additionally, Jusuf Nurkić is locked up for two more seasons after this one and will earn $18.1 million next year. Grayson Allen will be on the first season of a four-year, $70 million extension signed three weeks ago.

Beal’s no-trade clause carried over from when the Suns acquired him from the Washington Wizards, so he has the power to veto any trade.

Outside of Little not in the starting lineup, David Roddy is owed $2.9 million on the third of a four-year rookie deal next year (not much more than a veteran minimum contract).

The Suns have Royce O’Neale’s bird rights if they want to sign him to a contact extension, while Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie, Drew Eubanks and Damion Lee also all have player options to extend their veteran minimum deals to next season.

As mentioned before, Phoenix cannot combine any of these salaries to trade for a player.

With all this said, unless the Suns want to blow it all up, Little and the first-round pick (or both) have always looked like a good option to try to get a win-now player without giving up a meaningful part of the rotation.

Who mock drafts have the Suns taking after the lottery

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information, exclusive content, and access to our seasonal magazines! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

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

More in Phoenix Suns