Phoenix Suns Trade Deadline Preview: Who Will Get Traded And How?

Feb 4, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) reacts to a call made during the game against the Houston Rockets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 4, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris (11) reacts to a call made during the game against the Houston Rockets at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns
Jan 31, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler (4) argues a call during the first half of the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Suns at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Tyson Chandler

Why The Suns Trade Him:

It’s ironic that between Knight and Chandler, the Suns may be looking to trade their two biggest free agency signings from last summer…but here we are. After inking the 15-year veteran to a four-year, $52 million contract last summer, the Suns have been disappointed to see Chandler’s production drop off to 5.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game this season.

Chandler has regained some of his explosion following an early season hamstring injury, but with three more years left on this 33-year-old’s contract, the Suns would be better off moving that deadweight and turning the starting center spot over to Alex Len.

Potential Obstacles:

Chandler is 33 years old, he’s owed $39 million over the next three years and his production has fallen off a cliff after posting 10.3 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season in Dallas.

We could just end this with “enough said,” but even with the NBA’s salary cap skyrocketing, only teams that are desperate for an interior rim protector would pursue him, hoping that he’s not washed up.

Teams That Might Be Interested:

Boston Celtics:

The Boston Celtics get rid of David Lee‘s expiring contract and surrender a future first round draft pick, but they acquire the rim protector they need to launch the NBA’s second ranked defense into another stratosphere. Chandler’s long-term deal is problematic, so this will never happen, but general manager Danny Ainge is better suited to surrender a future first than most.

The Suns would get Chandler’s massive deal off the books, could let Lee walk this summer in free agency (or even re-sign him to a fair deal, depending on what happens with Keef, Teletovic and Leuer), and would pocket another future first-rounder.

Chicago Bulls:

The Chicago Bulls probably don’t want to re-sign Joakim Noah this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency, and there’s no guarantee Pau Gasol will re-sign once he opts out either. This provides some insurance and gives the Bulls the kind of hard-nosed rim protector they’ve come to love over the course of the Tom Thibodeau era.

The Suns could let Noah walk in free agency or re-sign him at a moderate price given his injury history, basking in the happy glow of getting Chandler’s contract off the books. But Chandler’s age, injury history and long-term deal would probably make this a no-go for Chicago, even for a front office that will want to remain competitive next year.

Houston Rockets:

If the Houston Rockets are going to blow it up — and given their disappointing season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some major changes made — Dwight Howard is on the block. The Suns may not want to deal with re-signing D-12 this summer, but if McDonough believes him to be superstar this franchise needs, Tyson Chandler, Markieff Morris and a future first-rounder is not a terrible ransom.

The Rockets would get help in the frontcourt until Clint Capela is fully ready, they’d pocket a future first-rounder and they’d avoid overpaying for a 30-year-old center this summer. But the Suns would be better off committing to their developing youth movement and the Rockets might be dissuaded by Chandler’s long-term salary.

New Orleans Pelicans:

The Pelicans would only entertain this idea if they were able to move Omer Asik‘s albatross of a contract somewhere else, but Chandler would provide Anthony Davis with a guiding hand on the defensive end here, while also allowing the Pelicans to get rid of the final year of salary for Tyreke Evans.

Evans would do little for the Suns and their crowded backcourt, but that’s a small price to pay for getting Chandler’s deal off the books. Unfortunately, the Pelicans would probably demand draft compensation of some sort in a deal like this, and there’s a fat chance they’d be able to move Asik’s contract too.

Next: P.J. Tucker