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
Feb 6, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward P.J. Tucker (17) looks on from the court against the Utah Jazz at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Jazz won 98 – 89. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports /

P.J. Tucker

Why The Suns Trade Him:

If anyone deserves to be a Phoenix Sun for life among this team’s on-the-block assets, it’s the perennially loyal and hardworking P.J. Tucker. But his 3-and-D services make him an attractive asset for other teams (36 percent three-point shooting over his last three years in Phoenix), as does his versatility to defend multiple positions.

The Suns need to cash in on as many assets as possible, and with Tucker’s $5.3 million salary being non-guaranteed for next season, Phoenix should do right by him and send him to a less depressing situation.

Potential Obstacles:

Tucker’s $5.5 million salary is not terribly difficult to move, but McDonough’s asking price for Keef is reportedly pretty high — a young, talented player and a first round draft pick — so teams might not be willing to pony up for whatever McD wants for Tucker.

Tucker is a great, hardworking player that any team would enjoy on their roster, but if McD is looking for a future first-rounder and a decent player in return, that may complicate trade talks.

Teams That Might Be Interested:

Atlanta Hawks:

This only happens if the Atlanta Hawks remain committed to competing this year and either hold on to Jeff Teague and Al Horford or somehow manage to trade them for superior parts. But if that’s the case, P.J. Tucker adds a potentially superior 3-and-D prospect to the wing for the low price of two easily movable players and a future first-rounder.

The Suns wouldn’t do much with Mike Scott or Lamar Patterson, but snagging a first round draft pick for Tucker would be a solid move for McD — especially since that pick would be coming from a team that could look very different next year, thereby making it more valuable if the Hawks take a turn for the worse.

Chicago Bulls:

The Chicago Bulls would get Joakim Noah off the books, turning him and a pair of future first-rounders into Tucker’s 3-and-D skill set and Markieff Morris’ long-term bargain salary. Tucker fits a need on the wing and Morris helps fill in for the expendable, older Taj Gibson.

The Suns enjoy a future first-rounder for each of their movable forwards, and can either shed Joakim Noah’s salary or try to re-sign him to a more reasonable deal over the summer. Either way, adding two future firsts to McDonough’s pile of future draft selections would be a great score, even if Chicago resisted throwing a youngster like Tony Snell in there as well.

Cleveland Cavaliers:

In a one-for-one trade, the Cleveland Cavaliers get Tucker’s 3-and-D services to help them out in a seven-game series with the small-ball Warriors, giving up the fully expendable Timofey Mozgov. The Suns let Mozgov walk this summer in free agency and ideally pocket a first-rounder, which would hopefully be far enough into the distant future that the Cavs might not be as competitive by then.

Another possibility would be including Tucker in a blockbuster deal for Kevin Love, who has been on and off the trade block with every passing report. The Cavs may not be looking to trade him, but a Godfather-esque offer of Tucker, Keef, Teletovic and future draft picks would give them cause to at least think about it, right?

Love would be a tremendous building block in Phoenix, especially since he’s only 27 years old and signed on for the next four years. But he doesn’t really fit in with what’s looking like a long-term rebuilding process, and again, Cleveland may not be looking to move their starting stretch-4.

Orlando Magic:

The Orlando Magic are looking to unload Channing Frye, and the Suns shouldn’t be opposed to bringing back a fan favorite — especially since Markieff Morris, Mirza Teletovic and Jon Leuer may all be on the way out. Frye would be signed on through 2017-18 and Phoenix would enjoy the veteran presence and floor spacing he’d provide.

Orlando, meanwhile, would add a 3-and-D player to replace Tobias Harris in their quest for a playoff spot for a guy they’re looking to move anyway. But with the Clippers on the prowl, Phoenix would have to move fast to make this work.

Toronto Raptors:

The Toronto Raptors have reportedly been interested in trading for P.J. Tucker, and a package of James Johnson and Lucas Nogueira would make sense for a team not trying to give up any assets in the midst of their pursuit for an Eastern Conference Finals — and possibly an NBA Finals — appearance.

But this might not be enough for the Suns, even with Nogueira being a raw 23-year-old seven-footer. McDonough would push for draft compensation of some sort, while Toronto may resist even if they’re not being pressured into moving Patrick Patterson.

Oklahoma City Thunder:

The sooner the Oklahoma City Thunder acknowledge that Dion Waiters and his 40.1 field goal percentage are not the answer, the better. Dealing Waiters for a 3-and-D talent like Tucker would help bolster their bench and wing defense for a title run, while also avoiding the not-so-fun prospect of Waiters’ upcoming restricted free agency.

The Suns could let Waiters walk this summer and pocket another future draft pick, though OKC might resist giving up a future first-rounder for a player like Waiters, whom they actually view to be useful.

Sacramento Kings:

Eric Moreland or Seth Curry would need to be included to balance out the salaries, but if the Sacramento Kings are looking to help Ben McLemore land a trade, the Suns would probably be more than willing to oblige them. Would Tucker be enough to entice a team desperate to get back to the postseason?

This would borderline on cruelty to send Tucker from one dysfunctional organization to another, but at least he’d have an outside shot at making the playoffs. The Suns would add McLemore to their young and talented backcourt, fully maximizing Tucker’s trade value in terms of incoming talent.

Next: Markieff Morris