The NBA offseason hasn’t even fully begun, but the Phoenix Suns still managed to be the first contender to strike. The Bradley Beal trade included Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and four second-round picks being sent to the Washington Wizards in exchange for a three-time NBA all-star.
That brazen deal comes as the new collective bargaining agreement, which is meant to severely punish teams that go deep into the luxury tax, begins to kick in. The Suns didn’t apparently care; instead, they went all-in to build the best team that money and draft picks could get them.
They, of course, drafted Devin Booker back in 2015, but only recently acquired Kevin Durant in a deal that saw them send out four first-round picks. Now they have a star-studded roster that features four players under maximum contract, including Deandre Ayton, but virtually no draft picks.
Phoenix has no margin for error.
According to NBA writer Sean Deveney, the Suns won’t own their draft pick until the year 2031 thanks to the Durant and Beal trades. While that doesn’t mean that they won’t have any selections since they are required to have a first-round pick in every other draft, pick swaps mean that another team will have the final say in where they select.
That is incredibly risky for any team, particularly one where arguably their best player, Durant, is 34 while Beal is 31. Fortunately, Booker is only 26 but will be 34 by the time the Suns can draft using their own picks. If, for some reason, this new big three doesn’t pan out, then both Durant and Beal probably won’t get anywhere near the value Phoenix gave up to acquire them.
Without any backup options, the Suns face added pressure to win now or risk another potentially decade-long playoff drought. Even with that added pressure, they still have three top-tier scorers and a newly-hired championship coach in Frank Vogel. That gives them a potentially high floor and, if all goes right, a championship ceiling.