Lon Babby has recently said that the Suns must start to build through the draft. And with half the teams in the first round willing to trade their picks -- and some of those willing to sell them outright -- the Phoenix Suns HAVE to take the bull by the horns and buy a second draft pick.
The Suns need to get younger. The more youth they add, the better.
Trading up from 13 might not be in the cards. To move up takes more than money. The Suns don't have player assets that other teams really want right now, or that the Suns are willing to part with. And the Suns can't take on money until a week AFTER the draft.
But the Suns do have $3 million in cash burning a hole in their pocket. Each team can include up to $3 million in cash this summer in trades (total, not per transaction).
They need to use that $3 million to buy another draft pick. Why settle for Waiters (or Rivers) if you could have Waiters AND Perry Jones? Or Rivers AND John Henson? Or Jeremy Lamb AND Quincy Miller/Arnett Moultrie/Fab Melo,etc?
Let me explain how far $3 million in cash can take the Suns this June.
See this comment by cap guru Larry Coon yesterday in a chat:
"The only things that count against team salary are player salaries (and cap holds, which are there to reserve space for anticipated future player salaries). A trade of cash for a draft pick is a $0 for $0 transaction from a salary cap perspective.
I can easily see teams selling lower picks this year, but there are some competing issues. On one hand, with the looming increases in luxury tax penalties, teams might not want to commit guaranteed money to questionable players. This will encourage teams to sell picks, but maybe discourage teams from buying them. The other factor is that the cash-in-trade limit is now $3 million per year, rather than $3 million per trade. Combine all these factors, and I think we will continue to see draft picks being sold, but the prices will be lower."
Usually, teams use cash to make a trade work under the salary cap. Well, that's only necessary when both teams are over the cap. The Suns, as of July 1, are way under. So cash is immaterial. That makes the $3 million completely available for the purchase of draft picks.
Well, who's selling? Just about half the league at this point.
Note Larry's comment again:
I can easily see teams selling lower picks this year, but there are some competing issues. On one hand, with the looming increases in luxury tax penalties, teams might not want to commit guaranteed money to questionable players. This will encourage teams to sell picks, but maybe discourage teams from buying them.
With a roster full of middle-talented, middle-aged players, the Suns WANT youth on long contracts. That makes them a buyer.
The other factor is that the cash-in-trade limit is now $3 million per year, rather than $3 million per trade. Combine all these factors, and I think we will continue to see draft picks being sold, but the prices will be lower.
Sounds to me like the Suns can easily outbid their competition, if it comes down to cash.
In the past, when teams could include $3 million per transaction, the Suns sold their mid-20s picks for $3 million each, back when Sarver wanted to spend that money on salary and lux tax.
This time, the tables can be turned.
And this draft is deep. There are few all-stars, but the depth of real NBA players is there. Talent in the early 20s is comparable to last year's teens and even this year's teens. Talent in the late teens is comparable to the 8th pick onward. There is talent to be had.
And the Suns NEED to take advantage. If the Suns don't come out of this draft with 2 new talents with upside for the price of a few greenbacks, then they will regret it.
With the 13th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns drafted Markieff Morris, a power forward from Kansas. Morris had an up and down rookie season, but he looks to be a solid player and part of the team's rotation moving forward
Is it possible that history could repeat itself this year, and the Suns could again select a power forward with the 13th pick in the draft?
At first glance, taking another power forward doesn't make much sense for the Suns. Taking another power forward could stunt Morris' growth. Also under contract at the four are Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick. There isn't much room for someone new there.
Suns general manager Lance Blanks has also said that the Suns are very impressed with the wings in this class, and the Suns certainly need young talent at the two and three. A shooting guard in particular seems to make the most sense for the Suns.
But that doesn't mean the Suns aren't at least considering a big man at 13.This year's lottery is very deep at the power forward forward position, with as many as seven power forwards projected as possible lottery selections. However, with possible lottery promises to shooting guard prospects Dion Waiters and Austin Rivers and the rise of center Meyers Leonard, there is a good chance one or more of these power forwards will slide to the Suns at 13.
Knowing this, the Suns are doing their due diligence and bringing in some of these talented forwards, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.
Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, Arnette Moultrie and John Henson will work out against each other tomorrow in Phoenix (#13 pick).— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 15, 2012
Three of these names are guys we have already taken a look at as possible draft selections for the Suns. Jim Coughenour broke down Kentucky's Terrence Jones, East Bay Ray took a look at Baylor's Perry Jones III and 7footer wrote about North Carolina's John Henson. Moultrie is an athletic rebounder from Mississippi State who is projected to go in the 15-20 range. All are long and athletic, and each has their strengths. It should be an interesting workout (too bad the media won't have any access to it).
What do you think Bright Siders? Are the Suns eying another power forward at 13? Or are they just making sure they get all of their bases covered? Which of these players would you like to see on the Suns the most?
It appears as if Givony may not have been entirely correct. Here's a Tweet from Paul Coro talking about the workout:
#Suns held a big workout in size & scope today. John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Meyers Leonard, Arnett Moultrie, Perry Jones & Jared Sullinger.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 16, 2012
So no Terrence Jones, but Zeller, Leonard and Sullinger also attended.
**EDITOR'S NOTE ... PART 2*
Further clarification by Coro regarding today's workout:
A tweak to the previous tweet. Vandy SF Jeffery Taylor participated in the #Suns workout today, not Ohio State PF Jared Sullinger.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 16, 2012
To recap, today's big-laden #Suns workout gang was John Henson, Tyler Zeller, Meyers Leonard, Arnett Moultrie, Perry Jones & Jeffery Taylor.— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) June 16, 2012