IT'S "D" DAY! The NBA Draft 2011 starts in the next 6 hours. No more than 1.5 hours after Kyrie Irving's name is called, we will hear something hard and true about the Suns.
Today is the last day of guaranteed Phoenix Suns news for... ever. I mean, one day some time in the future, the NBA will start up again. But that could be months, or even a year from now.
Today is it. It's the last day on which we have absolute 100% certainty there will be at least 1 transaction executed by the Suns' Front Office.
I'm sure Suns President Lon Babby and GM Lance Blanks, and even scouting director John Treloar, did not sleep well last night or maybe even in the last 2 months since their honeymoon of absolution from blame ended with the last Suns game of the 2010-2011 season. They didn't put that roster together, so they couldn't take any blame for the relatively-disastrous season known as 2010-2011.
But now? It's on Babby. And Blanks. And Treloar. The Suns are forced to execute a transaction tonight, whether they like it or not.
Hit the jump for more on the options and odds.
What will the Suns do? Let's look at the options.
Make a big trade to move into the top 4 of the Draft
Since Babby went on record yesterday to pull the Suns' only 2 top-of-draft-worthy trade chips off the market, this idea can be put to rest. Without going back on his word, Babby won't be writing the name of Derrick Williams, Kyrie Irving, Enes Kanter or Jonas Valanciunas on the Suns' draft card.
Chance of happening: 5%
Acquire another lottery pick, to take a top-half PG and PF
This has a little better chance of happening. Every team seems to be offering a starting or backup PG as the bait to land a top-10 pick in this draft. San Antonio has floated Parker. Portland is floating Andre Miller. Oklahoma City is even floating little Eric Maynor. They all want a specific player and are willing to give up a key rotation piece to get it. And then there's the teams with multiple #1s, wanting to parlay them into a lottery pick of their own. Of course, these teams are going to play poker all night, waiting to see if their player drops and then make the real offer at the lowest possible moment (ie. why offer player x and y for the 6th pick when you could offer just player x for the 9th?).
The Suns, on the other hand, are offering an inexpensive 7'1" 260lb 22-yr old Center (Robin Lopez) in exchange for a pick anywhere in the lottery. Sounds reasonable, right? It just may be. The Warriors turned down Lopez for the #11, but if other offers fail to materialize and their fave players are off the board, don't you think GS reconsiders?
Chance of happening: 10%
Trade the #13 and player(s) for another team's quality player(s) and/or picks
Suns have reportedly talked to Minnesota about trading them Lopez, Pietrus and #13 for Michael Beasley and #20. Likely the Suns could walk away with one of their faves - Shumpert, Markieff Morris or Kenneth Faried at #20 and go home happy.
Chance of happening: 20%
Keep the #13, draft the best remaining player on their board of faves, and go home
If all else fails, and the Suns don't connect with just the right team, just the right offer and just the right time, then likely they find themselves on the clock at 13 and will just draft whoever's left on their board.
My guess on order of faveness, considering only those who could be available:
Tristan Thompson - raw PF with great potential
Kemba Walker - leader, big-time scorer who could be overrated, and is dropping from top-5 lists as we speak
Bismack Biyombo - unknown, could be Wallace, could be pine-rider with 4 fouls every 4 minutes
Jimmer Fredette - who knows. Mark Price? Or Dan Dickau?
Markieff Morris - could be a Drew Gooden, or a nothing - not loved enough by BSotS to even garner a preview article
Iman Shumpert - is he the next DJ Strawberry? Or a new mold of 6'6" PG?
This order is just my guess. I'm also guessing that the Suns expect the first 4 to be gone, which is why they floated the Morris/Shumpert conundrum yesterday.
Chance of happening: 60%
Suns trade the #13 pick away for cash and/or marginal rotation players (ie. Eric Maynor)
Ugh. I really, really hope this doesn't happen. Could it? Sure. Will it?
Chance of happening: 5%
So there's my take on how the day could unfold. Let's hear YOUR thoughts.
So really.. this isn't much news - but the Suns officially started tying up some of the loose ends on their 'to do' list this off-season.
Seth breaks this down from Twitter.
The Suns also renegotiated the contract time-frame for Vince Carter. Originally the team had agreed to make a decision (Either pay him his due $18 Million and keep him for next season - or waive his contract and pay him his guaranteed $4 Million) on Carter's contract by June 30th, now the team has until the beginning of 2011-12 Free-Agency to do that... whenever that is. Here's more again from Seth and the mothership,
While the move certainly gives the Suns more flexibility in trade discussions -- having a slashable $18 million contract is always a good bargaining chip in today's cap-conscious NBA -- it is somewhat puzzling that Carter would agree to go down this route. It would seem that he incurs no benefits for this decision, as it only muddles and delays the eight-time All-Star's future plans. Though, who knows, this may just be a case of Carter being a good Samaritan and taking one for the team.
So will Vince's contract be traded for valuable assets? Are we just delaying the inevitable for reasons stated, to "avoid paying a big chunk of money" right now?? Does that make sense? Maybe it just means the Suns want to explore more options...
But what do we make of the offer to Aaron Brooks, is it a sign of things to come? Is it business as usual? Will the draft tonight reveal more about Aaron Brooks' future here in PHX, or will it tell more about that of Zabian Dowdell?
So many questions, but at least the Suns are starting to take care of business. Now about that draft... and what about that one guy Grant Hill...