According to the report by a Huff Post Sports guy I've never heard of before, the San Antonio Spurs would trade for Marcin Gortat. The Suns would either get Boris Diaw or Tiago Splitter in a sign-and-trade. In either scenario, the Suns would reportedly get a 2014 first-round pick from the Spurs.

Here's the original source of this trade rumor:

Source: Spurs-Suns deal 4 Gortat would either be n a Splitter sign-and-trade or Diaw/filler. Suns get at least a 2014 1st rounder either way

— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 1, 2013

It's almost not worth discussing this in too much detail at this point since this is such a thinly sourced rumor. For my money, and this is just a quick gut reaction, Diaw's one remaining year and likely late first-rounder for Gortat is a bit light on the return. And I don't really see the need to invest in a longer-term deal for Splitter in a sign-and-trade.

So, my vote would be, no. I'd hang on to Gortat and wait for a bigger and better offer which I believe would come around the trade deadline. For the record, I don't actually have a vote.


Draft History/Talent Evaluation

In 2004 the Celtics had an impressive draft based on where they were selecting. Al Jefferson (15), Delonte West (24) and Tony Allen (25) all went on to successful NBA careers, while Justin Reed (40) did not. Since McDonough joined the team in 2003 it's hard to know how much impact his input had on these selections. Since he was credited with the Rajon Rondo pick in 2006 let's bypass the 2005 draft and start with 2006.

Check out a couple of Dave King's stories on this subject by clicking here or here.

1. Rajon Rondo (21)*

2. Gabe Pruitt (32)

3. Glen Davis (35)*

4. J.R. Giddens (30)

5. Semih Erden (60)

6. Lester Hudson (58)

7. Avery Bradley (19)

8. Luke Harangody (52)

9. JaJuan Johnson (27)*

10. E'Twaun Moore (55)

11. Jared Sullinger (21)

12. Fab Melo (22)

13. Kris Joseph (51)

*Players acquired in draft day trades.

Rondo was a spectacular pick.

Avery Bradley may be a solid starter.

Davis is a fringe starter on a bad team.

Moore may hang around as an NBA player.

The book is still out on Sullinger, Melo and Joseph, but only Sullinger showed much promise his rookie season.

The other seven picks were garbage.

Between #19-35 three of the Celtics six picks were solid.

The Celtics never drafted a player that stuck below #35.

The Celtics never picked higher than #19.

McDonough was part of one great success, a mixed bag of late firsts and seconds, and was never involved in drafting a lottery talent. I won't dismiss Rondo from the discussion, but is every GM that hit one pick a great talent evaluator? Because if the Rondo pick is considered an outlier the rest isn't very impressive.

Safety vs. Risk

McDonough's first lottery pick, and a relatively high one at #5, has been viewed by some critics as a "safe" pick. I aver that only picks inside the lottery can really be viewed as safe. The expectations past that point drop precipitously, alleviating much of the blame for a pick that goes awry (which is the rule, not the exception).

Lottery picks can be safe or risky. There is always chatter of high floor/low ceiling players in contrast to risk/reward prospects. My belief is that Alex Len was more of the former. Based on my own rampant, and likely fatuous, speculation players like Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore have more potential than Len. I would slot Len in a class with Otto Porter Jr. as guys who are likely to have solid careers, Len more solid than Porter, but are unlikely to make multiple all-star appearances.


It has been propounded by some that based on McDonough's background, track record, pedigree, glowing endorsements and the general buzz surrounding his hiring that the fans should put trust in his ability to make the right moves until he proves otherwise. My stance is that trust is something that is earned, not passed around frivolously.

I am cautiously optimistic that Ryan will continue his meteoric rise through the NBA ranks based on his consideration as a prodigy in the eyes of esteemed personnel across the league, but the truth remains that he is still a novice to this new role. When a new employee starts in my company I have a level of confidence based on his qualifications coming in, but his performance is scrutinized much more than established employees that I trust based on years of proving their ability.

I prefer the word rope over trust. At this point I'm willing to extend him enough to make a lasso or a noose.

Getting His Guy

Despite my leanings that the Suns went the safe route, they have touted Alex Len as their #1 overall BPA. While I have no reason to doubt their probity, I think it's "safe" to suggest that every team is going to speak favorably about the selections they make on draft night.

Four other teams that picked ahead of the Suns also felt they got "their guy." Who's wrong and who's right? Did Cleveland pick for need or was Anthony Bennett easily ahead of the pack? Is it possible that Victor Oladipo might have been #1 on the Suns' board? Usually a team picking that high wouldn't admit that the player they picked at #5 was fifth on their draft board... At the same time, there's no advantage in making wild claims that could invite more criticism down the road. Then again, we're coming off the epic failure of Lance Blanks, so there's that...

By trumpeting Len in this fashion the Suns left several windows to the future open.

1. The Suns chose to forego the sexy picks. Either McLemore or Noel would have probably been received with more accolades and fanfare. McLemore, especially, would have been more of an instant gratification pick as he plays a more exciting brand of basketball complete with high flying dunks. The Suns felt they made the correct big picture pick.

2. If any other player in the draft class turns out better than Len, which is very likely, they have given naysayers an opening to rebuke their selection since they have revealed the top of their board. If either Noel or McLemore, or both, proves to be a better pro the pick will look even more egregious.

3. If Len turns out to be the man they'll make the four teams ahead of them look inept and can strut around as the smartest team in the room (similar to the Celtics in 2006). The Suns have basically given the rest of the league a little bit of a Jared Dudley, "What's up!?"


The Suns went young. The Suns went with players who are unlikely to be game changers as rookies. Len isn't going to be the favorite of many pundits to win rookie of the year accolades. Both are unpolished, Goodwin moreso than Len, and will take time to grow into and embrace their new NBA roles.

We've been introduced to Babby's "dry powder" philosophy during his tenure here, and in line with that the newbies were desiccant picks. They fit splendidly into a long term rebuilding project. A plan that favors prudence to haste. A plan to rebuild the "right way."(Although I don't necessarily think that quick and right have to be mutually exclusive... of course that's just me).


By opening their team workouts and giving media more access to the proceedings the Suns actually managed to be more clandestine than the cloak and dagger nature of recent years. I never understood the policy of working out players behind closed doors and it appears that McDonough didn't either. Instead he chose to hide right in front of our faces.

The lack of predictability among whom the Suns were targeting should be lauded. Unlike last year, when I successfully predicted the Suns would choose Kendall Marshall (whom I didn't want the team to pick) despite the furtive nature of the team's activities leading into the draft, this year I was admittedly nonplused when Len's name was called. How many of you thought it would be him with Noel and McLemore still available?

I'm still of the belief that the Suns were high on Oladipo, but even after the draft I would be intrigued to find out exactly what the Suns board actually looked like... because I still have no idea. The ability of the team to be more open with their fans while still being able to keep their plans completely under wraps is refreshing.

Free Agency and the Future

1. Ryan has a track record of being at least a competent talent evaluator. Hopefully this will translate to success in this area. The first case study with the Suns is in progress.

2. I felt the Suns went the safe route with the #5 pick... and so did McDonough. If a team picks the player they had ranked #1 overall that probably seems a pretty safe proposition. It still remains unclear whether the team might be willing to gamble a lottery pick on a high ceiling player with issues. For instance, a guy that drops due to possible character concerns associated with a mother with a criminal record and an itinerant history related to schooling. In a league with very few guarantees, trepidation over a calculated gamble can be self-defeating.

3. McDonough has all the qualifications to succeed, but my trust in him will evolve on a merit based system. I'm sure Ryan would agree that it's something he needs to earn.

4. Ryan apparently has no problem with going after the players he covets completely independent of external influences. This is a collaborative effort between him and his staff.

5. Be patient. The Suns are going to be.

6. Expect the Suns to be an open book... inscribed with invisible ink. Or don't expect anything. The Suns have been anything but predictable since McDonough's hiring.

7. Based on McMiracle's obsession with preparedness there is at least some reason to be confident that the moves of today adumbrate favorably towards a return to prominence in the future... After all, luck favors the prepared.

In a free market, prices for commodities eventually come to a perfect equilibrium that maximizes the benefit to both customers and suppliers. But the NBA is far from a free market. Free markets don’t...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

What are the biggest needs of a 25-win Phoenix Suns team? Did they get increasingly better in the NBA Draft or are there more holes to fill?

With moderate cap space and some roster flexibility the Suns could be active this off-season with trades, signings, and everything in-between. The question then becomes is it more valuable to make moves this off-season that hurt the long-term rebuild for immediate gratification or to stay the course on this slow burn?

Sixth Topic: Five Questions on the 2013 Free-Agency

1. Breaking the Ice: Is there a free-agent that the Phoenix Suns should target above the rest?

Dave King: I am thinking the Suns should just find a shooter, someone who can come in and make 3s when the offense really needs it. Otherwise, just fill gaps behind whoever is traded away.

Jacob Padilla: Nobody in particular that I can think of, but there are plenty of players they should avoid. Stay away from Josh Smith, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson and the rest of the big name free agents. Signing a second or third option player is not going to help the Suns this year.

Jim Coughenour: The Suns could still use a shooting guard to compete for minutes with Shannon Brown and Malcolm Lee. I think they should go after Player X. Randy Foye (career .377 3P%) could be Player X. The Suns might be able to get him on a one year deal for about $2-3 million. Any kind of warm body would probably work, though. Or a cold one (have you seen Weekend at Bernie's?). Either way.

Kris Habbas: A young shooter that is cost efficient would be ideal. Someone like Anthony Morrow, Wayne Ellington, or Marco Belinelli could be flipped as assets around the trade deadline while an Andrew Goudelock could be a floor spacer to keep.

Richard Parker: None that I can think of. As mostly everyone has already said, we should just focus on rounding out our roster with a one year deal or two and head into the season prepared to lose a lot of games and enter the 2014 offseason with cap flexibility and youth. I like the idea of signing a shooter on a one year deal - someone like Martell Webster, Marco Bellinelli, or Wayne Ellington.

2. Should the team be overly aggressive in a year where there are not a lot of great options in free-agency?

JP: Absolutely not. Like I said, above, going after a big name this year is counterproductive. It's not going to improve the team enough to do anything but lower the Suns draft pick and it kills their cap space. Second tier players will get paid like stars and I want no part of that.

JC: I would be aggressive in exploring the market to move Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat for young talent. The team would still have a veteran presence in the locker room (Dragic, Dudley, Frye, Tucker) with these guys gone. I'd rather watch a different team win 25 games next season instead of last year's team plus Frye and Len. But... I wouldn't just give them away and before the trade deadline probably works too.

KH: Absolutely not. Sign a low cost shooter, sift through the undrafted free-agents and then call it a day. The current rotation needs development and adding veterans could hinder that process.

RP: Not at all. I think McDonough has already said this much, but we should focus on signing lower tier guys to one year deals once the tier 1 and tier 2 guys choose their destinations during the first couple weeks.

DK: Nope. Suns are still in transition. McDonough should be looking for trades, for Gortat at least. But then Gortat would just need to be replaced by someone else. But still, these guys wanted change and to bring back most of the lineup is nonsensical. A young player or two should be swapped for someone else's young player that brings a fresh attitude. Also, I still want Dudley traded simply to let him win games with someone, while the Suns get assets back.

3. Of all the positions, which one needs an upgrade the most? Explain.

JC: The Suns already took care of their biggest position of need when they canned Lance Blanks and brought in McMiracle. I would say shooting guard is still the extremity gushing the most blood, if we're deciding between limbs and only have one tourniquet. As previously mentioned, a guy like Foye could be a serviceable stop gap, but I'm really starting to lean towards Bernie Lomax.

KH: Shooting guard. Again, I would only look into the options for young, cost efficient shooters that will not be more that a stop-gap for this season. Archie Goodwin talks of playing the one, but he is naturally more of a two and that is where he will likely see the bulk of his minutes.

RP: We need shooting badly. I think shooting guard is where we need the most help. Even though we're bringing Shannon Brown back for another year, we still need someone who is efficient at knocking down open shots.

DK: Shooting, or rebounding. Signing a Kyle Korver or Chase Budinger is not a bad thing, to provide outside shooting, as long as they sign for low pay or short term.

JP: Shooting guard is clearly the weakest position on the court. Shannon Brown is the only pure shooting guard on the roster, and our second best option is Jared Dudley, a guy who's played the three his whole career. This is especially true if the Suns really want to play Archie Goodwin at the point.

4. The team has (roughly) 6.5 million in salary cap this summer... How should they spend that money?

KH: In some cases the best way to spend money is by not spending it at all... Over the years teams have made some of their biggest mistakes by spending money just because they have it. The roster has depth with the three rookies and the returning players from last season. No need to win an additional 3-5 games because of an unnecessary signing.

RP: Unless we're getting Dwight Howard or CP3, once again, they should just aim to sign one year deals to reach the salary floor. There's no reason to max out our salary cap on role players that won't lead us anywhere (except to a lower draft pick) - see summer 2010. Retaining financial flexibility and youth for 2014 should be the primary goal here.

JP: First of all, they should spend a little bit of that to guarantee Tucker's contract. For sentimental reasons I'd like to see Garrett stick around as well but it looks like he's not going to get any more of a shot than last year. The only possible addition I see making sense is a cheap shooting guard on a one-year deal. Somebody like Wayne Ellington, Roger Mason Jr. or Daequan Cook.

JC: Garrett's gone. I don't see the team carrying four point guards (Dragic, Marshall, Goodwin). Tucker should definitely be back. Phoenix should keep as far under the cap as they can to facilitate potential deals down the road. The Suns have managed to accomplish the dubious feat of putting together a 25 win team with very little cap space until next summer. Lomax is looking better and better.

DK: Keep it. Take on salary in a trade for a good asset, but that's all. Make trades, and then fill in behind. Maybe sign a cheap shooter or big-time rebounder.

5. Should the team enter next season as is (unless a trade presents itself) to develop their youth and continue to position themselves for the 2014 NBA Draft?

RP: Yes, for the most part. Like I've said, we should look to develop our young players and head into the 2014 offseason with as much cap room as we can get and a very high draft pick. However, we should also trade Gortat at some point this year, whether that be before the season begins or just before the trade deadline. We should also definitely trade Scola as soon as possible for a draft pick or a young player.

JP: I could potentially see the team signing a shooting guard like I mentioned, or perhaps picking up another UDFA to try out. But beyond that I don't see much change happening barring a trade. The Suns have already eclipsed both the salary cap floor and the minimum roster count, so they don't really need to add anybody.

JC: Did you say 2014 NBA Draft? Let's skip to that. Or we could look at Babby's killer P's - preparation, perseverance, poise, pride, performance. I would add patience, since this is no time to panic after all of the posturing just to get to this point. A measured, opportunistic approach that looks at the bigger picture is what the team has preached and should remain their modus operandi moving forward.

DK: Nope. Make trades. This same lineup cannot be happier next year than they were last year. They all, to a man, wanted big changes. I think that will happen.

KH: Absolutely. The team has depth at most positions as is and there is no need to mortgage the future for a few wins today.

BONUS: How can the Suns win free-agency, remain financially flexible, develop their youth, and position themselves for the 2014 NBA Draft?

JP: Don't blow cap space on a long term deal. Trade away Luis Scola. Perhaps find someone who can turn into a key role player moving forward a la Danny Green or P.J. Tucker. Outside of that, they should sit tight for now, work on getting Hornacek's system in place, develop the rookies and prepare to endure what's going to be another rough season.

JC: The Suns still need to get younger going into next season. I count AT LEAST eight players on the roster that are past a developmental stage. As things presently stand, on opening night the Suns will have more players 27 and older (6) than 23 and under (4)... the latter of which is the same number as opening night last season. This is still a roster with an identity crisis.

DK: By doing what I said above. Switch out some parts in trades, freshen up the attitude, bring in guys who hustle hard and work to play together instead of in spite of each other.

KH: Sign Goudelock as a shooter/floor spacer off of the bench and then give the lion's share of the minutes to Dragic, Goodwin, Tucker, and Len. Let them develop and see what they have for the future as the better "young" players on the roster.

RP: The Suns can have a "successful" year if they only sign one year deals to retain 2014 cap flexibility, trade Gortat and Scola at some point this year for draft picks and/or young talent, see significant development from their young players as the season progresses (Len, Goodwin, Morrises, Marshall), all while having one of the worst records in the league, if not the worst, to earn a top 3 draft pick next year. Then, we would be in position to draft a franchise star and still have significant cap space to use during next year's free agency.


Alex Len

The Suns' top overall draft pick is relatively new to Twitter judging by his 40 total tweets, but he's been tweeting up a storm since the commissioner called his name. Here's Alex chronicling his first couple days as a Sun:

Hello Phoenix! #GoSuns — Alex Len (@alexlen) June 28, 2013

Celebrating with @CoachTurgeon he has done a lot for me, honored to have him as a coach for 2 yrs @UMTerps! #GoSuns pic.twitter.com/JY5p9V3MWd

— Alex Len (@alexlen) June 28, 2013

He seems to be a fan of the #GoSuns hashtag. I like that one too.

Proud to be a Ukranian! Appreciate @borntotailor for putting together my #NBADraft suit! #GoSuns pic.twitter.com/tjb8qdnCCn

— Alex Len (@alexlen) June 28, 2013

I didn't catch this on draft night, but apparently he had a Ukrainian flag sewed on the inside of his suit. That's pretty awesome.

Wheels up to PHX! See you in a few hours Phoenix! #GoSuns pic.twitter.com/fUk3meJj7S

— Alex Len (@alexlen) June 28, 2013

Next stop for new @Sun @alexlen his new home @USAirwaysCenter. pic.twitter.com/VxBbQHzBJQ

— Tanya Wheeless (@TWheeless) June 28, 2013

Happy to be a part of the @Suns family! pic.twitter.com/4YLexuGL7M

— Alex Len (@alexlen) June 29, 2013

Great time last night meeting wonderful people & @Suns season ticket holders. Thank you Mr. Sarver for hosting us! pic.twitter.com/Kn1yYhJlRI

— Alex Len (@alexlen) June 29, 2013

I had a great 1st weekend in Phoenix thank you for an incredible welcome!! #GoSuns pic.twitter.com/9UDSnOZLxk

— Alex Len (@alexlen) July 1, 2013

Apparently not all bridges have been burned with Thunder Dan.

S/O to @DanMajerle, thanks for taking care of us tonight!

— Alex Len (@alexlen) July 1, 2013

Archie Goodwin

Just based on these few tweets, I get the impression that Archie's a hard worker and is excited to be a Sun.

Time to start this journey to the top. All the doubters about to see me in action

— Archie Goodwin (@A1Laflare10) June 28, 2013

Feels good to be apart of a new beginning RT @Suns: Welcome to your new home @a1Laflare10. #WelcomeArchie #SunsDraft http://t.co/QfRWVXMyDL

— Archie Goodwin (@A1Laflare10) June 28, 2013

I'm so proud of him. He deserves this! Thank you for being such a inspiration and good person to me. @A1Laflare10 🏀💙 pic.twitter.com/4VBLUuE7lh

— 10x (@Killa_MJ) June 29, 2013

First night in Phoenix as a sun and guess where I was? #gym http://t.co/PewN9HBFe3

— Archie Goodwin (@A1Laflare10) June 29, 2013

Sane here!RT @Suns: "@Goran_Dragic: @alexlen & @A1Laflare10 welcome to the @Suns family. Excited to play with you guys!!! Let's go #suns"

— Archie Goodwin (@A1Laflare10) July 1, 2013

Alex Oriakhi

Didn't get much sleep want to thank the @Suns for the opportunity.. Thank you all for the support!!

— Alex Oriakhi (@aoriakhi42) June 28, 2013

Another hard worker.

Spoke to Alex Oriaki around 2pm today "I'm on my way to the gym to workout the grind don't stop" he gets it congrats @aoriakhi42

— HoopDreamsMag.com (@HoopDreamsmag) June 28, 2013

He and Summer Suns invitee and Iowa State graduate Chris Babb apparently are bros. The chemistry should be great in Vegas sine a lot of these guys either know or have played together before.

@ChrisBabbII lets get it

— Alex Oriakhi (@aoriakhi42) June 28, 2013

This last one is for a certain Nigerian reader here on Bright Side. You know who you are (Rex).

@aoriakhi42 congrats on your draft bro!we support you here in nigeria.#naijaboy.

— Tobiloba Durojaiye (@Tobi_Dj) June 28, 2013

Obviously the Suns' two serial tweeters were going to weigh in on the draft as well.

Kendall Marshall

Kendall was obviously following along as the picks were being announced and welcomed each of the guys as they were drafted.

Welcome to PHX @alexlen! congrats

— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) June 28, 2013

Welcome to PHX @A1Laflare10!

— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) June 28, 2013

AO! @aoriakhi42 welcome to PHX

— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) June 28, 2013

Congrats to all players drafted. Excited to get in the gym with @A1Laflare10 @alexlen @aoriakhi42. Let's work! #Suns

— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) June 28, 2013

Jared Dudley

RT @AZSports620: RT @alexlen: Hello Phoenix! #GoSuns (Welcome to the team!! Congrats )

— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) June 28, 2013

Goran Dragic and P.J. Tucker were active on draft night as well.

Goran Dragic

@alexlen & @A1Laflare10 welcome to the @Suns family. Excited to play with you guys!!! Let's go #suns

— Goran Dragic (@Goran_Dragic) June 28, 2013

P.J. Tucker

Apparently Tucker is buddies with Dez Wells, a Maryland guard and teammate of Len. It looks like Wells was talking his boy up to Tucker before the draft.

I like it.. I like it a lot, Dez told me how hard he go so he gon fit right in #Pause #WelcomeToPhx

— PJ Tucker (@PJTUCKER17) June 28, 2013

The official @Suns account has put out plenty of great stuff as well over the weekend, so be sure to check that out.

On behalf of the entire Bright Side staff, welcome to the Suns Alex, Archie and Alex!

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