The Phoenix Suns are having an up-and-down season so far. After recording a 9-12 slate in the first 12 games of 2017-2018, the team has now won five of their last eight games, lifting them up to the 11th spot in the Western Conference standings coming from its cellar.
Phoenix is currently being led by team captain and leading scorer Devin Booker, who is only in his third year as a pro.
Booker, 21, averages impressive numbers of 25.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.0 steals in 34.4 minutes per game this season as the team’s starting shooting guard. Moving forward, it seems clear that the franchise wants to build their team around the former Kentucky standout.
With that, recent rumors have emerged that the Suns are looking for one or two other rising stars to complement with Booker and that they might take a look at the current trade market to achieve their goals.
With the speculated availability of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, Bleacher Report‘s Grant Hughes suggested a trade scenario that would send unused veteran big man Greg Monroe and a 2019 second-round draft pick to the Lakers for the young twosome.
The Suns acquired Monroe last November in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. However, the eight-year veteran has become a forgotten man in Phoenix, with head coach Jay Triano deciding to log him as a DNP-Coach’s Decision in the team’s last three assignments.
Monroe’s fate could be different with the Lakers as Luke Walton’s squad has been missing the services of veteran center Brook Lopez due to a sprained right ankle. Monroe’s presence would provide temporary help to the Lakers’ currently thin frontline.
Hughes said that while Monroe is not a “needle-mover” that would provide a long-term solution to the Lakers’ superstar hunt, his expiring deal would be beneficial in the summer when the Hollywood squad aims to free up as much salary cap space to try and sign two big-name free agents.
The trade would also help the Lakers unload the salaries of both Randle and Clarkson. The two were rumored to be in the team’s trading block since the start of the season, indicating that the front office is not including them in their future plans.
However, Jason Reed of FanSided’s LA Sports Hub blog opined that the Lakers should “avoid” trading Randle if Luol Deng and his massive contract is not included in the deal.
Reed noted that similar to what they did during the Timofey Mozgov-D’Angelo Russell trade to the Brooklyn Nets last summer, the Lakers had better maximize Randle’s trade value to also unload Deng’s salary, which costs the squad an average of $18 million per year.