After an eight-year playoff drought, the Phoenix Suns think it’s time for them to make a huge roster overhaul in order to become a dominant team in the league once again. They will head in the upcoming offseason with the goal of acquiring talented and experienced players who could help Devin Booker bring the team back to title contention. Evan Sidery of SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Suns believes Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets top the list of Suns’ potential trade targets this summer.
Kawhi Leonard and Kemba Walker are frequently mentioned in various trade rumors in the past months mainly because of their frustration with their current teams. Both superstars could become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019. If the Spurs and the Hornets won’t get an assurance that they plan to stay, it will best for them to move Leonard and Walker than lose them in free agency without getting anything in return.
However, as everyone knows, the Suns will be needing to sacrifice multiple players and draft picks to convince the Spurs and the Hornets to make a deal. In the proposed trade with the Hornets, Sidery suggested that the Suns could send T.J. Warren, Troy Daniels, Jared Dudley, No. 16 pick, and a 2020 first-round pick (lottery protected) to the Hornets for Kemba Walker, Marvin Williams, and the No. 55 pick via Cleveland Cavaliers.
To acquire Kawhi Leonard from the Spurs, Sidery recommended a trade package including Josh Jackson, one of Marquese Chriss or Dragan Bender, No. 31 pick, No. 59 pick, 2019 first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks, and unprotected 2019 and 2020 first-round pick from the Miami Heat.
If they succeed to acquire Kawhi Leonard and Kemba Walker, the Suns will immediately become a contender in the Western Conference. The potential starting lineup of Walker, Devin Booker, Leonard, Chriss/Bender, and DeAndre Ayton (via 2018 NBA draft) will undeniably be a huge headache for any team in the league. To help the Suns bring all those pieces together and build chemistry on both ends of the floor, they will also be needing to hire a new head coach in which, according to Sidery, Atlanta Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer emerged as one of the top candidates.
Budenholzer is an Arizona native and reportedly has a good relationship with Kawhi Leonard. He could help the Suns convince Leonard to sign an extension when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2019. If the Suns prove they are a real contender, they won’t have a hard time asking Kemba Walker to extend his tenure with the franchise.