In the recent free agency period, the Phoenix Suns decided to sign Trevor Ariza with the belief that he could help Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker end the team’s eight-year playoff drought. Unfortunately, it would take more than a defensive specialist who is already on the downside of his career to bring the Suns back to the Western Conference Playoffs. As of now, the Suns are the worst team in the league, tied with the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a 2-11 record.
If they find themselves out of the playoff picture, Dan Favale of Bleacher Report believes that buyout talks between Trevor Ariza and the Suns will be “inevitable.” Instead of losing Ariza without getting anything in return, the Suns should consider making him available on the market before the February NBA trade deadline where playoff-bound teams will be looking to update their rosters. As Favale noted, one of the NBA teams who could express a strong interest in trading for Ariza is the Indiana Pacers.
In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Suns will be sending Trevor Ariza to the Pacers in exchange for Darren Collison and a future second-round pick. Both teams will be needing to wait until mid-December to make the deal since Ariza just inked a new contract this summer. However, if the trade becomes a reality, it could help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster.
“Giving up Darren Collison isn’t something that should scare the Pacers away. His three-point percentage has fallen off a cliff from last season’s league-leading mark, and they have more than enough ball-handlers to pick up the slack in his absence. Jettisoning him would open the door for Tyreke Evans to assume a larger role. The Suns could push for something more. They shouldn’t. That won’t end well. This iteration of Indiana isn’t prone to sweeping midseason changes, and Phoenix would get enough. Ariza isn’t giving back $5 million in a prospective buyout.”
The deal might not only be beneficial for the Pacers, but also for the Suns. Aside from the future draft assets, the potential acquisition of Darren Collison will immediately address their major problem at the point guard position. Since losing Brandon Knight in a trade deal with the Houston Rockets, the Suns have been active on the market, searching for a starting-caliber point guard.
Having experience playing alongside a ball-dominant player like Victor Oladipo in Indiana, Collison likely won’t have a hard time building good chemistry with the face of the Suns’ franchise, Devin Booker. As Favale noted, the Suns may also consider trading Collison for a future draft pick and look for another point guard in the 2019 NBA free agency.