After falling to No. 6 in this year’s NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns missed out on the top two point guard prospects in this year’s rookie class when Ja Morant and Darius Garland were respectively picked second and fifth overall. Weeks later, the team wasn’t able to land any current or potential superstars in free agency but ended up with a solid solution to their problem at point guard when they signed Ricky Rubio to a three-year, $51 million contract. However, as a new report suggests, the Suns could theoretically do even better if they wait until the 2019-20 NBA season is underway before making a move for the summer’s newest top trade target — Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
In a report published on Monday night, Fansided’s Valley of the Suns pointed out that the Suns’ current lineup doesn’t appear good enough to convince the team’s franchise player, shooting guard Devin Booker, to remain with the team for the rest of his career. With that in mind, the publication’s Adam Noel suggested that the “easy solution” to this problem may be to trade for Westbrook, thus giving Booker a proven backcourt superstar to team up with, and also giving fans “a valid reason” to buy tickets to Suns games.
As further explained, Phoenix’s previous roster moves would likely force the Suns to hope that Westbrook remains in Oklahoma City once the 2019-20 season starts in October and make an early-season trade offer for him, if still possible. With the former NBA MVP just one season into the five-year, $203 million extension he signed ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, Valley of the Suns suggested that Phoenix could match Westbrook’s salary by offering a trade package that includes Rubio, combo guard Tyler Johnson’s expiring contract, young wingmen Kelly Oubre Jr. (if he re-signs with the Suns) and/or Mikal Bridges, and multiple future draft selections.
ESPN story on Russell Westbrook welcoming idea of Oklahoma City searching out a trade that would end his Thunder career: https://t.co/EJK30AbAl8
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 8, 2019
While the aforementioned trade scenario makes for some intriguing possibilities, it is merely a hypothetical one at this point, even if Valley of the Suns noted that Phoenix will likely be a dark horse candidate to land Westbrook during the 2019-20 NBA season. The 30-year-old superstar guard, however, has a number of serious trade suitors who could all attempt to acquire him before the new season kicks off in October.
Citing information from The Athletic’s Sam Amick and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, CBS Sports wrote that the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Miami Heat are all interested in trading for Westbrook. The Heat, in particular, were mentioned by Wojnarowski as a top possibility, as Westbrook is reportedly “open” to a move to Miami, which recently acquired former All-Star forward/guard Jimmy Butler from the Philadelphia 76ers in one of this offseason’s first big moves.