The latest rumors regarding the Phoenix Suns ahead of Thursday's trade deadline suggest that the team is interested in acquiring Luke Kennard — who was enjoying a breakout season before suffering a knee injury in late December — from the Detroit Pistons.
In a report published on Monday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski wrote that the Pistons appear to have a mutual interest in the purported deal, as the team is hoping to acquire a future first-round pick from the Suns — specifically, their selection in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft, if everything goes as planned. Per Wojnarowski's unnamed league sources, talks between both sides have "gained traction," though no agreements have officially been made. These discussions are reportedly expected to continue at some point on Tuesday.
As of this writing, both Detroit and Phoenix are similarly struggling to gain momentum, with the former organization 11th in the Eastern Conference with an 18-34 record and the latter's 20-30 record placing them 12th in the Western Conference. The Pistons, in particular, have a number of other players aside from Kennard whose names have popped up in trade rumors, most notably star center Andre Drummond, who has been linked to teams such as the Boston Celtics.
While Detroit is largely expected to be a "seller" before the trade deadline, the Suns are among the league's most frequently rumored "buyers," with recent reports associating them with players such as Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love.Talking about Kennard's potential role in Phoenix in the event the transaction pushes forward, Wojnarowski wrote that the 23-year-old will likely see about 30 minutes of action per game, playing a sixth-man role for the team. It remains to be seen, however, whether he will be healthy enough to make a big impact going forward.
As pointed out by Wojnarowski, Kennard was sidelined with bilateral knee tendinitis shortly before Christmas and has since missed the last 22 games for the Pistons. He was, however, one of the organization's most productive players, scoring a career-best 15.8 points and dishing out 4.1 assists per game and shooting 39.9 percent from beyond the arc before getting hurt.
Separately, Bleacher Report described the rumored Pistons/Suns deal as a "curious" one, noting that Kennard plays the very same position as Phoenix's top player, shooting guard Devin Booker. The outlet, however, speculated that the former Duke Blue Devils star might flourish with the Suns in a "positionless" backcourt alongside Booker, while also giving the team the boost they need to fight for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs.