Despite complementing star shooting guard Devin Booker with talented players such as 2018 first-overall pick Deandre Ayton and veteran point guard Ricky Rubio, the Phoenix Suns continue to struggle, with their 26-39 record placing them 13th in the Western Conference as of last month’s indefinite season suspension. However, a new trade idea suggests that the Suns could get Booker the offensive help he really needs by acquiring power forward Lauri Markkanen from the Chicago Bulls.
As explained by Bleacher Report, Markkanen could be a good addition to the Suns’ roster as Ayton, despite his improving midrange shot, is an old-school center who mostly operates inside and has yet to sink a three-pointer in his two years in the NBA. Conversely, the Finnish big man has stood out for his outside shooting since being drafted No. 7 overall by the Bulls in 2017, with career averages of 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds, plus a 35.6 percent clip from three-point range.
In order to land Markkanen, Bleacher Report recommended a deal that would allow Phoenix to acquire him for a package featuring a 2021 lottery-protected first-round draft pick, as well as a combination of young prospects that could include forwards Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges and/or guard Ty Jerome. This, as noted, could potentially be a “great first step” in ensuring that Booker remains happy with the Suns after multiple losing seasons.
“With Dario Saric entering restricted free agency, Markkanen would give Phoenix a new starting power forward who could run pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop actions with Booker,” the outlet stressed.
Per Basketball-Reference, Bridges has gotten the most exposure of the three erstwhile Suns players in the suggested trade package, averaging 8.7 points, four rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 27.3 minutes per game. Johnson (8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists per game) is a 39.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc, while Jerome has seen limited action behind Rubio in the Suns’ point guard rotation.
It wasn’t discussed, however, how each of the aforementioned players could contribute if moved to the Bulls, who rank 11th in the Eastern Conference with a 22-43 record and have a mostly youthful roster that also features key contributors such as shooting guard Zach LaVine and center Wendell Carter Jr.
Aside from the Suns, the New York Knicks were brought up earlier this month as a potential destination for Markkanen, who had allegedly become dissatisfied with how things were going in Chicago before its recent front-office shakeup. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Fansided‘s Daily Knicks blog suggested a trade that would allow New York to get Markkanen in exchange for forward Kevin Knox, point guard Frank Ntilikina, and three future first-round draft picks.