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#pounditFriday, July 19, 2024

Suns replenish empty draft coffers with unusual Grizzlies trade

James Jones speaking to the media

Sep 30, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager James Jones answers questions during Media Day at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns have been big-game hunters at the trade market ever since Mat Ishbia officially took over as owner in February.

The Suns snagged Kevin Durant just hours after Ishbia’s introductory press conference on February 8. Phoenix took another swing at a star months later, trading for Bradley Beal this offseason in exchange for Chris Paul and virtually all the remaining draft capital they had left to offer.

Those two trades combined to cost the Suns four first-round picks, eight second-round picks, and five first-round pick swaps.

With the draft coffers looking drier than the Sonoran desert, Phoenix employed an unusual strategy to get some of the picks back: leverage more picks. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Suns are trading Isaiah Todd and two more first-round pick swaps in 2024 and 2030 to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for three second-round picks.

Woj clarified that the swaps the Grizzlies acquired — which were already included in the Wizards trade for Beal — will be for the rights to swap with the lesser between the Washington and Phoenix picks during those years.

It’s not everyday you see a team take out the equivalent of a second mortgage on first-rounders that they had just offered up to another team weeks prior.

The deal all but ensures that the Suns will get a late pick in both those drafts, given that they’re automatically getting the worst pick among those owned by all three teams. It shouldn’t be an issue for the 2024 pick, as Phoenix is projected to be higher up in the standings than the Wizards and Grizzlies.

But in 2030, it is anybody’s guess what the state of the league will be then. The worst-case scenario would be that the Suns end up as one of two teams in the lottery that year while the third ends up with a pick in the high 20s. Phoenix would have to settle for that late pick.

The fact that Phoenix is willing to risk that in exchange for a smattering of second-rounders proves how far deep they are in win-now mode. Those picks could be used to acquire role players at the trade deadline, which could be vital for a top-heavy team like the Suns who still have a lot to figure out once the season begins.

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