The NBA trade deadline is mere days away, and as such the rumor mill is heating up as contenders look to make moves to improve their standing this season and others look to pivot towards a more future-facing direction.
The Detroit Pistons are among those teams looking to shift towards a future outlook, as their season has not gone according to plan and some changes may be afoot in Michigan. The Phoenix Suns are looking to take a step forward, but at 20-30 and five games behind the Grizzlies, they’re running out of time to make a push this season and going all in on that seems unwise.
Still, they might be looking for roster upgrades that have longterm upside as well, and that leads us to reported talks between the Suns and Pistons centered on Luke Kennard, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski late Monday night.
Possible package gaining traction for Kennard, per sources: Jevon Carter, Elie Okobo and a first-round pick. Suns imagine Kennard as a 30 minute-plus per game floor spacer to complement Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre, Jr., and Ricky Rubio. https://t.co/1iw2iqPmq2
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 4, 2020
It would seem strange for the Suns to move a first round pick given that it will almost assuredly be in the lottery and may have pretty good odds, and one would imagine a pick going Detroit’s way would have some kind of protections on it. As Woj notes, Kennard has missed significant time with a knee injury this season, but the sharpshooter was averaging nearly 16 points per game on strong shooting efficiency before the injury. The question for Phoenix is how well Kennard would fit with Devin Booker, as that doesn’t seem like an ideal pairing, but like many teams, the Suns appear to want to improve their spacing and shooting and Kennard certainly fits that bill.
Kennard has one more year on his rookie deal before hitting restricted free agency, meaning the Suns would be getting a young player they could have significant contract control over for five years, which in Phoenix is a big plus. The fit isn’t perfect, but if the Suns are looking to simply add talent that can help in the future and aren’t enthralled with this year’s draft, Kennard fits the bill.