The Phoenix Suns were supposed to be better this season after adding Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick and making moves this offseason for other veteran pieces to go around their star duo of Ayton and Devin Booker.
However, 23 games into the season and the Suns are once again tracking towards the league’s worst record and showing little in the way of improvement. As happens when a team very clearly falls out of playoff contention this early in the season, many of the veterans on the roster become rumored to be available in trade talks, in hopes of collecting assets.
The biggest free agent acquisition of the Suns was Trevor Ariza, who they poached from the Rockets on a one-year, $15 million deal on the first night of free agency. It looked at the time like, maybe, a play to be competitive, but there was always a strong chance Ariza would be used by the Suns as trade bait as his skillset is something contenders can always use. Ariza isn’t able to be traded before December 15, when players signed this summer are eligible to be dealt, but once that deadline passes, Marc Stein of the New York Times indicates he’s at the top of the list of players expected to be on the move.