During a 24-hour period in the midst of negotiating what could be the biggest trade in franchise history to acquire Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets, the Phoenix Suns quietly signed some safeties to probable minimum deals.
On Saturday night, according to Shams Charania, the Suns signed Defense-oriented Josh Okogie to the unsuspecting group that also includes Devin Booker, Landry Shamet and, as of Friday, Damion Lee. All four players are 6’4″ to 6’5″. Neither is a true point guard, and neither is big enough to play any of the small forward spots on a regular basis.
Once the 20th pick in the 2018 Minnesota Timberwolves Draft, the same draft that the Suns Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Landry Shamet came from, Okogie went from having potential as a defensive specialist to being completely out of the Suns’ rotation. Wolves and released at the end. of his four-year rookie contract. Late last week, the Wolves declined to give Okogie a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Okogie can play defense, but he can’t shoot the basketball. He never topped 29% on 3-point shooting, and he never developed in the playmaking or rebounding areas. He’s a great signing at the end of the bench who can be energetic defensively, has some size and length to take on better ball handlers, but can’t be counted on offensively.
Okogie’s signing caps a day in which the Suns added four minimum-salary players at two positions: two centers (Bismack Biyombo and Jock Landale) and two shooting guards (Damian Lee and Josh Okogie).
Knowing that GM James Jones likes to have a depth of three at every position, you could read this as a sign that the Suns hope to get out of a Kevin Durant deal with no more than one center and one shooting guard while maintaining their depth. on base and wing/forward, but I caution against that.
I just think there are too many balls in the air, if you will, on this big deal for Durant and the Suns don’t really know what their top 10 will look like after it’s done.
So for now, they’re filling spots 11 through 15 on the list and waiting for all that dust to settle.
None of those guys should be counted on to play real minutes unless there are injuries. They’re more of the Frank Kaminsky, Iffe Lundberg type (ooooh, sorry Iffe, these two guard signings are the same size as you), Elfrid Payton, Aaron Holiday. Ready to play as needed, but not every night.
Flex update on Saturday:
Enjoy the holiday weekend with your family and let this KD thing unfold! There’s a lot of people, talking to a lot of people, about a lot of people, and honestly, it’s getting ridiculous. I’m sure the Suns are in a great position, I’ll leave everything else to them. pic.twitter.com/2dYUewRDjE
— FLEX From Jersey (@FlexFromJersey) July 2, 2022
Rumors have surfaced, as Flex predicted, that the Nets are in talks to trade Kyrie Irving elsewhere and maybe even to the Lakers in an Irving/Joe Harris for Russell Westbrook/Kendrick Nunn package. That would suck, really, because the Lakers would suddenly be a lot better.
Other competition for KD’s services, at least pushed by the media, includes the Toronto Raptors, who could make one-time All-Star Pascal Siakam available (he’s one who is NOT in one of those designated max extensions for rookies because he was only in four years, like the Suns tried with Ayton a year ago) or rookie star Scottie Barnes who looks like a future All-Star to head up the offering.
But there’s no certainty that Toronto is willing to trade any of those players, or that the Raptors can add as many future draft picks as the Suns.
And there’s no certainty — don’t rule this out at all — that Kevin Durant would simply join a team the Nets picked for him. All Durant needs to do is threaten to hang on and demand another trade from the Raps, and it suddenly seems a lot less appealing to trade your future for him.
What would that three-team trade with the Jazz and Nets look like, which Flex said is in the works as of Saturday? Great. Enormous.
- Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Mikal Bridges or Cameron Johnson and a handful of firsts to the Nets
- Ben Simmons and Deandre Ayton at Jazz
- Kevin Durant and Bojan Bogdanovic to the Suns
Those are just the headlines. The Nets withdrew their qualifying offer for Kessler Edwards on Saturday, freeing up a salary-cap hold. There must be something cap-related here, and I guess that means a LOT of players will be coming to Brooklyn in this trade.
My guess is that the Suns eventually trade Ayton, Johnson, several first-round picks and two other players between Landry Shamet, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric and Torrey Craig for the rights to the Nets’ Kevin Durant and a good player or two. .
Stay tuned, Suns fans. We will keep you informed here.