NBA

Three Trades to Free Devin Booker From Phoenix

Mar 3, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) reacts against the Toronto Raptors at Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Since entering the league in 2015, Devin Booker has developed into one of the best scorers in the league. This season, he is putting up 26 points, 6.5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game. Booker is shooting 48.5% from the field and 36% from three. He was rewarded with his first-ever All-Star appearance. 

However, Booker’s time with the Suns thus far has not been pleasant. In his 5 seasons with the team, the Suns have an abysmal record of 113/280. Booker has expressed his desire to win on numerous occasions, and the Suns are holding him back from doing so. Despite having just signed a five-year extension, his desire to play for a winning franchise could lead to a trade request. Here are some potential suitors for a Devin Booker trade. 

Stats courtesy of basketball-reference.com/

Atlanta Forms the Next Splash Brothers

The Trade: Dewayne Dedmon, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Kevin Huerter, 2020, and 2022 first-round picks (Via Atlanta, Unprotected), for Devin Booker. 

Teams are going to have to give up a lot for Booker, as he is on that five-year extension. The Suns are under no obligation to trade him for anything other than a massive haul. This certainly is a trade that the Suns would struggle to say no to. They get three budding young players in Hunter, Reddish, and Huerter, all of whom have shown flashes of potential. They also get three first-round picks, including the Hawks pick this year. That pick currently holds the fourth-best odds for the first pick. Phoenix could use this pick to draft someone like LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards to pair alongside DeAndre Ayton. The Suns also get their own choice at pick 10. This trade sets the Sun’s focus to the long term, and will effectively reset their rebuild. 

On the other hand, this trade will fast forward the Hawks rebuild. Adding Booker to a core of Trae Young, John Collins, and Clint Capela could see Atlanta make the playoffs next year. The Young/Booker backcourt would be one of the most dynamic offensive duos in the league. While they are giving up a lot of future assets, all four are all under the age of 26.  They would, therefore, be expected to compete in the East for the foreseeable future, meaning draft picks are not as important. 

Minnesota Goes All In

The Trade: James Johnson, Malik Beasley (Sign and Trade), Jarrett Culver, Josh Okogie, a 2020 first-round pick (Via Minnesota, Unprotected), and a 2022 second-round pick (Via Minnesota, Unprotected), for Devin Booker. 

This would be another significant haul of picks and players for the Suns. Minnesota’s pick is currently projected to be third, so the Suns could get a top prospect this year. Malik Beasley has broken out in 14 games with Minnesota, averaging nearly 21 points and 5 rebounds on outstanding efficiency. In addition to this, they would be getting the number six overall pick from 2019 in Jarrett Culver. Culver had a subpar rookie year but improved as the season progressed. They also get one of the best young defenders in the league, Josh Okogie, who is still just 21. Like the previous trade, this trade would set the Suns up for the future with tons of young assets.

For the Wolves, a trio of Booker, Towns, and Russell could be one of the best in the league. All are capable of being 25 PPG scorers, in addition to willing and smart passers. There will be no chemistry concerns as the three are very close friends. Something that could be a major concern however is defense. All are known as sub-par defenders. The offensive firepower could be canceled out if they are unable to defend. They would need great defenders to occupy the forward slots, which they would have to look towards free agency and the draft for. If they manage to do so, it is a team that could easily contend for the next 5 – 10 years. 

New York Becomes Relevant Again

The Trade: RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, 2020, and 2022 first-round picks (Via New York, Unprotected), a 2021 first-round pick (Via LAC), and 2021 and 2023 first-round picks (Via Dallas, Top 10 Protected), for Devin Booker.

This trade might not seem as appealing in terms of players. However, there is an incredible amount of draft capital that the Suns are receiving. The five first-round picks are highlighted by New York’s unprotected pick this year, currently projected to be the sixth pick. They also get an unprotected Knicks pick in 2022, which could prove valuable if they don’t start winning instantly. The Clippers pick along with the two Mavericks picks will likely be late first round, but are still valuable assets. RJ Barrett had an up and down rookie year with efficiency concerns but still displays All-Star potential. An offer with this many first-round picks would simply be irresistible for Phoenix. 

For the Knicks, this is a hazardous trade. By giving away this many picks, they are in championship or bust mode. As we have seen in Phoenix, Booker alone will not lead to a playoff run. The Knicks would look to find another star to pair with him. New York almost has the cap space for two max contracts and could clear up more by trading away larger contracts. Booker combined with the big market of New York City could easily convince superstars to play at MSG. With the lucrative 2021 free agency class looming ahead, we could be looking at superstars like Giannis joining the Knicks. 

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