Suns trade Celtics first-round pick to acquire Brandan Wright
PHOENIX — To add depth to their thin frontcourt, the Phoenix Suns sent a first-round draft pick to the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Brandan Wright. The team confirmed the trade Friday afternoon.
"We are excited to add Brandan to our roster," said general manager Ryan McDonough. "His length, athleticism and finishing ability make him a great fit for our style of play. He is one of the most efficient scorers in the league, and his shot-blocking ability will help anchor our defense."
Wright, a 6-foot-11 forward, was traded from Dallas to Boston earlier this season in the deal that shipped point guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks. Wright, 27, was a key backup in Dallas before being utilized much less with the rebuilding Celtics. He averages 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
Wright is in the final year of his current contract that pays him $5 million this year. He will be an unrestricted free agent.
Phoenix set up the Wright trade on Dec. 24, when it dealt Anthony Tolliver to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tony Mitchell, who was waived. That move opened up enough cap space for the Suns to add Wright.
The pick the Suns sent to Boston was orginally owed by the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is top-12 protected for 2015 and 2016, then conveys into two second-round picks (one in 2016 and another in 2017).
Considering the lowly Timberwolves’ rebuilding path will likely lead them to high lottery selections in this year’s draft and next, it’s probable that the Suns will end up losing two second-round picks for Wright. The Suns originally acquired the protected Timberwolves pick in the 2012 three-way trade that sent Robin Lopez to New Orleans and also shipped Wesley Johnson from Minnesota to Phoenix.
In Phoenix, Wright will bring another long body to coach Jeff Hornacek’s small frontline. Wright will provide elite finishing ability off pick-and-roll action, a reason he was shooting 75 percent in 28 games with Dallas this season. That accuracy dropped off to a still-impressive 57 percent with the young Celtics.
Wright’s gravity — the ability to force help defense when he rolls to the hoop — should help open the floor for the Suns shooters. The acquisition will provide Phoenix with depth behind center Alex Len, but it also raises the question of whether backup center Miles Plumlee, who began the season as the Suns starting center, will be crunched for opportunities moving forward.
While Wright is more of an offensive analytics outlier who currently ranks fifth in win shares per 48 minutes (behind Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Chris Paul), he is also a capable shotblocker who averages 1.6 swats per game.
"I have known Brandan since he entered the NBA in 2007," said president of basketball operations Lon Babby. "He is a person of the highest character who will fit perfectly into our burgeoning Suns culture. We look forward to welcoming him to Phoenix."