5 trades the Suns should consider if they decide to tank
Eric Bledsoe to the 76ers for Nerlens Noel, Carl Landry and Kendall Marshall
Eric Bledsoe is lost for the season with a knee injury, and the 76ers aren't exactly trying to win this season. Philadelphia would get a star-level player to add to its mix of unproven talent, and the Suns would get Nerlens Noel, a good defensive center who still needs to develop, and one whose fit alongside Jahlil Okafor is still a question mark. Landry could be a positive presence in a locker room that desperately could use it, and Marshall would return to the team that drafted him.
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Markieff Morris to the Pistons for Brandon Jennings
Detroit is one of the few destinations that makes the most sense as far as a trade involving Markieff Morris is concerned. He'd be reunited with his twin brother Marcus, and both players had their highest levels of individual production when they were on the same roster. The Suns, meanwhile, could take a chance on Jennings, who is just making his way back from an Achilles injury. Jennings will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, so both he and the Suns could benefit from his positive play once he gets fully healthy in the second half of the season.
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Tyson Chandler to the Bulls for Joakim Noah
This move would be about contract flexibility for the Suns in the immediate future. Chandler was overpaid in the offseason, and that four-year deal worth $52 million seems like too much for a 33-year old defensive presence, especially on a team that needs to rebuild. Noah's contract comes off the books at the end of this season, and he's been relegated to a bench role in Chicago. The Bulls may want to get something for him instead of losing him this summer in free agency, and Chandler's fit may be better on a team that sees itself as a potential contender in the Eastern Conference.
Getty ImagesJonathan Daniel
Tyson Chandler and Markieff Morris to the Rockets for Dwight Howard
There were rumblings earlier this season that Dwight Howard was unhappy in Houston. And with the Rockets struggling after finishing second in the Western Conference a season ago, the team may decide it needs different pieces in place in order to contend as planned. Chandler (despite his hefty contract) would be a serviceable substitution on defense, and Morris may once again provide a decent level of production if he's happier in a new situation. Howard will be an unrestricted free agent once the season is finished, so the Suns can use the second half of the year to try to show him that Phoenix is just fine as a long-term destination. (Or it could serve as a warning that he's not a good fit and let the Suns avoid a free-agnecy disaster.)
APDavid J. Phillip
Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe to New Orleans for Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson
This would be a major move on the part of the Suns, but here's why it might make some sense for both sides. Phoenix once went after Eric Gordon when he was a restricted free agent back in 2012, and signed him to an offer sheet worth $58 million over four years that New Orleans eventually matched. He'll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and Phoenix could either try to bring him back, or simply let him walk and use that salary cap space elsewhere. Ryan Anderson has been great, but he too will be a free agent this summer, and the Pelicans have multiple needs that they'll want to address with the kind of money Anderson will require. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry was with the Suns when Morris was a rookie, so he may be willing to take a chance on trying to make Morris a happy and productive player once again.