Suns take Culver at No. 6, trade him to Timberwolves
PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns added a shooter and a power forward after trading down in the NBA draft Thursday night.
The Suns used the No. 6 overall pick to take Texas Tech forward Jarrett Culver, but a person with knowledge of the deal said they traded him to Minnesota for power forward Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official for salary-cap purposes until July 6.
Phoenix used the No. 11 pick on North Carolina sharpshooter Cameron Johnson.
Johnson spent his first three years at Pittsburgh and blossomed after moving to Chapel Hill. The 6-foot-9 small forward averaged 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season, finishing seventh nationally in 3-point shooting at 45.7 percent.
Johnson was projected to go later in the first round, but the Suns took him at No. 11, hoping he can give them a sharpshooting duo with Devin Booker.
The Suns later moved back into the first round, trading a 2020 first-round pick (obtained from Milwaukee) to Boston for center Aron Baynes and the No. 24 pick in this year’s draft, according to ESPN. Phoenix used the pick to take Virginia guard Ty Jerome, potentially filling a big need at point guard.
The 6-5 Jerome is known for his shooting, but also is an adept passer. He averaged 13.6 points and 5.5 assists per game last season while leading the Cavaliers to their first national title.
Baynes, a 6-11 center from New Zealand, played two seasons with Boston after stints in Detroit and San Antonio during his seven-year NBA career. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Celtics last season.
ESPN also reported Phoenix traded forward T.J. Warren and the 32nd overall pick to Indianapolis for cash considerations.
Warren was Phoenix’s second-leading scorer at 18 points per game and shot 42% from the 3-point arc. He also has been injury-prone — limited to 43 games last season — and is due $35 million over the next three seasons.
The Suns had lottery luck a year ago, landing the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history. They used it take Arizona big man Deandre Ayton, who had a solid rookie season playing alongside Booker.
The Suns were still in rebuilding mode last season despite the talented young duo, matching Cleveland for the NBA’s second-worst record at 19-63. That gave the Suns equal chance at the No. 1 overall pick this year with the Cavaliers and New York Knicks, but the ping pong balls didn’t fall right for them and they ended up at No. 6.