The Phoenix Suns put the world on notice in the Orlando bubble. Disregarding before the restart even began, they compiled an 8-game win streak to go undefeated over the final regular-season stretch and put themselves in a great position to claim that number eight spot.
While they were unable to make the postseason, their miraculous run was an indicator to the community as to just how dangerous this team can be.
In fact, with another star to pair with Devin Booker, they could very well become a legitimate threat in the West.
In a trade idea suggested by Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley, Phoenix could even create a backcourt duo to rival that of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.
Phoenix Suns receive: Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Ricky Rubio, Mikal Bridges, Alen Smailagic, Jordan Poole, No. 2 pick (from GSW), 2022 first-round pick (top-three-protected from PHX), 2024 first-round pick (unprotected from PHX)
Golden State Warriors receive: Kelly Oubre Jr., No. 10 pick (from PHX)
Damian Lillard had one of his best seasons yet in the 2019-20 campaign, averaging 30 points, 8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds on 46% shooting. You put him alongside a talented young scorer like Booker, and the results would be breathtaking.
Devin Booker’s All-Star ascension and a perfect run through the bubble still weren’t enough to snap the Suns’ decade-long playoff drought. The progress was encouraging (especially the two-way development of 2018’s top pick, Deandre Ayton), but the clock’s ticks are getting louder. It’s been two seasons since Booker declared he was “done with not making the playoffs.” It’s time to make that happen.
Enter Damian Lillard. Putting him in the same backcourt with Booker shouldn’t be legal. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s a hint of Splash Brothers 2.0 vibes, with a little less efficiency but more on-ball creativity.
Giving up Dame would not be easy for Portland, but a return of Ricky Rubio, young players, and a haul of picks would not be a bad deal if they feel like a rebuild is necessary. With so much competition in the West, choosing to bet on the future by giving up the present might not be a bad idea. By trading their current starters, they’d end up with a pretty ridiculous mountain of assets that would no doubt translate to some wins down the line.
As for Golden State, they’d be giving up their No. 2 pick and a rotation piece in Jordan Poole for the starting-caliber wing player they’ve been searching for since the departure of Kevin Durant. Kelly Oubre Jr. isn’t as talented offensively as Andrew Wiggins, but he might be a better fit for the team overall, especially considering what he does on the defensive end. The three-and-D lefty averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this past season.
All-in-all, it’s a huge deal that would see a major transfer of power in the West. Portland would begin a rebuild while the Suns would go on to become the newest powerhouse.
Is it likely? Probably not, as Portland would have to have a serious change of heart to even consider moving Lillard. But, hey, stranger things have happed this year, so you just never know.