The Phoenix Suns came within two games of an NBA Championship last season. After surprising upsets against the Lakers, Nuggets, and Clippers, the young and talented team secured their ticket to the Finals before eventually being eliminated.
Despite reaching a major milestone over the summer, nobody is giving the Suns much of a chance to do it again this season. On paper, their roster just doesn't match up to the fire-power in Los Angeles.
With Chris Paul getting older, and teams continuing to get better, it is not a stretch to say that the window of opportunity is closing for the Suns and the pressure is on for the front office to make a move and improve their chances before it's too late.
In a recent article, Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley came up with a perfect solution, which involves the acquisition of superstar big man, Karl-Anthony Towns for the price of Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Dario Saric, and a 2024 first-round pick.
It seems like the Suns don't see Ayton as an automatic max player, so maybe they'd consider moving him from an already established elite. Towns, who shoots like a super-sized Splash Brother and dances around the post like he's trained in ballet, could qualify as a two-time All-Star and one-time All-NBA honoree.
Towns also happens to be a college teammate of Devin Booker, and Towns' scoring versatility would open even more options in Chris Paul's pick-and-roll game. Swing this deal, and Phoenix might go from being part of the Western Conference race to leading it.
Deandre Ayton hasn't necessarily lived up to the hype of being a first overall pick, but his game was a major catalyst behind their Finals run a few months ago. Currently, through three seasons in the NBA, the young star is averaging 16 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game on 62% shooting for his career.
The problem is, Ayton and the Suns are currently far apart in contract negotiations, and it's clear that the franchise has some reservations about offering Ayton a top-tier deal.
“I love Phoenix, but I’m really disappointed we haven’t really gotten a deal done yet,” Ayton said regarding an extension. “We were two wins away from winning a championship and I just really want to be respected, to be honest. To be respected like my peers are being respected by their teams."
Trading Ayton for Towns (a guy the Suns should have no questions about) eliminates that problem. As one of Booker's good friends, KAT would be a perfect fit in the lineup, which will feature a big three that could make them a favorite in the West.
In Minnesota, the Timberwolves aren't feeling any major pressure to trade KAT, but his growing unrest with the franchise has been an increasing concern for those within the organization.
The chance to get back a young big man, several quality players and a first-rounder in return might be too appealing to turn down.
In the end, the Suns have the assets to make a major splash ahead of this new season, and the right move might just be enough to put them over the top. In a league that enables the hoarding of talent, the team with the most fire-power has the biggest advantage of all.
If the team is serious about their quest for a Championship, they're going to have to aim high and take some risks.