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On NBA Today, which airs weekday afternoons, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst discussed the preparations that the Phoenix Suns have been making for the start of training camp.
Windhorst went into great depth on a few subjects, including trade discussions, which are as follows:
“A lot of [the talks] are centered around Jae Crowder… who is available on the market right now. Whether or not there’s going to be a deal for him that materializes between now and next week’s [training camp]… we’ll have to wait and see.”
He made a remark about Crowder’s contract being up after the 2022–2023 season, which means that in the context of trade discussions, it acts not only as a tried-and-true 3-and-D contributor to winning basketball, but also as an expiring $10.2 million that might attract clubs searching for ways to clear future cap space.
When asked who Crowder may be used as a bargaining chip for, Windhorst brought up a well-known name:
“It would not surprise me if the Suns get involved in the negotiations for Bojan Bogdanovic from the Utah Jazz… several teams are bidding for him.”
I made it a point to cover the Bogdanovic base during the time that he was on the court with Dario Saric and Croatia in the EuroBasket. Even though he struggled in many defensive situations, Bogdanovic performed effectively at that position, averaging 19.2 points (48 field goal percentage, 39 three point percentage, and 87 free throw percentage) and 5.2 rebounds in 32.1 minutes per game.
Additionally, our very own John Voita made a contribution to the Bogdanovic pitch in this article, in which he argues that obtaining Bogdanovic has to be one of the top priorities.
If I were the Suns, I’d try to get Lauri Markkanen, a 7-foot wing who had an even better EuroBasket tournament for Finland. Markkanen averaged 27.9 points (54/40/91) and 8.1 rebounds in just 28.4 minutes per game while leading Finland to the quarterfinals of the tournament, where they were eliminated by Spain, who went on to win the gold medal. Personally, I’d prefer to push for Markkanen.
Due to the following variables, the asking price for Markkanen in trade discussions is likely to be somewhat higher:
Markkanen is eight years younger than Bogdanovic, who is 33, as he is only 25.
Contract situation: Markkanen has three years remaining and a total of $51.8 million ($17.3 annually) while Bogdanovic has only one year remaining at $19.3 million…but I think it’s worth it, especially if we’re prioritizing Devin Booker’s contention window over Chris Paul’s window. Markkanen has $17.3 million remaining on his contract each year. Bogdanovic has $19.3 million remaining on his contract.
When discussing the need of placing a priority on Booker’s window, Windhorst also brought up other extension conversations, which have otherwise been rather quiet this summer:
“They are negotiating — from what I’ve been told — with Cam Johnson on a contract extension. Now that wouldn’t affect this year’s salary… but it would also indicate that they are looking to invest long-term in another player and avoid a restricted free agency situation like they had with Deandre Ayton…”
A little over a week ago, Dave King looked into the subject of what an extension for Johnson may look like and whether or not it will surpass the benchmark that Mikal Bridges had established at four years and $90 million. Due to the fact that Johnson has spent most of his career on the bench, it is difficult for me to imagine a scenario in which this is the case; nonetheless, offense is extremely valuable in this league, and Johnson is definitely superior to Bridges in that facet of the game.
In conclusion, Windhorst shared his understanding that “from the people that I’m talking to, the Suns are functioning like a championship contender wanting to enhance their squad moving into camp.”
After a summer that was, for the most part, uneventful in terms of basketball operations, shouldn’t we say that it’s better to be late than never?
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