Grading the trade for the Phoenix Suns
This trade adds some much-needed depth to the Suns' top-heavy roster. The Suns have three primary shot-creators, Booker, Durant, and Beal, who both averaged over 23 points per game last season. Not many touches would be left for the former first-overall selection, Ayton.
Hardaway Jr. provides an excellent ancillary piece. He could start and provide spacing between the three scorers or come off the bench and add scoring to a projected weak second unit. Hardaway Jr. is coming off a season where he shot 38.5 percent on a career-high 7.7 3-point shot attempts per game.
On the other side of the trade, Richaun Holmes would provide Phoenix with an active defender and opportunistic offense player alongside their high-profile stars. Holmes, in theory, is a nice fit. As he has not had much success since the 2020-21 season, where he averaged 14.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 63.7 percent from the floor, good for 2nd in the NBA that season.
Since Holmes' fantastic 2020-21 season, he has steadily declined to only averaging 3.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in a mere 8.3 minutes per game in the 2022-23 season. His value has significantly decreased after signing a four-year, $46 million deal in 2021. If Holmes can come close to replicating his 2020-21 season, this would be a valuable addition for a team that does not need a high-usage player.
Acquiring Hardaway Jr. and Holmes would bolster the Suns' depth, but it is not worth trading a 25-year-old center in his prime. Although the Suns and Ayton have had a tumultuous relationship, his value to any team is immense. Ayton finished this past season as a top-10 center in points, rebounds, and double-doubles, all while sharing the court with Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant.
Potential starting lineup: Cameron Payne, Devin Booker, Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Richaun Holmes
The Suns get a D for this trade. Offloading Ayton has been discussed for some time now but the haul Phoenix receives here is lacking enough depth to make it worth the trade. Additional draft picks would add to the trade, while receiving another player such as Maxi Kleber or Josh Green may make it worthwhile for Phoenix.