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3 trades Suns must make before 2022 NBA trade deadline

Suns, Marcus Smart, Terrence Ross, Josh Hart

What upgrades could the Phoenix Suns use right now? At first glance, it does ‘t seem like they have any glaring weak spots. They have the NBA’s best record and solid options at every position. Adding more talent is still possible. With the trade deadline approaching, there are plenty of avenues to take.

Dario Saric has not played this season due to a torn ACL he suffered in the NBA Finals. His $8 million salary could be used to find an upgrade for the bench or possibly even the starting lineup. Several players around the league have a comparable salary, making Saric an ideal trade chip.

The Suns could also use young center Jalen Smith as a sweetener in a trade. The center has flashed shooting and scoring potential this season and does not seem to factor into the Suns’ plans long-term. Phoenix has all of their draft picks moving toward, save for their first-round pick this season that is expected to convey to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

With Saric’s contract and the addition of Smith and/or draft capital, the Suns could infuse their rotation with players that are available to help their pursuit of a championship.

Trades Suns must make before 2022 NBA trade deadline

Marcus Smart

This move would be a huge swing for the fences for Phoenix. Smart is as stout of a defender as they come and has some respectable playmaking chops. He could slide into the forward spot alongside Mikal Bridges for long stretches of the game to demoralize offenses and provide some minutes as a backup point guard to Chris Paul. The problem with Smart isn’t how he fits but how the Suns can obtain him at all.

The Boston Celtics, especially now that they have embraced their defensive identity and are playing their best ball of the season, may not want to part with Smart now. They have shown an interest in Smith and were seemingly on the outs with Smart not too long ago, though. it may take some valuable draft picks to get it done, but it would be worth it for the Suns.

Josh Hart

The Trail Blazers traded away the only young player they got in exchange for CJ McCollum in order to shed salary. After trading Nickeil Alexander-Walker in return for a package centered around the injured Joe Ingles, Portland may be inclined to do something similar by sending Hart in exchange for Saric and picks.

Hart is a rugged defender that outworks his opponents and rebounds very well for a 6-foot-5 guard. He is the perfect player to task with simply annoying the opponent’s best ball-handler. Players like these can prove to be useful in the playoffs. Hart doesn’t offer much perimeter shooting but is very efficient inside the arc. The Suns could use him just like the Brooklyn Nets use Bruce Brown — as a micro-sized big man.

Terrence Ross

The Orlando Magic’s veteran scorer should provide some solid shooting off the bench with the Suns. Since the Magic already have young centers Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr., they likely won’t have an interest in Smith. Saric and draft picks should be an enticing offer, though.

The Suns could use Ross off the bench with Cameron Payne and Landry Shamet to keep Phoenix’s offense going. He is averaging 10.9 points in 24.5 minutes per game. The rebuilding Magic may not have a purpose for him for much longer. Freeing up playing time for their youngsters should be enough incentive to deal him to a contender.