The Phoenix Suns must be kicking themselves tonight.
TJ Warren, whom the Suns traded to the Indiana Pacers last offseason, just had a breakout game on Saturday in Indy’s season restart opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. Warren scored a career-high 53 points on 20-of-29 field goals. He also made nine triples on an efficient 75 percent shooting (9-of-12).
Warren's 53rd PT 👀 pic.twitter.com/mqU2dkeOJd
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) August 2, 2020
With that said, the Suns have to be looking at their trade of Warren and saying “What were we thinking?!”
In the said trade, the Suns sent Warren along with their No.32 pick in the 2019 NBA draft to the Pacers for cash considerations in order to clear up cap space. After which, Indiana sent the 2019 pick from the the Warren deal to the Miami Heat in exchange for three second-rounders — the Heat selected KZ Okpala with the pick.
Basically, the Suns paid the Pacers to get rid of Warren, while the Pacers used the deal to their advantage to accumulate assets.
In a normal situation — even if the main piece of the trade didn’t work out as well as Warren has for the Pacers — that is still a lot to give up for just cash considerations.
Outside of Warren, the three draft picks the Pacers received put them in prime position to build for the future. Now with Warren running on all cylinders and looking to use the bubble to have a breakout end of the season, this trade is heading closer and closer to Babe Ruth territory — when the Boston Red Sox gave up the then-pitcher to the New York Yankees for cash considerations.
That trade turned out to be the demise for the Red Sox for nearly a decade while kick-starting the Yankees’ dynasty. While obviously way too early for anyone to know if this trade will have that kind of magnitude, the Suns surely are not happy at their money-focused move.
Sure enough, it’s just one game and it is still too early to say how TJ Warren will play with the Pacers moving forward. However, it is worth noting that Warren is already playing brilliantly for Indiana even before his breakout game.
Prior to the suspension of the season, Warren was averaging 18.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assist for the Pacers. In his five seasons in Phoenix, he put up 14.4 markers, 4.1 boards and 1.1 dime per game.