The Phoenix Suns have traded one of their young pieces.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Phoenix has opted to clear to some cap space by sending former No. 4 overall pick Josh Jackson, DeAnthony Melton and a couple of future second-round draft selections to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for veteran Kyle Korver and Jevon Carter.
Jackson had been of the young building blocks of the franchise along with Devin Booker and 2018 No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton. However, it looks like the Suns wanted to head into a different direction and felt as if Jackson didn’t figure into the team’s future plans. Jackson had averaged 12.3 points in 25.3 minutes per game while starting 64 of the 156 games he appeared in.
The 6-foot-8 Jackson is an athletic swingman who doesn’t possess a 3-point shot. Considering the league is predicated on long-range shooting, this may have been a reason why the Suns decided to move on from Jackson. In Memphis, the 22-year-old Jackson will receive plenty of playing time as the Grizzlies completely rebuild around him, Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Furthermore, it also saves the Suns a bit of money as they reportedly plan on buying out Korver, who came over to Memphis in the previous Mike Conley trade, and the remaining $7.5 million on his deal. Jackson was owed $7 million this year and nearly $9 million for the 2020-21 season.
Phoenix has had a puzzling offseason as it relieved Igor Kokoskov of his head-coaching duties after just one season on the job. The Suns went onto hire Monty Williams, a highly coveted head coach who previously led the New Orleans Pelicans/Hornets to a couple of playoff appearances earlier in the decade.
Thus far this offseason, the Suns have added Ricky Rubio on $51 million contract, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric. They also traded T.J. Warren to the Indiana Pacers. These are three established veterans who have a track record of playing in the playoffs, but aren’t exactly equipped to lead playoff-caliber teams. When you factor in that the Suns have the longest playoff drought in the NBA — haven’t made the postseason since 2009-10 — and the fact that Booker and Ayton are the two leading men of the franchise, it would almost seem as if Phoenix is trying to make a run at a playoff spot this season.
They have the young pieces, the veteran role players and an established coach. With the Western Conference seeing a major makeover this offseason with the fall of the Golden State Warriors, maybe the Suns can break their playoff drought after all this season.