Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
D’Angelo Russell, G, Brooklyn Nets
Probably one of the more unique options that the Suns could hypothetically try to pursue is D’Angelo Russell. It’s an interesting idea to think about beyond just basketball reasons because Devin Booker is good friends with Russell. It’s also intriguing to think about adding young talent at the point guard position without having to use a high draft pick to get it done too.
Russell is coming off a season with averages of 25.7 minutes, 15.5 points (41.4% FG, 32.4% 3P, 74% FT), 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, and 3.1 turnovers. He has definitely struggled with his offensive efficiency so far in his career but the 22-year-old still has plenty of potential as an offensive threat regardless of what those results might have been so far.
The idea of adding Russell to the Suns would need to be with the future in mind because he still needs to find a niché as an offensive player. He was at his best in spot-up situations and has shown flashes of being an effective pick-and-roll ball handler and isolation threat, but overall, he was unable to achieve ideal results in any area of playmaking last season.
Phoenix would be able to fit Russell next to Booker easily from an offensive perspective because both players can space the floor when they don’t have the ball. While the efficiency as a scorer may take time for Russell, he is already a pretty talented passer and would be able to take pressure off of Booker in a needed way.
The defensive end of the floor could be concerning. Russell and Booker both need to improve on this side of the ball and the results could be troubling early on if Russell isn’t able to make up for it in the scoring department, which is a real possibility. They would need DeAndre Ayton to be a better defender than anticipated but that might be unfair to require right away.
Ultimately, the idea of trying to pursuit Russell depends on how the Suns view their organization. If they are tired of losing and are ready to take a few steps forward as a team, then they would be best served to target a more developed point guard. However, Russell could be a good option if they are willing to remain patient and add a young talent to their core group.
Russell is still on his rookie deal so the real potential concern would be about what type of money that the Suns would have to pay him to keep him long-term. It is tough to gauge the market value for players with how each summer seems to have a widely different landscape. Next summer will feature a significantly greater point guard group and cap space.
It would be difficult to justify giving up much trade compensation for a player that is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. Russell is more of a free agency target than someone who should be on their trade radar, but he is hypothetically an option nevertheless. Maybe the Brooklyn Nets would be willing to deal him at the trade deadline if they decide that they don’t want to sign him to a long-term deal?