The Phoenix Suns are a playoff team. It wasn’t the plan management envisioned heading into this season — they had gotten Eric Bledsoe as a building block but they had a young roster with a lot of questions — but Jeff Hornacek has gotten the team to defend, share the ball and win.
Now, they are all in for the playoffs.
So when other teams are looking to sell at the deadline, the Suns want to buy and make a playoff push — and if we learned one thing from “Trading Places” it’s that it is good to be buying when everyone is selling in a panic. (Looking good Billy Ray! Feeling good Lewis!)
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The Suns have a lot of assets that could net them quality players at the deadline, particularly the contract of Emeka Okafor, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.
Once Phoenix reached the midway point of its season on Wednesday with Okafor still sidelined with a neck injury, an insurance policy began to take over payment on 80 percent of the remaining $14.4 million on his 2013-14 contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Whoever deals for Okafor before the trade deadline will receive an insurance payout of $5.7 million – roughly $141,000 per game.
For the Suns, the appeal of Okafor’s financially friendly deal – armed with approximately $5 million in remaining salary-cap space – has general manager Ryan McDonough on the search to fortify his roster for a playoff run….
(Suns GM Ryan) McDonough has expressed publicly his willingness to explore using his draft picks, young assets and cap space to explore possible deals for All-Star-level players who could become available on the market.
The Suns have four first round picks in this draft and two in the 2015 draft — those are very valuable chips to trade.
Just something to keep in mind as you see trade rumors start to ramp up as we crawl toward the Feb. 20 deadline — the Suns could land themselves a quality addition just in time to make somebody’s life difficult in the playoffs.