The Suns have been on a tear of late, with six wins in their last seven games. This has led to some speculation that they’re out of the Western Conference playoff race and won’t be getting any better performances from Devin Booker, who is dealing with an injury right now. With this said, it seems like there are two potential solutions coming into play: either find someone who can give them more help or trade away one of the other players for a draft pick (or get younger).

The “phoenix suns trade rumors 2021” is a question that has been asked for years. The Suns have a championship-sized dilemma on their hands ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.

When the Phoenix Suns rejected Jalen Smith’s $4.7 million club option for the 2022-23 season, it looked like they were making a reasonable decision. Smith, on the other hand, is now making that choice seem hasty. He’s also causing a dilemma for the Suns just over a month before the NBA trade deadline, which is Feb. 10.

Recently, Phoenix’s frontcourt has been thin. Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee both underwent health and safety procedures last week, while Frank Kaminsky is out indefinitely with a knee ailment. Smith is doing an excellent job of filling the void and boosting his trade stock in the process.

The specifics of Smith’s trade make his future in Phoenix a true conundrum for the Suns.

Jalen Smith is a huge help to the Suns.

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Jalen Smith’s selection position (No. 10 overall in 2020) would have indicated he’d be a key player for the Suns in the future. His first season, on the other hand, did not inspire confidence that he could contribute to a title contender.

Smith played in the G League for the majority of the 2020-21 season. He did play in 27 games for Phoenix, averaging less than five minutes per game. Things seemed to be pretty much the same in his second season.

In the Summer League, the former Maryland Terrapin showed glimpses of brilliance. Despite this, he struggled to get off the bench for the first several months. But Smith stuck it through, and he’s been a surprise for the Suns in terms of health and safety standards with Ayton and McGee.

Smith has averaged 15.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in his previous five games while shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc on 2.2 attempts per game. Those stats are comparable to what Ayton put up for Phoenix last season, albeit his enhanced output makes him a near-All-Star candidate.

Smith, on the other hand, has the potential to be a shot-blocker and a floor-spacing big. It’s true that the sample size is tiny. Smith, on the other hand, has been a net plus player (+9.0) in the last five games. Even in a defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies on Dec. 27, he completed the game with a plus-minus of +19.

The arrival of the 21-year-old comes at an unusual moment. He’s given the Suns a serious piece to dangle as they attempt to boost the squad for the second half as the NBA trade deadline approaches.

Rival clubs may be interested in acquiring Smith as part of a trade deal, but there are significant financial issues.

Phoenix Suns big man Jalen Smith blocks Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges' dunk attempt during an NBA game in January 2022

Phoenix Suns big man Jalen Smith blocks Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges' dunk attempt during an NBA game in January 2022 In the first quarter of a game on January 02, 2022, Jalen Smith #10 of the Phoenix Suns blocks a dunk from Miles Bridges #0 of the Charlotte Hornets | Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Should the Suns engage in trade talks before the deadline, Smith’s excellent performance and two-way potential might entice a variety of NBA clubs. However, there are financial issues to consider.

The Suns are unable to give Smith more than $4.7 million in free agency this summer because they rejected his $4.7 million third-year option. The same goes for any club that could be interested in acquiring the 21-year-old before the deadline.

Doesn’t that make things more difficult for Phoenix?

On the one hand, trading Smith could seem to be a no-brainer for the Suns. They’d almost certainly prefer to acquire something in return for him rather than let him go for free. If you’re a competitor CEO interested in Smith, though, you may want to wait off on acquiring him and instead attempt to sign him for more than $4.7 million.

For the Suns, there are additional factors to consider. What if they are unsure whether or not to re-sign Ayton? Is it feasible that Smith is already a much superior frontcourt alternative than Dario Saric, who is just signed until next season? The answers to those issues are unclear, but they might lead to Phoenix keeping Smith and praying that another team’s offer in free agency does not surpass theirs.

If the Suns decide to transfer Smith, there are a few names to keep an eye on.

If the Suns attempt to deal Smith, there are a few names to keep an eye on. Thaddeus Young of the San Antonio Spurs is one of them.

Young, like Deandre Ayton, can jolt ball-handlers with his proclivity for screen assists. For a big man, he possesses exceptional vision and passing skills, and he can have a huge influence on the offensive boards, something the Suns urgently need. Despite the fact that he lacks Smith’s agility and shooting skill, he may be an excellent target.

By bringing back Torrey Craig or acquiring Justin Holiday, Phoenix might take advantage of the Indiana Pacers’ predicted selling binge. Both guys would want to be even less expensive than Young.

In the trade market, the Suns have choices. However, Smith’s contract concerns and inspired play combine to create a major conundrum. If Phoenix moves Smith at all, it could have to give up some draft picks in the process.

It will be fascinating to observe how general manager James Jones handles the situation over the following month.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

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