November 26, 2022

The Phoenix Suns have had a somewhat rocky start to the 2022-23 season. The Suns have dealt with the off-field drama involving team owner Robert Sarver and his impending sale of the team, and while the Deandre Ayton situation resolved itself, the team is now dealing with a hapless Jae Crowder and his trade request . .

Despite all the organizational drama the Suns have been subjected to, they have managed an 11-6 record and look like the team most likely to take charge of a wide open Western Conference. The Suns are currently first in the conference, and given that the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings are the teams right behind him, Phoenix appears to be in a good position to run away with the top spot in the West.

However, if they want to achieve that, they’re going to need to bring some reinforcements to their roster, especially with Crowder going out the door sooner rather than later. With that in mind, let’s run through the rumors and pick out Sun’s most realistic trading target during the first month of the season and see why the addition of this player could be key in helping Phoenix’s title aspirations.

Sun’s realistic trading target: Bogdan Bogdanovic

With Crowder not playing and Cameron Johnson out for the next month, the Suns are short on wing depth for now. Therefore, using Crowder in a pack to bring in Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Atlanta Hawks would make a lot of sense, and it might be their most likely trade option during the first month of the season.

For starters, the Hawks reportedly have an interest in Crowder, as they also need to beef up their wing rotation. Bogdanovic hasn’t played at all this season as he’s still recovering from knee surgery he underwent last season, though he’s starting practice with the Hawks.

The problem for Bogdanovic is that his role from last season doesn’t really exist now that Dejounte Murray is in town, making him a very likely trade candidate for Atlanta. Bogdanovic is a solid goalscorer who can start or come off the bench, while also handling the ball and defending strongly.

The depth of the Suns has been tested early on and while they’ve held up well so far, it probably won’t last all season. Chris Paul has been missing some time alongside Johnson lately, and while Cameron Payne is filling in for now, the bench is getting thinner and thinner for the Suns.

Using Crowder to get a hold of Bogdanovic feels like a win-win situation for both sides. Particularly for the Suns, Bogdanovic’s versatility on either side of the ball could fit perfectly. He primarily plays as a shooting guard, but he can likely be used as a small forward as Johnson works to find his way back onto the field.

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Even then, the Suns rely on Landry Shamet to fall off the bench at shooting guard, which is a less than ideal scenario. Shamet has some offensive potential, but he can’t defend, and it’s clear that Phoenix could use an upgrade in that spot off the bench, even if they’re completely healthy.

In the short term, however, Bogdanovic would be a crucial asset for the Suns. They could push Mikal Bridgers forward and push Torrey Craig back to the bench to create a spot for Bogdanovic in the starting line-up. Craig is a solid three-and-d guy, but it’s clear Bogdanovic’s advantage in the Phoenix starting lineup would far outweigh Craig’s.

The Suns have a strong team when fully healthy, but their bench could definitely use some upgrades, and getting Shamet out of rotation will be huge. Bogdanovic is a versatile piece who can do many different things on the field, and that would greatly help the Suns in their quest to return to the Finals this season.

Phoenix has a solid piece in Crowder to use in an effort to bring back some talent this season, and it feels like Bogdanovic is probably their best and most realistic trading target for a month of the season. The Hawks probably wouldn’t be too mad about moving away from him, especially if Crowder came their way, and it wouldn’t be surprising if some sort of deal goes down between these two.

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