Word on the Street: Suns, Sonics Closing in on Deal? (Update:12:55 AM)

Word on the Street: Suns, Sonics Closing in on Deal? (Update:12:55 AM)
Jun 24, 2006, 09:12 pm
Multiple sources told DraftExpress today that the Phoenix Suns and Seattle Supersonics are working on a potential blockbuster trade. The Sonics have implied to numerous people over the past 48 hours that “something is going to go down,” white another source in Seattle told us that the Supersonics are “getting very close” to finalizing a trade.

While the exact details of the trade are still unknown, numerous names have been mentioned as key components. The main ones are Shawn Marion and Rashard Lewis, who would be exchanged along with the team’s first round draft choices (#10 for #27). Other pieces that are being discussed include Leandro Barbosa and Danny Fortson.

Seattle is interested in moving Rashard Lewis due to the fact that they believe he will opt out of his contract next summer and will end up losing him for nothing. With so many concerns about the future of the franchise in Seattle, the best way to put fans in the seats is certainly to start winning more games, which is the primary motive of this trade.

Phoenix’s motive is to avoid the luxury tax for next season, which they are dangerously close to, and still keep the team as competitive as they are now. The Suns still have to extend Boris Diaw for 5 years and anywhere from 45-55 million dollars, which would put them well above the luxury tax threshold. With Leandro Barbosa looking for a contract starting in the 7-8 million dollar range, and Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion making max or near max dollars, keeping their core together past next season does not appear to be very likely. Instead, the Suns can save quite a bit of money in the long term by taking on Rashard Lewis’ more affordable deal and securing an immediate contributor (such as Rodney Carney or Ronnie Brewer) on a cheap 4 year rookie contract. Lewis makes over 5 million dollars less than Marion.

Danny Fortson would be used as filler to make the trade work under the cap. He is an ending contract next year and could either give the Suns more toughness, rebounding and depth, be used as trade bait, or bought out of his contract. That depends on whether or not he can resolve his differences with Jerry Colangelo, whom he sued for defamation in 2004 for calling him a “thug” in the media after breaking Zarko Cabarkapa’s wrist in a game between Dallas and Phoenix.

(Update: 12:55) Another trade rumor that is making the rounds involves New Jersey and Philadelphia. The simple version of this trade would have the Sixers sending the #13 pick in the draft to New Jersey in return for the #22 and #23 picks. The Nets would almost certainly be looking to upgrade their frontline, with any of Shelden Williams, Cedric Simmons, Patrick O’Bryant or Hilton Armstrong being feasible options. Philadelphia would likely be looking whoever is left on the board at that point, with players like Maurice Ager, Quincy Douby, Shawne Williams, Mardy Collins or Shannon Brown being the most likely targets.

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