There has been a significant amount of buzz in the last few weeks that Phoenix Suns small forward Devin Booker would like out of Phoenix. Booker is locked up for the next five years and has $27.2 million per year coming his way.
That’s a significant chunk of change for any team, particularly contenders like the Celtics and Sixers – who would need to ship out one of their top four stars in order to land the high-scoring swingman.
The Celtics were the team mentioned as the most likely suitor for Booker in recent weeks as Danny Ainge is said to be a fan (Booker once scored 70 points against Boston at TD Garden). Boston would need to ship out Gordon Hayward to match the money, and would obviously need to send all of their other assets – most notably the first rounder they’re set to receive from the Grizzlies – to even get Phoenix general manager James Jones to entertain trading Booker.
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The Sixers would need to ship out either Tobias Harris or Ben Simmons in a swap for Booker, and both are highly unlikely. Teams cannot trade newly signed free agents until December, and Simmons just signed an extension in Philly. The only scenario in which this would make sense is if the Sixers get off to a disastrous start to the 2019-20 season and Elton Brand immediately knows he has to shake things up. It should be noted that Brand is not afraid to swing for the fences early in the season, as the trade for Jimmy Butler occurred in early November last year.
If Booker is traded, it’s much more likely that he is traded to a lower-level team with significant cap space. The Knicks have obviously been unable to land any big stars, foundation-like players, through free agency and desperately need a centerpiece. Booker would fit the bill, and he is someone who craves a bigger market.
All told, a Booker trade this season is highly unlikely. But next summer things could get very interesting if the status quo remains in Phoenix.