The Phoenix Suns made the biggest splash at the trade deadline acquiring 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant as they look to seize their championship window with both hands.
Adding Durant to a core of Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton gives the Suns one of the most formidable four-man lineups in the NBA, but with the landscape of the Western Conference taking on a new-look post-deadline, is it enough to put the Suns over the top?
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According to Suns legend Charles Barkley, their lack of depth could prove to be an issue.
“The West is so good now, you’re going to need a good bench,” Barkley said on TNT.
“You can’t go to war with just KD, [Devin] Booker, and [Deandre] Ayton because the West is so loaded. If they played the Clippers, the Lakers now, I haven’t even mentioned Memphis, your bench is going to be really, really important.”
In acquiring Durant, the Suns had to surrender two promising young players in Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, along with veteran Jae Crowder, although Crowder had yet to suit up for the Suns this season — their depth certainly took a hit.
While the move for Durant elevates their playoff ceiling dramatically, the Suns weren’t the only ones making moves in the Western Conference with the LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks all active at the deadline, looking to compete with the conference-leading Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies, while the Golden State Warriors still loom as a threat as defending champions.
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What they lack in experienced contributors off the bench, the Suns could look to the buyout market to add more veteran players in their quest for a championship.
“The buy-out market, like Chris [Haynes] says, they’re going to have to get some big bodies. You just mentioned Cam Payne, he’s a little guy, T.J. Warren’s a smaller guy, he’s about 6’6, 6’7. I’m talking about after that,” Barkley added.
“They gave up a lot so I think the buy-out market – I’m going to be watching that for my Suns.
“Our starting unit, we’re good to go, but to win three series just to get to the Finals, your bench is going to be huge.”
TSN’s Gil McGregor broke down the top candidates that could be available on the buyout market in the coming days, with the likes of Danny Green, Will Barton, and Reggie Jackson potential fits for the Suns.
Does Phoenix have enough to compete for a championship as currently constructed? They have Kevin Durant, so that’s a good start.