If the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Bobcats are serious about making the playoffs this season they need to try and trade for Evan Turner of the Philadelphia 76ers. Both the Bobcats and the Suns are somewhat of a surprise this season, and neither team has been to the playoffs since the 2009-10 season. The only problem for both Phoenix and Charlotte is that they are in heated races to secure a playoff spot this year; Phoenix is in a three-way tie for eighth in the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks while the Memphis Grizzlies are only three games back. Charlotte, meanwhile, is tied with the Detroit Pistons for eighth in the Eastern Conference with the New York Knicks only two games back. So making the playoffs isn’t a guarantee for either franchise.
You can bet that teams like Detroit, Memphis and Dallas are going to try to improve their teams to secure a playoff berth, meaning the job for Phoenix and Charlotte to break their three-year playoff drought is going to get tougher. Adding Turner to either roster makes sense for both teams, and they both have the cap space as well as the necessary ammo to land Turner, most notably extra first-round draft picks this season.
The deal that would make sense for Phoenix would be swapping P.J. Tucker, Archie Goodwin and their own first-round pick (they also own the Washington Wizards‘ first pick, the Indiana Pacers‘ first pick and Minnesota Timberwolves‘ first pick as long as it isn’t in the top 13) for Turner. This would give the Suns another scorer to play alongside Goran Dragic and ease some of the pressure on him while Eric Bledsoe is out recovering from meniscus surgery. Turner would also fit in well with Phoenix’s uptempo style as he is a great ball-handler, finishes at the rim very well and os great in the mid-range with jumpers and floaters. He isn’t a strong three-point shooter, but his ability to get to the rim would lead to more open threes for Channing Frye, Gerald Green and Marcus Morris, all of whom are having great seasons from behind the arc.
Turner would also be an asset for the Suns going forward if they decided to make him a qualifying offer this summer or a long-term deal. With Dragic and Bledsoe in the fold for the future, Turner could be the ultimate sixth-man with his scoring and passing.
Trading for Turner would also be ideal for the Bobcats’ run towards the playoffs. Look, New York is playing very poorly, but with Carmelo Anthony and the rest of their overpriced roster there is no way they are giving up on the playoffs; Charlotte is going to have to earn their spot. Adding a guy like Turner would increase their chances. A trade of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and the rights to the Portland Trail Blazers‘ first-round pick, which Charlotte owns, for Turner would be enough to entice the Sixers as well as improve the Bobcats roster.
Giving up on Kidd-Gilchrist will not be that big of a deal. He is set to make $5.02 million next season and $6.33 million the following season, and for Charlotte to make him a qualifying offer after that they would have to offer a one-year deal for over $8.7 million for the 2016-17 season. I know it has only been one and one half years, but it is safe to say MKG is never going to live up to the No. 2 overall pick and will not be worth over $8 million in the next three seasons.
Adding Turner would give the Bobcats another scoring threat to go with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. Charlotte would be able to take advantage of their great defensive improvement — they are up to sixth in the league in defensive efficiency — and maybe win some games with their offense.
These two teams are headed in the right direction, but if they want to reach their goal of competing one year sooner than expected trading for Turner is the way to go. Giving up a late first-round pick for a proven NBA player on a decent contract is always a no-brainer.