So much for sitting back and waiting to see what opportunities might become available at the trade deadline or next summer.
The Suns shocked the known world today by trading Leandro Barbosa to the Toronto Raptors for Hedo Turkoglu while also acquiring 6-foot-8 swingman Josh Childress from the Hawks in a sign-and-trade that only cost the Suns a future second-round pick. The contract of Dwayne Jones was reportedly also included in the deal with the Raptors, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, who first broke the news.
That's the deal(s). Now, let's take a deep breath and over-react with some initial thoughts and analysis.
The On-Court Impact
This will be interesting to say the least, and anything I am about to write is snap-reaction and will likely change through training camp and the preseason.
According to Coro's report, Hedo will start for the Suns at the power forward position, which pushes Hakim Warrick to the bench, where he's played most of his career. We can also assume that Robin Lopez would start at center with Channing Frye backing him up. Behind those four players would be Earl Clark and perhaps Gani Lawal or even Dwayne Collins if he impresses in training camp.
At the small forward, the Suns would certainly continue to start Grant Hill, but perhaps try and limit his minutes to about 20 or 25 per game. Jared Dudley would back him up, along with Earl Clark and Josh Childress.
One would imagine that Childress would split time in the small forward rotation and could also play behind Jason Richardson at shooting guard. It should be noted that J-Rich only has one year left on his contract.
Having Josh under contract for the next five years could make Jason more expendable and perhaps the kind of trade piece that could be used down the road to acquire a big name player should one become available.
Front Court Rebounding and Defense
The immediate concern with a front line that would start Hedo as a stretch four next to Robin Lopez is rebounding. Turkoglu has almost always played the small forward position during this career. He's averaged only 4.3 rebounds per game over his 10-year career.
While he is 6-foot-10, he's is not a particularly big and strong player, so it is hard to imagine how he will fare against the likes of Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin or Dirk Nowitzki.
SB Nation's Orlando Magic blogger Evan Dunlap has plenty of experience watching Hedo and had this to say in response to my e-mailed question about Hedo's potential to defend and rebound the power forward position.
I'm inclined to think that Turk would get killed at PF on defense, because he's not particularly strong. But watching him in Orlando, he's actually not terrible. He's smart. Knows where to send his guy, knows what to take away. And he's not a guy who takes plays off defensively...But he may pleasantly surprise you on defense.But as a rebounder? Forget it. He's one of the worst rebounders at his size in NBA history. He'll get you the occasional 8-board game, but in no way is he a glass eater, especially not when he leaks out in transition and calls for the ball so he can run the break.
The contract that Childress reportedly agreed to is $33 million over five years, which, in the scheme of such things, seems fair for a player of Josh's talents. A $6.6 million average for a guy who can play for the shooting guard and small forward and is known as an excellent perimeter defender who can also shoot the ball pretty well.
The Suns will reportedly use a portion of their trade exception to get Childress. After this transaction, they should still have about $6 million in trade exception left to use elsewhere.
Turkoglu was one of the more coveted free agents last summer when he turned down an offer from the Portland Trail Blazers to take a five year, $52.8 million deal from the Raptors. He is set to make $9.8 million this season with annual increases taking his salary to $12 million in the final year of the deal (2012/13).
According to the respected web site Sham Sports, Hedo's deal includes a 15 percent trade kicker and the final year of the deal has an early termination clause. Trade kickers can generally be waived by the player and considering that he asked to be traded, one can imagine it will be here. Hedo, who's real name is Hidayet, is 31 years old, meaning he will be 35 in his final year of that contract.
Leandro Barbosa will make $7.1 million this season and has a player option for the following season for $7.6 million. Dwayne Jones' non-guaranteed contract is for just under $1 million for next season.
Netting it Out
In these two contracts, the Suns are taking on $73.8 million in new contract obligations while giving up $14.7 million owed Barbosa. That's a net of $59.1 million in long-term salary. Add to that Channing Frye's $30 million and Hakim Warrick's $18 million and the Suns' "cheap" owner has spent $110.1 million since July 1.
I don't even begin to know how to react to that.
The Josh Childress deal is fantastic. He's a dynamic player who's been coveted by many teams and, at 27 years old, is coming into his prime. To get him for only a second-round pick is a steal. He provides depth at two positions that both happen to be occupied by guys (Hill and Richardson) who have only one year left on their contracts. Childress is a player who can and should start for an NBA team, unlike a role player like Jared Dudley, who is best in a reserve role.
Childress will make the Suns better defensively and, if he can improve his 3-point shooting from his career average of .360, then he can fit nicely with the Suns as a spot-up shooter. His .522 overall field goal shooting in four years with the Atlanta Hawks is the sign of a highly efficient offensive player, which is exactly what the Suns covet.
A+ for pulling off this deal.
Hedo Turkuglo is going to take some more convincing. He's a unique player, but as stated above, will likely struggle defensively at the power forward and create even more problems on the defensive glass.
If he eventually moves back to small forward when Hill retires and the Suns find a better option to start at the four, then that will probably make more sense. In the meantime, there are concerns over a guy who chose as a free agent to go to Toronto and then asked to be traded after only one season. A friend of mine who covered the Raptors this season responded with "good luck" when I asked if he was a good guy.
At 31 years old, with four years left on his contract, this is a much bigger risk. I can't help but think of another 6-foot-10 foreign player (Peja Stojakovic) who signed a long-term deal with the Hornets that has turned into a giant drain on their team. That's the worst-case scenario. Of course, with news that the Suns' head trainer Aaron Nelson has also re-signed with the Suns for four more years, we can hope that the healing magic continues and Hedo remains productive.
Trading Leandro Barbosa is a wise move. His time here had run its course and with the development of Goran Dragic, his services became redundant. He is a great teammate and fantastic person and for those reasons will be missed, but losing him isn't a big blow to the team's on-court potential.
There's a lot of unanswered questions with Hedo and this deal could go either way. It could prove to be a fantastic move if he stays healthy and plays well or it could certainly be a bust.
I am giving this deal a C.
Once again, the Suns prove to be a team willing to make moves and shake things up. There's never a dull moment and if nothing else, there will be plenty to talk about when the team takes the court in October.