It’s crazy to think that just two years after making a finals appearance, the Phoenix Suns are struggling to stay above .500 and be a consistently competitive team in the West. Injuries to Devin Booker and Cam Johnson, who recently came back, have been devastating. Jae Crowder not playing a single minute has hurt as well.
But the Suns, who currently sit 9.5 games out of first place, are looking to make some changes in an attempt to make a second half run. They’re in search of some answers, both short-term and long-term. While names like Fred VanVleet and Terry Rozier have been floated around, one potential target that has risen as an option (according to Marc Stein), is the Knicks’ Immanuel Quickley.
The Knicks’ sixth man could make a lot of sense in Phoenix for multiple reasons. He is a young and promising guard that could help out immediately and also fit the timeline of their core very nicely post Chris Paul. And his ability to play both on the ball and off the ball, while being a playmaking scoring threat with great defensive intensity would supplement the team’s roster perfectly.
But how likely is it that Quickley ends up a Sun? Because while the Knicks seemed to be open to trading the former Kentucky Wildcat earlier on in the season, they are reportedly less interested in doing so now, with Stein outlining that the Knicks are “increasingly reluctant to part with him.”
And rightfully so. Quickley, despite starting off the season slowly, has been an integral part of the Knicks surprising season. The 23 year-old is playing some of the best basketball of his career right now as he is averaging 17.6PPG, 3.9RPG and 3.4APG on 47.9% shooting from the field over his last 17 games. And he’s done this while turning himself into one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, evident by his defensive rating of 105.9, which ranks fourth in the league.
The Suns do have some nice young pieces like Mikal Bridges, and the aforementioned Johnson, but Phoenix is very unlikely to involve them in a deal for Quickley, meaning the only way a deal gets done is if they move multiple first-round picks or involve other teams. It seems like the Suns are just doing their homework and checking in on potential targets, but as of now, it seems unlikely that Quickley gets sent to the 2021 Western Conference champions.