The Phoenix Suns have allegedly acquired forward Darius Bazley from the Oklahoma City Thunder before of Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline.
The Thunder will acquire forward Dario Ari and a second-round draught pick in exchange, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The alleged move comes just hours after the Suns agreed to a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets in which they received Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren in exchange for Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder, and four unprotected first-round selections.
Durant’s arrival provides the Suns a nucleus of KD, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, reestablishing them as one of the Western Conference’s top contenders.
The Suns began to work on filling out the supporting cast after the starting lineup was virtually set, and Bazley may be a perfect fit as a bench player for a club with championship ambitions.
The 6’9 “He was the Thunder’s No. 23 overall choice in the 2019 draught, and he played a significant part in his second and third NBA seasons until falling out of favour this season.
Bazley started 55 games in 2020-21, averaging 13.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.5 three-pointers per game.
Last season, he started 53 of 69 games and averaged 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.2 trifectas, and 1.0 block per game.
Bazley has started only one of the 36 games he has played in this season, averaging 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.
Despite having less chances, Bazley has been more effective with his playing time this season, shooting a career-high 44.9 percent from the floor and 40.0 percent from outside the arc.
Bazley is a long, rangy defender with some three-point shooting potential who might be a valuable member of the Suns bench and possibly a part-time starter.
He’s also just 22 years old and will be a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the season, which means he may be a part of Phoenix’s core for years to come.
The Thunder have some promising elements for the future and have been better than projected this season with a 26-28 record, but even if they make the playoffs this season, they won’t be much of a danger.
ari offers them an expiring contract that they may either sell or maintain for the rest of the year as experienced reinforcement.
The No. 12 overall choice in the 2014 draught, the 28-year-old has never lived up to his lofty ranking. The Croatian native missed the whole 2017-18 season due to a ruptured ACL before playing a limited role for the Suns this season.
The 6’10” forward appeared in 37 games, including 12 starts “The big man averages 5.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game.
Although ari isn’t a horrible player, Bazley provides the Suns more youth, vitality, and adaptability, which could help them in a future championship run.
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