ESPN Gives Suns High Marks for Trade with Bucks

With the Suns' rebuilding mission clear, ESPN gave Phoenix high marks for following through on that plan.

Caron Butler would have been a part of the Suns' rotation this season, but both he and Suns management were able to make an arrangement that benefitted both sides even better.

For Butler, a return home sets him up for the latter portion of his career in a place that means more than just business. For Phoenix, there's additional room for maneuvering, something General Manager Ryan McDonough can't get enough of.

With that in mind, here's what had to say about the Suns' part in Thursday's trade:

"...the move puts [the Suns] a little more than $5 million below the salary cap. New general manager Ryan McDonough will have that space available to take on a contract from a team trying to shed payroll at the deadline and willing to give up assets in return. For example, the Suns could swallow Steve Blake's $4 million salary to lessen the Lakers' luxury-tax bill.

Because Butler was only going to block Phoenix from giving younger players an opportunity on the wing, the real cost of this deal is merely forgoing the chance to trade Butler to a contender for a draft pick midseason. As a result, we can't completely evaluate the trade until we see how the Suns use their cap space. If they manage to net a first-round pick or equivalent prospect, retroactively bump this grade up to an A."

In short, McDonough and his staff continue to get props for seeing the big picture as the Suns maneuver for significant upgrades just out of eyesight.