Suns Complete Trades to Add Draft Picks Johnson, Jerome and Veterans Šarić, Baynes
The Phoenix Suns today completed trades with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, acquiring the draft rights to North Carolina forward Cameron Johnson, the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, and Virginia guard Ty Jerome, the 24th overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft, as well as veterans, forward Dario Šarić and center Aron Baynes.
The Suns acquired Šarić and the draft rights to Johnson from Minnesota in exchange for the draft rights to guard Jarrett Culver, the sixth overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft. The Suns acquired Baynes and the draft rights to Jerome from Boston in exchange for a protected 2020 first-round pick via Milwaukee. The Suns also traded forward T.J. Warren and the draft rights to forward KZ Okpala, the 32nd overall pick in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft, to Indiana for cash considerations.
“We are thrilled to welcome Cam, Ty, Dario and Aron to our organization,” said Suns General Manager James Jones. “They are proven winners and provide depth to our roster. Their combination of shooting, versatility and toughness will be extremely valuable as we move forward. The four of them are excited to be part of the Phoenix community and get to work as members of the Suns.”
Johnson, possessing a quick release and widely considered the best shooter in the 2019 NBA Draft, was North Carolina’s leading scorer in 2018-19 while helping the Tar Heels to a share of the ACC regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. He led the ACC and ranked seventh in the nation by shooting 45.7% from three-point range, the fifth-highest single-season mark in UNC history, while his 96 total three-point makes were the second-most in a single season in program history. The 23-year-old earned 2018-19 All-ACC First Team honors, averaging 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals, shooting 50.6% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line in addition to his three-point marksmanship.
The 6-9, 205-pound wing played his final two seasons at North Carolina after playing his first three collegiate seasons at Pittsburgh. Over his two seasons in Chapel Hill, Johnson averaged 15.0 points on 41.1% from beyond the arc and 82.8% from the stripe, the sixth- and 11th-highest shooting marks, respectively, in UNC history. Johnson averaged 11.9 points on 41.5% shooting from three-point territory in his third and final season at Pitt in 2016-17, then graduated with honors in three years and was able to transfer to North Carolina without missing a season. A native of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Johnson completed his high school career at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, where he averaged 27.8 points as a senior to earn second-team Class A all-state honors. Both his parents played college basketball as his mother, Amy Schuler Johnson, scored over 1,000 points at Kent State and his father, Gilbert Johnson, also played at Pitt.
Jerome, a do-it-all guard with exceptional court vision and feel for the game, guided Virginia to its first NCAA Championship and a school-record 35 wins this past season. He led the ACC with 5.5 assists per game in addition to averaging 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals while ranking fifth in the ACC by shooting 39.9% from three-point range and fifth in the nation with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.31. The 21-year-old was named to the 2019 Final Four All-Tournament Team and the All-South Regional Team as he averaged 16.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in six NCAA tournament games, recording 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and just one turnover in the national championship victory over Texas Tech. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 assists in two games at the Final Four in Minneapolis; according to Sports Reference, Jerome joined Oscar Robertson (1959, 1960) and Magic Johnson (1979) as the only players to average at least 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists at a Final Four.
The 6-5, 195-pound guard played three seasons at Virginia, starting all 71 of his appearances over the past two seasons as the Cavaliers posted a 66-6 (.917) overall record, culminating in the national title in 2019. For his career, he averaged 9.6 points, 3.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 steals, while shooting 43.5% from the field, 39.2% from three-point range and 78.8% from the free throw line. Jerome was named to the All-ACC Second Team in 2018-19 and Third Team in 2017-18. The New York, New York native played high school ball at Iona Preparatory School in New Rochelle, New York, earning first-team all-state honors as a junior. Both his parents played college basketball as his mother, Melanie Walker, played at Brandeis and his father, Mark Jerome, played at Lafayette.
Šarić, the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year runner-up, has played three NBA seasons with Philadelphia and Minnesota, possessing career averages of 12.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 43.3% from the field, 35.8% from three-point range and 83.5% from the free throw line in 240 games (150 starts). He has also appeared in 10 career playoff games (all with the 76ers in 2018), and holds career postseason averages of 17.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Šarić has totaled 381 regular-season three-pointers in his career, the 13th-most in NBA history through three seasons, and he is the only player in NBA history to total at least 350 three-pointers and 1,350 rebounds over his first three combined seasons.
The 6-10, 225-pound power forward was originally the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by Orlando before making his NBA debut with Philadelphia in 2016 and earning NBA All-Rookie First Team honors in 2016-17 after averaging 12.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. In his sophomore season of 2017-18, he posted career highs of 14.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game, 45.3% shooting from the field and 39.3% shooting from three-point range as he helped the 76ers return to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The 25-year-old began the 2018-19 season with Philadelphia before being traded to Minnesota where he averaged 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds on 45.4% field goal shooting, 38.3% three-point shooting and 87.5% free throw shooting in 68 games.
A native of Šibenik, Croatia, Šarić played professionally in Europe from 2009-2016 before moving to the NBA. He was twice named the FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and was MVP of the Adriatic League while playing for Cibona Zagreb in 2014. His final two seasons in Europe were spent with Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Super League and the EuroLeague. In addition to his professional career, Šarić has represented Croatia in multiple international competitions. He earned MVP honors to lead Croatia to gold medals at the 2010 FIBA Europe U16 Championship and the 2012 FIBA Europe U18 Championship, and has played for the Croatian senior national team at the 2016 Olympic Games, the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, and FIBA EuroBasket in 2017, 2015 and 2013.
Baynes, a 2014 NBA Champion, is a seven-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 49.8% from the field and 80.8% from the line in 427 games (109 starts) with San Antonio, Detroit and Boston. The 32-year-old has also appeared in 54 career playoff games over six postseasons, making 17 starts and averaging 3.6 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 49.7% from the field and 75.0% from the stripe. Baynes appeared in 14 playoff games during the Spurs’ run to the 2014 NBA Championship, recording points in each of the final three games against Miami in the NBA Finals.
The bruising 6-10, 260-pound center went undrafted in 2009 then began his professional career by playing four seasons with clubs in Lithuania, Germany, Greece and Slovenia. On January 23, 2013, he signed with San Antonio and made his NBA debut two days later. Baynes played his first three seasons with San Antonio, where he averaged a career-high 6.6 points on 56.6% shooting in 70 games in 2014-15. He then signed with Detroit where he played from 2015-2017, before signing with Boston where he has played the past two seasons. Baynes started 67 of his 81 appearances at center for the Celtics in 2017-18, averaging a career-high 5.4 rebounds in addition to 6.0 points. He averaged 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 51 games this past season, while shooting 47.1% from the field, 34.4% from three-point range and 85.5% from the free throw line.
Born in Gisborne, New Zealand, Baynes grew up in Mareeba, Queensland, Australia where he played rugby league before picking up basketball at age 15. Following his high school career and one season at the Australian Institute of Sport, he played four collegiate seasons at Washington State from 2005-2009, helping the Cougars to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 2008. Baynes has represented the Australian senior national team at the Olympic Games in 2016 and 2012, the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the 2010 FIBA World Championship, and the 2011 and 2009 FIBA Oceania Championship, winning gold in 2011. He is on Australia’s initial roster for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup to be played in China later this summer.
Johnson will wear uniform No. 23, Jerome No. 10, and Baynes No. 46 for the Suns. Šarić’s number will be determined at a later time.