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Odegard: Suns Were Smart to Ignore Superteam Backlash Before Bradley Beal Trade

The Phoenix Suns made a blockbuster trade for Bradley Beal over the weekend, giving up a diminished Chris Paul and reserve guard Landry Shamet for the three-time NBA All-Star.

Beal’s multi-year cap charge is hefty and he has an injury history, so I’m not oblivious to the potential downside of the deal, but the backlash was surprising.

ESPN gave the Suns a ‘D’ grade for the transaction while plenty of others screamed about the lack of options to fill out the roster now that another high-priced piece has been added.

Essentially, there is superteam fatigue right now, and while it is understandable, it’s also short-sighted.

The Nets are the poster child for what can go wrong when teaming up multiple high-level stars. Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden were supposed to bring championships to Brooklyn, but instead brought controversy, trade demands and injuries.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets used organic cohesiveness to spur them to this year’s title. 

Denver’s draft-and-develop model is preferable, and the Nuggets will be a huge mountain to climb for every Western Conference contender in 2023-24, but make no mistake: the trio of Durant, Beal and Devin Booker gives the Suns championship upside, and using Brookyln’s superteam failure ignores the history of success that can be found when pairing three elite players.

The Celtics were probably the first to engineer such a scenario in 2007, when they added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to play alongside Paul Pierce. Boston went 66-16 and won the NBA title in 2008.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in Miami in 2010, and the Heat made four straight NBA Finals and won two championships.

Most recently, the Golden State Warriors weren’t shy about adding Durant even after they found fantastic success with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green playing together. 

Any worries about there being one basketball for three shooters dissipated as they won two straight titles.

For the most part, failed superteams were dealt bad injury luck, or the stars that came together were past their prime. It’s a fair argument that Durant and Beal are on the backside of their careers, but at 34 and 29, it’s not like they are close to the end.

The Suns should be an absolute force on offense, with three players capable of creating on their own while also knocking down shots from long-range when the defense gets sucked into the paint.

Perimeter shooting was the biggest thing missing in the playoffs, as the Suns were low on outside shooters after Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and Mikal Bridges were traded.

But Phoenix was trying to win on the fly last year. Now they have a full offseason to tweak the roster to new coach Frank Vogel’s specifications. The Suns have +650 odds to win the NBA title at BetMGM, which is fourth-best in the league and right there with Denver, Boston and Milwaukee.

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While they don’t have a lot of cap space, owner Mat Ishbia has shown a willingness to spend no matter the financial ramifications, and there is little doubt that established veterans will want to join this group in pursuit of a ring.

The Suns could have tried to spread the money out and add more depth around Durant and Booker, but the key ingredient to a championship in the NBA is often three very good players who jell on the court.

Beal is a talented player who has not been a lightning rod for controversy, and one who has lost a bunch in his career. He will very likely fit in well, alongside a pair of stars in Booker and Durant who seem very motivated to win a title.

Not every superteam works, but plenty of them have, and the Suns were smart to ignore Brooklyn’s failures to give themselves a great shot at next year’s title.


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