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NBA Trade Rumors: Luke Kennard could be traded to the Suns for a first-round pick, young assets

Jeff Bower, who drafted Kennard, now works in Phoenix front office

Washington Wizards v Detroit Pistons Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns have engaged in talks on a trade centered around Luke Kennard for a future first-round pick, elie Okobo and Jevon Carter, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Kennard has missed 22 games with knee tendinitis but is expected back in the lineup around the All-Star Break.

Detroit’s willingness to part with a young asset like the 23-year-old Kennard is surprising, and would be the clearest sign yet the franchise has an eye toward a longer-term rebuild and is trying to amass assets.

There is also the potential for one of the following: 1. The team does not 100% trust Kennard’s long-term health as he’s already dealing with knee issues that has seen him miss significant time this season. 2. Kennard’s defensive limitations put a ceiling on his long-term potential.

In the piece, Woj writes that Phoenix sees him as a high-minute six man who can complement the Suns’ other young players with his ball handling and perimeter scoring. Detroit might actually see the same thing in Kennard, and want to gamble on the potential that the first-round pick they’d get in return could net a starter level player.

As far as the other young players, Carter is an undersized reserve point guard in his second season. Okobo is a low-first round pick who hasn’t wowed but could still develop. While Detroit is interested in accumulating assets the success of the deal seemingly would hinge on the future first-round pick.

Pure speculation, but if the pick is for the 2020 draft you’d have to imagine that the pick would be a lightly protected (in case Phoenix jumps in the lottery), but would still net Detroit a lottery pick unless Phoenix goes on an unlikely run this season.

Right now, Tankathon has Phoenix selecting 11th overall. It’s important to note, however, that Phoenix has the third toughest remaining schedule in the NBA.

There have been rumblings that Detroit was desperate to add a lottery pick to their coffers, hoping for one in any Andre Drummond or Derrick Rose trade. It seems like that was too high a price for those veterans, but things could be different if they’re willing to part with a productive player on a rookie deal like Kennard.

Luke is averaging 15.8 points and four assists while shooting 40% from 3 on high volume and playing a career-high 32.9 minutes per game.

The Pistons and Suns play each other Wednesday in their final games before the NBA trade deadline. Things could get interesting.