NBA

Luka Doncic has strong case to be number one pick but Phoenix Suns open to trading selection

Jay Asser 17:23 19/05/2018
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Luka Doncic scored 16 points in the EuroLeague Final Four win.

While there are signs pointing to the Phoenix Suns taking Luka Doncic with the number one overall selection in the NBA draft, general manager Ryan McDonough revealed the team is open to trading the pick for the right price.

Phoenix won the draft lottery to receive the top selection after going a league-worst 21-61 this season.

Doncic is widely considered one of the top prospects, with the 19-year-old having gained valuable professional experience in the EuroLeague.

On Friday, the Real Madrid star led the Spanish club to a 92-83 win over CSKA Moscow in the EuroLeague Final Four, producing 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists to help secure his side a spot in the championship.

Phoenix already have a link with Doncic after hiring new head coach Igor Kokoskov, who coached the Slovenian national when the pair captured the gold medal at last year’s European championship.

Though Kokoskov’s hiring and Doncic’s pedigree may make his status as the top pick a foregone conclusion, McDonough pumped the brakes by suggesting the prized asset isn’t untouchable.

“We’re certainly open to that. We’ll consider it,” McDonough said of a potential trade in an interview on ESPN2. “Obviously, we’ll have more information closer to the draft than we do today, after we go through the workout process and the interview process and we get the medical physicals. So we’re open to that.

“I think if you look around the NBA, as far as the veteran players, there are probably a few players we’d consider trading the pick for, not… just pick for player No. 1. So it’ll be a busy month for us.”

It’s unclear which players the Suns would consider trading the pick for, but two potential candidates are San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns.

Leonard’s saga with the Spurs has been well documented after he sat out most of the season amidst a mysterious injury situation.

Towns may not be as obvious as a target, but rumours have recently swirled that the big man has been unhappy in Minnesota with the current state of the Timberwolves.

Adding fuel to speculation fire was Suns guard Devin Booker, who posted a picture of Towns in his Phoenix jersey on social media on Friday. Booker and Towns were teammates in their lone college season at Kentucky.

There is slight doubt that Doncic will enter the draft, although his declaration may be nothing more of a formality.

Following the EuroLeauge Final Four victory on Friday, Doncic sounded like he was ready to head to the NBA, saying: “To say goodbye with [a Euroleague title] would be very special.”

A day before the game, Doncic was more non-committal, saying: “I don’t know if these are my last two games in Europe.

“I am still weighing my options and I will make that decision at the end of the season.”

According to various reports, Doncic could have some leverage on where he gets drafted because he’s still under contract with Real Madrid and could ultimately remain in Europe.

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