Assessing a Milwaukee Bucks’ trade package for Jalen Smith

Jan 2, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns: Jalen Smith
Jan 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

The lunacy behind this Jalen Smith trade for the Milwaukee Bucks

First and foremost, the Suns may not want to make a trade with another contending organization, especially one that they met in the NBA Finals last season. Yes, the two sides made a simple trade including Torrey Craig for cash considerations before last year’s deadline, but that was long before these two sides knew that they would meet on the biggest stage possible. With the thought that they could potentially meet again in mind, they might be hesitant to engage in any trade talks.

Phoenix may also have some issues with the proposed trade package. While they have failed to utilize Smith consistently, this is a player that they selected 10th overall two years ago. Are two veterans that are both having lackluster seasons and a second round pick potentially enough to make them deal him? It is a viable question. However, the Suns themselves signaled that they were giving up on Smith after they declined his third-year option prior to the season, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Rather than possibly lose him for nothing, they could at least add something.

Back to Milwaukee’s side of things, there could be some skepticism about how Smith fits with the defending champions. At 21-years-old, he is very inexperienced, and it says something that he has failed to play many meaningful minutes for Phoenix since being drafted. He could be viewed as a project player that needs time to develop rather than someone that could help right now. In that case, some may argue that the Bucks would be better off utilizing Sandro Mamukelashvili, their rookie second round big man.

There are some questions regarding how Smith may fit on the floor as well. Shooting just 22.4 percent from three for his career, the big man is not a reliable outside shooter like what the Bucks typically target. He is also not outstanding on the defensive end either, which is one of the biggest gripes that many have with Mamukelashvili and why he cannot get consistent minutes. There are other veteran centers out on the market that could be more fitting targets because they would fit better on offense or defense. Smith is still somewhat of an unknown enigma.