Devin Booker-Kyle Kuzma trade between Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers very doubtful

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ATLANTA – Now this probably won’t happen, but it’s certainly an interesting topic of discussion.

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith went into one of his patent bombasts Tuesday morning on “First Take” that ended with him saying the Los Angeles Lakers should trade for Devin Booker to compete with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 6.

“I love Kyle Kuzma and I want him to stay a Laker, but we’re talking basketball here, Max,” said Smith to his First Take partner, Max Kellerman, in the studio. “And if I could package Kuzma with a multitude of players and even a pick, and I could get myself Devin Booker to join Anthony Davis and LeBron James? Would I do that? Hell yes.”

Smith later said he “loves” Booker and gave props to head coach Monty Williams, general manager James Jones and even team owner Robert Sarver for how things are going for the Suns this season.

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“I think what has happened to (Booker) in Phoenix has been criminal until they hired Monty Williams because Monty Williams can coach and I’m proud of the job that he’s doing,” Smith said. “And he’s exactly what that franchise needed. Finally, Sarver did something right. You’ve got James Jones in the front office. Good brother as well and I’m proud of what I’m seeing from Phoenix.”

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The Suns (16-23) are 1½ games behind Memphis and San Antonio for the eighth spot in the Western Conference going into tonight’s game at Atlanta (8-32), which has the NBA’s worst record.

It took Phoenix 68 games to win 16 last season before posting the second-worst record in franchise history at 19-63. The Suns are improved, but Smith could see Booker as a short and long-term answer for the Lakers.

“LeBron James has about three years left,” Smith said. “Not on his contract, but LeBron James is going to be at LeBron James level for about two more years. You can say he has three or four years left. The future of the Lakers could be potentially Anthony Davis and Devin Booker. What the hell is wrong with that? I would entertain it if I could pull if off, I’d do it, but they need something like that to go up against the Clippers.”

Smith earlier admitted he’s back and forth when it comes to evaluating the Lakers’ championship hopes. He first said the Lakers should look to sign a “big-man marksman” like a Kyle Korver, a career 42.9% shooter from 3 who is in Milwaukee averaging just 6.1 points a game, his lowest since his rookie year.

Then he went full blown Booker-to-Lakers-for-Kuzma mode.

This take feeds into the narrative that Phoenix may someday lose Booker to a franchise like the Lakers, but the odds of that happening this season is very slim to none.

In the future?

Teams are going to make a play for Booker because he’s young, talented and could be considered a final piece to take a very good team to a championship level. The best way the Suns can combat that is to put together a roster around him that can not only win, but compete for a championship.

Hiring Williams was the huge first step in that direction. The Suns made offseason moves to surround Booker with the best collection of players in terms of cohesiveness he’s ever had in the desert.

However, more needs to be done for Phoenix to take that next step.

Right now, the Suns are building chemistry and establishing a culture. Making the playoffs would really make a statement, increase confidence and attract free agents to consider joining them.

That’s a process.

The here and now something else – and while Smith’s trade idea is highly unlikely, it makes highly interesting banter wondering how the Lakers would look with James, Davis – and Booker.

Have opinion about current state of the Suns? Reach Suns Insider Duane Rankin at dmrankin@gannett.com or contact him at 480-787-1240. Follow him on Twitter at @DuaneRankin.

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