Suns Urged to Make Deal for $24 Million Ex-Lottery Pick

Killian Hayes

Getty Killian Hayes drives the ball for the Pistons in 2021.

The Phoenix Suns made significant roster upgrades over the last several months, most notably the additions of All-Stars Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant. But even with all of the moves general manager James Jones has made to build an even stronger title contender, the Suns still have holes on their roster.

One of those holes is at the point guard position. Although the franchise announced earlier this month that Beal would start in the one-guard slot, the Suns still do not know who their floor general will be for the reserve unit. Jesse Cinquini of Clutch Points believes the Suns should explore a deal to land Detroit Pistons point guard Killian Hayes.

“Booker is an underrated playmaker, but he is also most comfortable playing the shooting guard position. So, the Suns would be wise to add another playmaking point guard to their roster via trade this summer,” Cinquini writes.

“And one name in particular who makes a lot of sense for the Suns to target is Detroit Pistons point guard Killian Hayes.”

Hayes is entering the final year of a 4-year/ $24 million contract and is set to be a restricted free agent next summer.

Killian Hayes Named ‘Borderline Elite Playmaker’

As the age-old saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hayes was selected by the Pistons with the seventh overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. But unfortunately for the young guard, he was the beginning of a trend that has backfired. After drafting Hayes in 2020, the Pistons selected Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Ausar Thompson, making it four consecutive years Detroit has spent their lottery pick on a guard. Consequently, it has made their backcourt very crowded.

But the Pistons’ overabundance of guards, could be a blessing for the Suns, who are in dire need of a playmaker like Hayes.

“Killian Hayes functioned as a borderline elite playmaker with the Pistons during the 2022-23 regular season. He dished out an impressive 6.2 assists per game, the highest on Detroit’s roster,” Cinquini writes.

“And Hayes’ assists per game average becomes even more impressive when compared with the rest of the league. Hayes’ 6.2 assists average was the 19th-highest in the entire NBA among all qualified players during the 2022-23 campaign.”

Killian Hayes Could Benefit From Change of Scenery

A lot of times in the NBA, players may go through a rough stretch, and the only thing that can break them out of their funk is a change of scenery. Hayes impressed during his rookie campaign averaging 10.3 points per game. But his scoring has decreased significantly over the last two seasons. Last season he averaged just 6.8 points.

The Pistons appear to be heading toward yet another reconstruction period. After hiring a new head coach in Monty Williams, making a trade to land them Brooklyn Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris, and the addition of Thompson in the draft, it is hard to see where Hayes will fit in the Pistons’ future.

But departing the Pistons does not have to be all bad for the third-year guard. Getting the opportunity to play behind three of the league’s top-scoring assassins, Devin Booker, Beal, and Durant, could be exactly what Hayes needs to become a threat on the floor outside his playmaking ability. It could be a deal that benefits both sides.