After catching wind that the Warriors have been monitoring trade possibilities for the big man, Suns fans and Phoenix media started formulating their own trades for the noted friend of Devin Booker. Understandable, but not very realistic. Unless, of course, Devin Booker starts acting like a superstar.
First off, who says Towns would be happy in Phoenix? That is, after all, the reason the Warriors are exploring trades for him in the first place. He's reportedly unhappy in Minnesota. You can sell me on the friendship with Devin Booker all you want, but friendship only goes so far. Let's say you're in the restaurant business. If your best friend worked at a place with constant management turnover, cheap ownership, and a below average staff, would your best friend be enough to lure you in? What if there was another restaurant courting you at same time, but their ownership was considered cutting-edge, their management was stable and had a proven track record of success, and their staff was the gold standard of the industry? Most would chose excellence over friendship.
Karl-Anthony presumably wants out of Minnesota because the team has never been great, the market is irrelevant, and he sees other stars like Anthony Davis and Paul George pursuing excellence. Which part one of those gripes do the Phoenix Suns remedy? The Warriors, on the other hand, present a brand new arena (not just renovated), a nationally relevant brand, a proven head coach and multiple-championship-winning stars in Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
I will say this: The superstar move for Devin Booker would be to work the phones like crazy for the next several weeks. Talk to management, leverage what he means to the Phoenix basketball world, and demand that James Jones figures something out. Get on the line with Towns. Sell him on Monty Williams, sell him on living in Phoenix, the whole thing. One of the many ways LeBron James changed the NBA is that being a superstar no longer stops on the court. It's everything. It's your brand, it's your business ventures, and it's recruiting. Championships define legacies, and in 2019/2020, recruiting defines your ability to win rings. Just look at the Lakers and Clippers, the two title favorites whose stars recruited their counterparts.
For an A minus-level star like Towns, the Suns would probably have to give up DeAndre Ayton, Cam Johnson, and multiple draft picks. The price could be even more steep. But let's say that's all the Suns have to give up. A team left with Towns, Booker, Rubio, Baynes and Saric would be better than the current form of the Suns, but certainly not better than the Rockets, Clippers or Lakers. Don't forget that the Warriors will return to form next year as well. They'd be the fourth or fifth best team in the West, and that's actually good enough for me. It would mean that the Suns would have to leverage free agency instead of the draft to get better in coming years, but that's the most efficient way to win anyway.
It is highly unrealistic to think that if Karl-Anthony Towns was to approve a trade, he'd OK one to Phoenix over Golden State based on his friendship with Devin Booker. Don't forget, powerful stars like LeBron James spent the first few months of this season yearning for their "best friend" Carmelo Anthony to get back into the league, while doing nothing to force their team's hand in signing him.
Friendship only goes so far, but if Devin Booker is a true superstar, he'll do everything in his power to leverage his with Karl-Anthony Towns.