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Phoenix Suns Reportedly Pursued Playoff Hero During Season

Suns owner Mat Ishbia speaks with the press during a news conference at Footprint Center in Phoenix on May 1, 2024.

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports, the Phoenix Suns reportedly showed interest in acquiring Indiana Pacers guard TJ McConnell during the 2023-24 season.

“He has one year remaining beyond this season on his current deal, an attractive salary as league executives view TJ McConnell as one of the best reserves in the league. His value contract, in addition to his endless battery, most notably drew trade inquiries from the Phoenix Suns throughout this past season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”

Ultimately, no trade between the two teams came to fruition. The Suns, who ended the regular season as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference, struggled without a traditional point guard in the starting lineup. If they had acquired McConnell, the team would have had a point guard who could contribute on both sides of the ball.

Phoenix Suns Reportedly Pursued Playoff Hero During Season

TJ McConnell’s 2024 Playoff Success

Currently, McConnell is enjoying some of the best basketball of his career during the Pacers’ playoff run. The 32-year-old is averaging 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Furthermore, he is shooting 49.1% from the field. Despite playing solely on the bench this postseason, McConnell has scored at least 15 points in a game five times. This includes his 23-point performance against the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. In the game, he also recorded nine rebounds, six assists, and a steal. The guard also shot 10-for-17 from the field.

McConnell’s game has caught the eyes of legendary point guard Steve Nash, who has worked out with the Pacers guard in the past.

“We speak the same language in talking about trying to manipulate the defense and trying to take up real estate, so to speak,” Nash once told Yahoo Sports about McConnell, “distorting and putting pressure on the defense and keeping your dribble alive.”

“What [McConnell’s] saying is, ‘Sometimes I can out-finesse you, out-think you, sometimes I don’t need to challenge you with my athleticism because I may not win that battle,’” Nash said. “‘But I can keep my dribble alive and put pressure on the defense because they’re chasing and trying to recover. As my guy’s trying to get back to me, someone might take me until he can get back, and that’s a difficult part of the court to do that in.’”

Despite McConnell’s playoff success, the Pacers’ season may come to an end soon. Down 3-0 to the Celtics in their playoff series, the Pacers must win four straight to advance to the NBA Finals. This is a feat that has never happened in NBA history.

TJ McConnell’s Future With the Indiana Pacers

McConnell has just one season remaining on his contract past this season. However, it seems likely the Pacers will want to keep him around for the long haul. McConnell has been with the Pacers since 2019 and has played a big role on the team in his stint. While nothing is official, it is telling the Pacers were not willing to ship him out during the regular season. Regardless of how Indiana’s season ends, McConnell has proven his worth. It would not be a shock if the two sides work on a contract extension this summer.


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