NBA trade grades: Suns take worthy risk on Elfrid Payton as Magic get minimal return

The Magic and Suns got a trade in right at the buzzer before the NBA trade deadline concluded. The trade wasn't monumental by any means, but it showed the directions both teams are going in. It also revealed Elfrid Payton's true value on the trade market. 

How did each side fare? Let's grade the trade.

Phoenix Suns (Grade: B-)

Suns receive: 

  • Elfrid Payton

There is nothing wrong with a low-risk trade, like how the Suns acquired Payton. They get a point guard that is actually a better offensive player than he's given credit for. Payton is very good at attacking the rim in space and finding passing lanes for cutters. He's improved as a shooter, but still isn't great in that department, so he isn't going to bring spacing but he's capable of scoring.

Where Payton really struggles is on the defensive end. He made a bad Magic defense far worse when he was on the floor, and if he had even been league average on that end, Orlando would have looked far better. Perhaps a new location will give him a chance to unlock his potential on that end.

Orlando Magic (Grade: D)

Magic receive:

  • 2018 second-round pick

Payton may not have been great on defense, but he was still a young asset that the Magic failed to turn into anything of major value. They at least got a return for him, and very clearly didn't want to pay him in the upcoming summer, but it can't be called a good trade for them. Acceptable in context, but not a good one.

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