The first three weeks of the season have been a whirlwind for the Phoenix Suns.

The worst-ever loss in franchise history on opening night. The firing of coach Earl Watson and the naming of Jay Triano as interim coach. Eric Bledsoe’s tweet and on Tuesday, the deal that sent Bledsoe to Milwaukee for center Greg Monroe and a protected first-round draft pick as well as a protected second-round pick.

But it’s the next major move that could define the Suns’ future.

With potentially three first-round picks in the 2018 draft and Monroe’s expiring contract on the books, does Phoenix swing for the fences next summer, either in free agency or by dealing its assets for an established player?

“If you look at the broader picture league wise, hopefully we’re at the top of the list or near the top of the list as far as teams that could put together a compelling package for a star,” General Manager Ryan McDonough said Wednesday. “Or we could continue to draft and develop players which we have been doing.


“We have a lot of flexibility with our draft pick situation, our cap situation and with our roster balance. We have lot more options over the next couple of years, and I think and hope in that time that pays off.”

Although McDonough did not commit the Suns to any future course, a couple of things were evident in his press conference. He twice said Phoenix would be “more likely” to pursue a marquee free agent in the summer of 2019 even though the expiring deals of Monroe and Alex Len free up approximately $20 million of cap space next summer.

The contracts for multiple first-round picks – as well as the possibility of re-signing Len, who will be an unrestricted free agent – could swallow up much of that cap space in ’18.

“I think we’re probably more lined up for the 2019 free agent market, but if we want to be a player in 2018 and speed up our timeline a little bit, we’re able to do that as well,” McDonough said.