After four seasons below .500, the Phoenix Suns may be ready to emerge as a contender in the competitive Western Conference. On Friday, the Suns dealt point guard Brandon Knight and forward Marquese Chriss to the Houston Rockets for veteran forward Ryan Anderson and rookie combo guard De'Anthony Melton.

The trade may be a harbinger of things to come for young Suns general manager Ryan McDonough.

According to Phoenix radio broadcaster John Gambadoro, the Suns have made inquiries on three point guards: the Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, the Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker and the Boston Celtics' Terry Rozier.

The top player in the group is Lillard, who is a three-time All-Star. The 28-year-old is under the contract until after the 2020-21 season and will earn $28 million next season, $29.8 million in 2019-20 and $31.6 million in 2020-21. Lillard has been linked in trade rumors to the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat, but there have been no reports of the Blazers actively shopping him.

Walker, 28, will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, while 24-year-old Rozier, who will make $3.1 million next season, can become a restricted free agent next summer.

The possibility of Rozier joining the Suns is intriguing since McDonough previously served as the Celtics' assistant general manager behind former Suns guard Danny Ainge. Rozier's future with the Celtics may also be tied to Kyrie Irving's fate with the organization.

While the Suns are loaded with young talent, the roster is thin at point guard. ESPN's NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski acknowledged Friday that the Suns are interested in adding a starter at the position.

The Suns, who added up-and-coming big man DeAndre Ayton in the draft, likely have a strong interest in next summer's free-agent class. Some of the free agents include Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler.

After star swingman Devin Booker, the Suns' highest paid player in 2019-20 is Anderson. The 30-year-old played in 66 games in 2017-18 and averaged 9.3 points per game.

It is unclear if the Suns traded Knight due to his injuries or because of his contract, or both. The 26-year-old didn't play in the 2017-18 season due to a torn ACL. Knight, who has two years remaining on a $30 million contract, is expected to be available for the Rockets' season opener.

Damian Lillard may have drawn interest from the Phoenix Suns. Christian Petersen/Getty Images