Earlier this afternoon a phone call was placed to the office of Phoenix Suns GM and President of Basketball Operations Steve Kerr.
It wasn’t from the Bulls, Nets, Heat, or Blazers.
How do I of all people know this call took place? Well I was the one who made it.
You see as a fan of the Phoenix Suns from birth, I felt desperate times called for desperate measures. Needless to say the phone kept ringing, no one picked up, and my first assumption was that the front office had taken the day off. (I mean they basically have taken much of the last four years off by my standards)
The topic on my mind of course was the recent rumors regarding Black Jesus, STAT, or as he’s listed in the media guide Amar’e Stoudemire. It seems that the four-time All-Star is the front office’s most recent scapegoat for the lack of success in recent days. His 20.9 ppg and 8.2 rpg apparently are not enough for a team owned and managed by what appears to be fantasy basketball aficionados.
You see the real problem here isn’t Amare, the losing record in January, or the current eighth place position the Suns hold. The problem is a lack of patience on the part of a management group that seems more concerned with dollar signs than whether this team makes it to the NBA Finals.
This situation will not end with shipping out one of the great stars of our game in Stoudemire just as it didn’t end with sending a disgruntled Shawn Marion to Miami last year. At some point, or in my humblest of opinions, NOW would be as good a time as ever for Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver to sit down, shut up, and let this team (the one you have continued to assemble and reassemble) simply play.
No one can change the fact that these two men in less than two years orchestrated deals that sent the team’s three best defensive players in Marion, Thomas, and Bell out the door.
Or that they countered those moves by forcing out the best offensive-minded coach in the game (a coach that fit their personnel) in favor of an inexperienced defensive-minded coach (who apparently doesn’t fit their personnel at all).
Or that Sarver single handedly pushed out one of the brightest GM’s in the game in Bryan Colangelo long before Steve Kerr had the time to ruin one of the most exciting and potent teams in the NBA in recent years.
Or should I mention the litany of draft day trades made by Sarver and Co. which resulted in losing talented players such as Luol Deng, Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Rudy Fernandez, and Sergio Rodriguez.
Oh by the way did I mention the Suns needed a backup point guard?
Amare Stoudemire may have an ego that matches the height of his vertical jump. He may be more focused at times with his business enterprises than the fundamentals of man-to-man defense or even boxing out at the defensive end. He may express his frustration too often to the media. He may talk about the Summer of 2010 to the point it could be a distraction for a team focused on winning in the Summer of 2009.
But there is no defect in his personality or for that matter in what he brings to the Phoenix Suns that would justify his time in purple and orange ending in the next few weeks.
At the age of 26, he is who the Phoenix Suns are now, who they are tomorrow, and who every fan should want them to be revolved around in 10 years.
While he may not put up Dwight Howard or Al Jefferson type numbers on a nightly basis, the problem is not with him. It might be entertaining to envision what Michael Beasley, Kevin Durant, or LaMarcus Alderidge would look like in a Suns uniform, but I’ll assure you Suns fans that image won’t come with an NBA ring anytime soon.
I know the popular belief is that this current team won’t win an NBA ring anytime soon, and maybe that is accurate.
But trading the face of your franchise, your superstar, and the interior force of what little identity this team has is not the answer to recent struggles.
I know that in these economic times saving a buck even for sports franchises is becoming more of a practical strategy. But for a team whose rising sun may slowly be fading, now is not the time to save a few bucks at the expense of losing the talent and yes still the potential of Amare Stoudemire.
I hope that this trade deadline, Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver make the best move possible for this team. Hopefully when calls come from other teams to make a deal it will go much like my call went this afternoon.
No answer from the Suns and a smile on my face.
Dave Dulberg can be heard Saturdays at noon MST on “The National Sports Show” at www.kscr.org.
Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire