The best move is often the one never made

Would Kerr and the Suns be better off standing pat at the deadline for once? (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)

Would Kerr and the Suns be better off standing pat at the deadline for once? (REUTERS/Rick Scuteri)

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

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

  • Justin B.

    I really don't agree with there being so much upside with Amare. He certainly seems to have hit a plateau. Unfortunately, with him, so much is about his mood rather than his skills. In the right environment, I'm sure he's a beastly defender and a consistent rebounder. It's obvious, however, that the Suns are NOT that environment.

  • Carter

    Great article Dave. I enjoyed reading it.

  • Baguete (Sao Paulo – Brazil)

    I want to discuss if Amare is a good fit for “the face of the franchise”.

    I don’t think he’s a top 10 player in the league right now. I don’t think he has any upside left, he’s pretty much reached his ceilling and, more important, I don’t see him leading a team.
    To me, Amare will always be a second banana and we should trade him before he blows his knees again.

  • drexll (ISRAEL)

    that is all correct, but with all the mess kerr and co. have made stil the suns startes today have enough talent to be much higher in the conference. and all that “time to gel” talk is not that relevant with the amount of talent in this team. they should have figured it out by now. especially with the best PG in the game the past 6 years. so why are we still fighting for a playoff spot? answer: GET A BETTER COACH!!!

  • Mike

    Agree, get a better coach. But that costs money, too, and if there’s one thing that’s been consistent it’s been the absence of any balls when it comes to aggressive spending.

    And that was before the recession.

    Suns will likely give Porter a free pass for the rest of the season because it’s cheaper, and we need to pray really, really hard to prevent this money-saving trade BS from ruining this team.

    We’ll leave the playoffs in round 1 or 2 then everybody will point fingers and there will be massive changes in the off season that don’t help but save money.

    All I have to say is, some people weren’t meant to own a sports team, some people weren’t meant to be a GM, and some people can’t coach.

    Unfortunately, we have all three at once, and the players and fans know it.

  • Brandon

    “All I have to say is, some people weren’t meant to own a sports team, some people weren’t meant to be a GM, and some people can’t coach.

    Unfortunately, we have all three at once, and the players and fans know it.”

    Wow, well said my man. Well said.

  • Dave Dulberg

    I want to thank everyone for reading the article…But unfortunately I am going to have to disagree with the reader from Brazil…Today, Amare Stoudemire is most certainly one of the top ten players in our game…His numbers may not be as eye popping as in years past, but that has nothing to do with diminished skills and everything to do with as Mike alluded to people who are owning, running, and coaching our team..You cant honestly believe that a young man, whose 26, and just got voted to his fourth all-star game, has no upside…If that was the case why our teams like the Thunder and Heat willing to mortgage their future to try and get him…He is the face of the franchise because he has SOOO much upside and is 26…Look at the other starters…Who of them could you seem them building around? None of them…Three of them (Hill, Nash, O’Neal) have expiring contracts at the end of this season or next season, and Richardson to use your phrase is a good offensive talent, but is an always will be ” a second banana”

  • Baguete (Sao Paulo -

    Hey Dave, thanks for the discussion.

    My main problem with Amare is his drive to be a better player. I know that from living overseas – especially in a country where basketball is maybe the 6th main sport – I have maybe 10% of the information you get, but it doesnt seem to me that Amare has much of a work ethics in him.

    I dont see him getting more active on defense. I dont him being a clutch player and I dont see him leading a team to a NBA title.

    I agree with you that our management sucks and we have a forth-string coach, and agree that right now we dont have anybody else to be builden around (?), so thats why I think its time to trade him.

    The great dillema is: can we get somebody to make us a contender right now? Unfortunately, I dont think so.

    So, maybe the Miami trade is a good idea. We wont be a worse team with Marion (I truly believe this), we will clean cap in short term (damn Sarver) and we can build around Beasley for the long term.

  • Green

    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.

    Problem is, he’s not the face of the franchise and never has been. The team has never made it a point to make Amare THE guy. It’s always been him, but Nash was the leader, now Nash and Shaq.

    If they ever made it a point to let Amare develop and be the focal point I doubt things would be this bad.

  • Kate

    Like always, great job! Each one gets better and better…keep up the good work :)

  • Dave Dulberg

    While I understand people's worries that maybe Amare's career has plateaued, trading him is not the answer…He may not be treated like the superstar or the face of the franchise, but is that a reflection of his ability or the inability of management to make the most of its talent…Every team that has had success in this league builds around the core…The Celtics did it by trades in one year, the Spurs have their big three since the early 2000's, the Lakers have created theirs (despite injury), and yet Suns management has never allowed the team to develop a core nucleus…I know that is gonna be responded to with what about Marion, Nash, and Amare…I would respond by saying the only way those nucleus players thrive is through role players that remain a consistent part of the team….After one year of the Run and Gun Suns in 2004, Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson were shipped off…And while they got Kurt Thomas, Boris Diaw, and Raja Bell out of that off season, did they even get a fair shake? The first year they didnt even play with Amare, and the second year if not for the NBA suspensions we dont know how much success they would have had…After the season, Thomas is traded for nothing and the team loses a player that adds to the nucleus…Then Marion is traded for Shaq, D'Antoni is forced out, and in the off season they added no talent to the team…This year "the supposed first full year to gel with Shaq" they once again ship off two of their core players…And while you may think its easy to just gel two months into a trade…When has this team had really time to gel and develop the chemistry of the Spurs, the Lakers of the early 2000's, the Bulls of the 1990's…Those teams never traded away the Rick Fox's, Devean George's, Bruce Bowen's, or even the Steve Kerr's…The Suns may have had one of the best point guards the past six seasons with Nash and one of the best "young" stars in the game in Amare, but can you really expect them to reach the NBA finals with the constant turnaround every season…We have a management that when they arent satisfied instead of adding to improve the team they slowly blow it up every offseason..Part of this is the stinginess of Sarver, some dumb contract moves by yes then GM Mike D'Antoni, and now the fantasy basketball type acquistions by Steve Kerr..The one offseason they didnt touch anything, except letting James Jones go was last year…And as of February 6, 2008, the day we traded Shawn Marion, the exact same team that could have won it all if not for suspensions was tied for first in the western conference with the Hornets…That team was gelling, but the Suns didnt want to see Marion's value go to waste, and now look what this team has become, exactly that..WASTE…Amare Stoudemire has serious improvements to make on the defensive end, but for any of you to definitively say he has no upside is out of line for a guy whose 26, a four time all star, and leads the team in scoring in an offense that doesnt even go through him anymore…This has nothing to do with Amare, this has to do with trigger happy management, Porter isnt even to blame he is simply a puppet of Sarver and Co.. So the next time you wonder why the Suns arent "gelling" and think maybe its better to trade a proven Amare think of all the times these trades were made in the past few years and what the product is now because of it..