A party before the Suns set

Why couldn't Phoenix have hosted four years ago?

Why couldn't Phoenix have hosted four years ago?

What a bizarre time for Phoenix to be hosting All-Star Weekend.

The Arizona Republic’s Dan Bickley said it best in yesterday’s column: “We’re staging a party inside a crumbling basketball empire. Welcome, folks, and please watch out for the cracked concrete and falling stones.”

The Suns wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and we can’t be sure if the head coach or either of the All-Stars will even still be around by the time this party ends.

Getting blown out on the road is becoming an expected occurrence and the run and fun Suns are now full of doom and gloom. Where are you Mike D’Antoni?

Except for the “Shooting Stars” competition that nobody cares about anyway, you won’t find any Sun participating in All-Star Saturday Night.

Contrast that scene to four years ago in Denver, when Nash won the skills contest, Q won the three-point shootout, Dan Majerle, Shawn Marion and Diana Taurasi won Shooting Stars and Amare was the runner up in the dunk contest. Even Joe Johnson was along for the ride, losing to Q in the three-point shootout.

Four years ago the Suns were the toast of the NBA with the best record in the league and a revolutionary style that would change the game. 2004-05 was the season of the Phoenix Suns (even if the title ended up in San Antonio that year), and All-Star Weekend was their coming out party.

This year All-Star Weekend may be the Suns’ funeral, and we’ll all be there to witness it.

I would be surprised to see an Amare move happen this weekend with all the hoopla going on. If he’s traded to the East, what happens to his starting spot and which side does he play for?

I know All-Stars have been traded after being voted a starter, but I don’t remember a deal ever happening this close to the game for an All-Star starter. I’m betting David Stern would much prefer not having to figure that out. Still, it will be bizarre that the All-Star Game may be the last time Suns fans see Amare playing for the “home” team, and the fan reaction to him on Sunday will be worth paying attention to.

On the flip side, for the next four days Suns fans can forget about their team’s miseries and take a vacation from the mess of a season this has been.

We have the best players in the world coming to town and a whole host of entertainers and parties all around the Valley. Enjoy, Phoenix.

I’m not usually into doing PR, but I would highly recommend everybody in the area buying a ticket to Jam Session. My dad took me back in 1995, and although I was only 8 back then I still remember how much fun I had.

This is a must go for anybody who loves basketball, as the place will be chock full of interactive games, former and current players and anything you could ever dream of from a basketball event.

The first of its kind All-Star Block Party sounds intriguing as well, and I can’t wait to see that game of HORSE, I mean GEICO.

Be sure to visit ValleyoftheSuns.com for some off-beat coverage of the weekend and the fan experience in downtown Phoenix that the national media glosses over in the form of audio, video, and of course written blogs.

More Amare

Check out this breakdown of Amare’s game against Detroit by Basketball Prospectus author Kevin Pelton. Although he only charted one game, I’d say by and large those findings stand up for the whole season.

Also, I almost wet my pants when I heard about the Amare for LaMarcus, Bayless and LaFrentz’s Expiring Contract rumor, but today CBSSports is reporting that is off.

To me that would have been the ideal deal, with a quality short-term and long-term replacement for Amare at the four, a long-term replacement for Nash at the one who just happens to be a local kid and then just for Mr. Sarver a load of cap relief.

That deal presents everything the Suns should be looking for, so I knew it was too good to be true and wouldn’t end up happening.

There are so many rumors out there (I heard a source say New Jersey is a decent possibility) that it’s hard to really believe anything out there.

For now, we can all have fun playing with ESPN’s Trade Machine, and then sometime next week we can be disappointed with whatever ends up happening.

Tags: Amar'e Stoudemire

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