Why Lou Amundson won't be back next season

Fans don't want to hear it, but it just doesn't make sense to bring Lou Amundson back at this juncture of the offseason.

Fans don't want to hear it, but it just doesn't make sense to bring Lou Amundson back at this juncture of the offseason.

The 2009-10 Phoenix Suns were a special team that shared a special chemistry and relied on contributions from all 10 of their rotation players to finish as one of the best teams in the NBA last season.

Although Lou Amundson played less minutes than any of Phoenix’s nine other regulars, he was an essential part of the Suns’ second unit, often turning games with his sheer energy and hustle alone. Lou fit the second unit’s defense and energy approach perfectly, carving out a role as the bench’s ace rebounder and shot blocker.

The 2009-10 Suns would not have been the 2009-10 Suns without Lou, but the honest truth (which most fans don’t want to hear) is that the 2010-11 Suns have moved on and Lou Amundson does not appear to be in their plans.

Really it comes down to simple math. At this point the Suns have reached the roster minimum of 13 players, and at least 10 of them deserve rotation minutes. Beyond that, power forwards Earl Clark and Gani Lawal are capable of providing a few quality minutes at Lou’s backup four spot.

As much as the Suns could use a rebounder and defender like Amundson, the minutes just aren’t there. This season will be difficult enough on Alvin Gentry in terms of doling out time, the last thing he needs is another player to share a piece of that pie.

I feel Amundson’s departure was foretold the minute the Suns signed Channing Frye and Hakim Warrick in the wake of Amare Stoudemire’s departure to New York. At that point the Suns may have still had minutes left to dole out at the four, but they needed more scoring punch in place of Amare and bringing back Lou to round out the front court would have left Phoenix a bit anemic up front.

At the time this was doubly true because Amundson (and the Suns really) couldn’t have predicted that Lou’s market would bottom out. We are almost a month and a half into the free agency signing period and Amundson is still floating around the market.

At this point most teams have spent most of their money and few holes are left to be filled. It’s very possible Amundson will have to take a minimum or near-minimum short-term deal.

If the Suns had known there would be no market for Louuuuuuuu back at the beginning of July, perhaps that would have changed their offseason priorities. Clearly they didn’t want to pay even Warrick money to a guy with Lou’s offensive deficiencies, but when they had a spot he may have been worth it for more than the price he will likely command at this point.

Everything I have written thus far is fairly obvious in my opinion, but the reason I think this subject is worthy of a post is because of the fervent backing of re-signing Lou from the Suns fan base.

My boss at Vertical Measures Arnie Kuenn tweeted at me the other day: “I think you should start a rally to save LOUUUUUUUUUUUU! Let’s do something for the fans!” This was retweeted by a couple other Suns fans.

On an article last week that had absolutely nothing to do with Lou (it was on the Suns’ preseason schedule), commenter Bob B posed the question: “Any chance of the Suns keeping Amundson?”

When I replied with a shortened version of this article, commenter Public Notice observed, “This is the saddest thing that I have read in a long time,” and commenter Zane added, “I can’t believe we probably won’t have Lou, he is one of my favorite players and he adds energy to the team.”

I understand how much of a fan favorite Lou was, but I found all of this outpouring of support for Amundson odd considering the fact that in my mind there’s no question that it doesn’t make sense to re-sign Lou, as much as his rebounding and energy could be an asset next season.

Although the fans may want Lou back, the Suns have to do what’s best for the team and adding another player without a low post game to eat up minutes at the four spot isn’t fair to Lou or any of the rotation players currently on the roster.

This fan infatuation with Louuuuuuu is understandable since he defines hustle, wears a ponytail and used to ride a bike to work. I get it and in a perfect world Lou Amundson would be back with the Phoenix Suns next year.

But I think at this point Suns fans should wish Lou the best, hope he gets a decent contract in a good situation and just understand that it doesn’t make sense for the Suns to bring Lou Amundson back at this point in the summer.

  • Dan

    Its such a shame to see Lou go. He really is such a fan favorite and I think that ironically, if you posed the question whether fans would like to see Lou or Amare go, I think most would choose Amare. Lou is such a hard working, hustling, underdog kinda guy. It was always fun to watch him succeed. I remember a game where he blocked a shot by Pau Gasol and then by Andrew Bynum in the same possession! All while being under-sized. I almost jumped out of my chair cheering him on. As a Suns fan I'm really gonna miss the guy's energy. Hopefully one day he can find his way back to the Suns. I wish him the best wherever he ends up…

  • Josh

    You're right about why Lou wouldnt be a good fit now the way the roster is put together but if we had a GM this offseason he might have realized that getting 6 small forwards and letting a guy go that crashes the boards as hard as Lou probably wasmt the best option.
    We'll miss him when Hedayet Turkoglu and Hakim Warrick combine to avg 0.8 blocks and 9 rebounds per game at the 4.

  • Freddy


    The Arena Went nuts when he was on the floor. :(

  • suns68

    Michael, I vehemently disagree with you.

    Lou gives it absolutley everything he has, every minute he's on the court, and obviously works hard to improve his game.

    In contrast, has Earl Clark EVER had a decent game in a Suns uniform? If so, I missed it, and I watch about 75 games a season. And when the coaches and media questioned his conditioning and strength training at Summer League, he popped off with a smartass some-people-think-I-look-good quote.

    Lawal looks to have potential, but remember, he is a 46th draft pick. Phoenix has at best a 30-40 percent success rate with low-second-round projects.

    We know Lou can produce.

    We can afford him.

    We should have him.

  • http://www.verticalmeasures.com ArnieK

    I have to agree with Suns68 (but youuuu already knew that). Some times professional sports teams need to play to the fans. I would trade Lawal for Louuuuuu in a heartbeat.

  • http://twitter.com/stevedavis_ stevo

    If all teams were made from the heart alot of nba rosters would look different. For lou who I adore as well, even with his hustle is a 5&5 guy. Paying 3-5 million is not the best move for the suns long term.

  • Theshoop

    I get that signing Lou is not a smart move and that the Suns shouldn't do it. I'm not here to say the Suns should still play to the fans or sign Lou just because he's earned it. The move just wouldn't make sense for the Suns, who are trying to rebuild and stay competitive at the same time.

    But because I like Lou- I'm interested in what teams have the ability to sign him and are interested in adding him to their team. I'm also wondering what Lou would be seeking on the market and what teams can pay this. Why? Because if the Suns can't sign him then I want to know Lou's got a future in the NBA- he's deserved that much at least!

  • Diego

    I'm sad to see Lou leave, but as far as talent and money goes, I think that's probably the best decision. I think Turk and Warrick are more talented players that won't be pushovers on defense as well. And Turk can be a player that takes us to the next level, especially against the Lakers and teams like that.

    On the Clark subject, I'm still on his side. He has so potencial, we just have to be more patient. I fully trust on Gentry's decisions and he – not Sarver – was the main voice on every pre-Babby-pre-Lance move we mad this offseason.

  • Sumant

    That hustle has to be worth a bit and this offseason must be quite discouraging for a guy who played his heart out every night. Agreed on the offensive limitations – but for a team that runs on chemistry – getting him back for a minimum should help.

    Nervous about the Hedo deal …

  • Ace

    @Suns68 Clark actually did have a good game once at Minnesota where he played 13 minutes and scored 14 points on (6-6 FG and 2-2 FT). The game was early in the season (November 27) and he seemed to show some promise. Hopefully, Earl Clark bulks up and stays fit and becomes a contributor to the Phoenix bench this season or else I wouldn’t mind trading him and getting a player like Jason Thompson who is still young enough to improve and benefit from the Sun’s style of play.

  • http://twitter.com/stevedavis_ stevo

    And guys I think earl clark is so far out of the picture in the suns plans I wouldnt waste alot of text on him at this point.

  • Momochi-Sandayu

    I almost mist up when I think that Lou’s heart, and hustle isn’t going to be recognized, respected, and rewarded. When the “LOOOUUU” battle cry would go up in the arena after a bodacious block, a radical rebound there was an energy in the Arena that made everything so much fun.

    It’s almost criminal that dead weight like Earl Clark is on our team, and we let a guy like Lou walk. Earl can’t even contribute in the Summer League while Lou was a member of the SWAT team in the NBA.

    Sayonara, Sweet Lou

  • http://twitter.com/stevedavis_ stevo

    Not trying to take away from lou but the arena erupted i a “moose” chant everytime jerrod mustaf touched the ball,well be ok

  • Jasper Buckleman

    I still have the same question that I had a month ago. How do we produce all of this offense when we don’t have the ball? Who is going to play defense? Who is going to rebound? Yeah, we might be great on our end of the floor, but I don’t know how much time the team will be spending down there.

  • suns68

    Stevo, you’re probably right.
    I just want to tell Ace I’d trade EC for Jason Thompson, or Jason Voorhees, or Jason Bateman, or Justine Bateman.

  • Renato Afonso

    Better say it out right now: I'm a Lakers fan. Yes, the enemy and regular poster at Forum Blue and Gold. I check your blog all the time, specially when you face the Lakers but I choose not to post because I might be misinterpreted. That being said, letting Admundson go is a HUGE mistake. Not as big as signing Hedo, but still huge.

    Without Lou you don't win game 4 (or was it game 3?) against LA in the Western Finals. He was the one to get you the momentum you needed to win that game. Good energy/glue guys should always be kept around if they're not expensive, and that's not Admundson's case.

    You don't have the size to match up with LA inside, apart from Robin Lopez, and saying that he is undersized matters nothing. You can balance the rebounds with the taller teams by boxing out and hustling and playing Hedo at the 4 spells REALLY BAD things for the Phoenix franchise.

    Make no mistake, I want Phoenix to be good and challenge the Lakers because you have a lot of guys I love watching. You got Nash and my favorite player: Grant Hill. You didn't lose because of Admundson and his lack of low post game. You're a running team that plays at an incredible pace. You don't need a low post game from your PF…

    Also, and off topic, me and my mates (fans of different teams) set up a dynasty league that's for really hardcore fans. We got salary cap, luxury tax, MLE, the works. IF any of you guys is willing to take on the Phoenix franchise (we're about to kick the previous phoenix owner due to the lack of activity) and be active on a daily basis, please check the league at http://dynastyleaguebball.proboards.com/index.cgi

    Read the rules and post an application if you want it.

  • http://twitter.com/stevedavis_ stevo

    Agreed suns68,A this point i would try to trade him to a city without a team!As far as lou folks thinkin with there heart and not there bball brain like I said I love lou but he is not woth 3-5 mil to usw going forward hes a fa now after 6 weeks. My point is that if hes still avail on the open market then you would be tied down to his contract-If no one is bitting now they wont be later either I feel bad for lou but it is the truth of the matter.

  • venusv

    No Louuuu?! I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you! (I’m holding my hands over my ears) I am one of the many fans who can’t bear to see such a hard-working, big-hearted, fan favorite leave our midst. I can’t believe I am agreeing with a Lakers fan, but hey…Lou turned the tide for the Suns in more than a few games last season. For NBA peanuts, we can keep someone who’s giving his ALL every second he’s on the court. Sarver/Babby/Blanks/Gentry..Someone step up and show Lou the love. He’s been showing it to you since the moment he put on a Suns uniform. Do we really want OUR SWEET LOU playing AGAINST us next season?

  • Public Notice

    Lou could be Lopez’s backup on the second team, he’s basically a center minus 3 inches and more “centery” than Frye.

  • Mike Meez

    It’s true that there are even fewer minutes for Lou this year since the Suns have gotten even deeper, but if no one else picks him up and the Suns could sign him for a 1-year min contract I’m all for it. He’d be good insurance if Lopez gets hurt. Lou would also be great to have if EC and/or Lawal can’t step up. The Suns could have gone the rebuilding route this summer, in which case it would make sense to play EC and Lawal and move on without Lou, but if they’re really trying to make a run then I think Lou is the guy we want in the playoffs.

  • Mike Meez

    I should add though that, while I would be happy if the Suns got Lou for 1-year min deal, I would feel bad for Lou because he deserves more playing time and more money than the Suns can give.

  • Jake

    It's shame to see Lou won't be Suns next season. Look at the current roster. There's no big man can rebound except RoLo. Honestly, Lou was the best rebounder(per 48 minutes) last season. I am not sure if Channing or Hakim can be a better rebounder than Amare. Unless Gani Lawal can play like last year's Dejuan Blair, Suns definiteley need Lou rather than Earl Clark. It's already stuffed at SF.

  • Steve

    Why wouldn’t Miami pursue a guy like Lou? He would be GREAT in that setting, I think. His hyper-athleticism, extreme hustle, and complete unwillingness to look for his own shot would serve him very well in Miami. If Miami is going to have three 20ppg guys, they’re not going to need 10 ppg from their four.

  • http://www.valleyofthesuns.com Michael Schwartz

    Completely agree. Why not go for Lou instead of a guy like Big Z. Would do all the little things and be OK with the Three Amigos getting all the credit. I also think Lou would have fit better in Boston than Shaq. Lou would give you more of the things that Perkins does so the transition with him out isn’t so intense.

  • http://twitter.com/stevedavis_ stevo

    if the big man to fill out the roster is not a big bulk guy I would just assume have have lo as j oe smith for example, I just dont think it will happen.

  • sunofkerr

    Note to Mr. Sarver: fans help pay the bills. Earl Clark = super unpopular / Lou Amundson = super popular…which player will help generate more money for the Suns?

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  • David

    Lou is everything that is good about the NBA: team work, passion, hustle, full of energy, humble.

    Keep LOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • David

    Quality Teams are made with chemistry and role players…..look at history..
    Lou is an integral part of the teams chemistry.

  • pacers

    Lou is playing well on the pacers- the other night, he had a double double!