San Antonio Spurs 114, Phoenix Suns 97 -- Officially eliminated


Marcin Gortat and the Suns were "embarrassed" by the Spurs on Sunday, as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. (AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani)

Marcin Gortat and the Suns were "embarrassed" by the Spurs on Sunday, as they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. (AP Photo/ Bahram Mark Sobhani)

We’ve known for about a week that the Phoenix Suns would miss the playoffs, but perhaps it’s fitting that they were officially eliminated from playoff contention at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs Sunday afternoon.

This Spurs franchise represented the biggest roadblock to the great Nash teams of the Seven Seconds or Less era, and now they landed the final blow on what could be Nash’s final Suns team if he is moved in the offseason.

But Nash wasn’t even there to feel the pain of this loss still in Phoenix suffering from flu-like symptoms, and without him they didn’t have a chance in this 114-97 Spurs romp.

Aaron Brooks and Zabian Dowdell held down the fort against the Clippers, but the Suns were overmatched from the opening tip against a Spurs squad that had lost six in a row and desperately needed a victory with the Lakers creeping up on them in the race for the top seed in the Western Conference.

“I think we just got outhustled, outplayed, they were clicking on all cylinders offensively,” Aaron Brooks told reporters. “They played a great game. They went on a run and we couldn’t get back.”

The Suns actually led 14-13 midway through the first quarter, and then the bottom fell out as the Spurs promptly outscored Phoenix 44-14 over the course of the next 12 minutes of game action.

By the time the first half ended San Antonio led 70-46, had hit 9-of-13 threes and outrebounded Phoenix 25-16. George Hill poured in 24 points himself on 8-of-9 shooting and 4-of-5 three-point marksmanship, as the Spurs bench scored one less point at the half than the Suns as a team.

Head coach Alvin Gentry warned his team that the Spurs would play with this kind of emotion badly needing a victory after losing six straight, and the Suns just came out flat without Nash.

I wrote in Friday’s recap:

In the Suns’ previous four games without Two Time, all losses, they mustered offensive efficiencies of 100.0 at Orlando, 106.1 at Charlotte (in a game the defense collapsed), 90.7 vs. Orlando and then 96.9 at Houston. Only the Rockets game was even close as the Suns seemed utterly lost without their floor general.

Today’s porous effort proves that their 113.3 offensive efficiency against the Clippers was likely more a function of Los Angeles than any sans Nash improvement on the Phoenix side after the Suns scored 99.0 per 100 in this one.

Predictably Marcin Gortat sounded off in disgust about his team’s performance, as told to Spurs.com:

“I feel bad. We played really bad, no energy, no focus, no toughness, and no intensity at all. Missing your shots is one thing, but not playing hard is totally a different story. We just didn’t look today like a basketball team.”

“I don’t know what was the reason, you would have to ask each guy what was the reason. I felt pretty all right, I tried to play hard, tried to get rebounds, and I made a couple mistakes also. Because of the lack of communication we lost a couple points, but at the end of the day we all have to play hard. We need 10 players on the team to play hard and tonight we didn’t have that.”

“I don’t want to answer that question (on motivation getting harder), but I’ll just tell you one thing: I’m embarrassed. I’m glad in the second half we stepped up a little bit to not get blown out by 40 or 50, but it’s embarrassing.”

This loss was indeed an embarrassment on the Phoenix side in that San Antonio played so much harder than the Suns. The Suns just lacked the focus and determination they showed in the Clippers win, and the result was another thrashing on ABC, a network that has been unlucky enough to televise the Suns twice now in listless performances without Nash.

Brooks went for 14 and six in 26 minutes and Dowdell six and one on 3-for-11 shooting, hardly resembling their performances from Friday night. Jared Dudley recorded a double-double with 12 and 10 and Channing Frye hit 5-of-7 shots for 14 points, but nobody really played a standout game.

Before the Clippers game with the Suns’ elimination all but inevitable, I wondered whether their effort would wane with the games now lacking meaning, and we saw that here this afternoon. With the Suns having nothing to play for aside from momentum for next season and long-term roles/contracts, I would not be surprised by a disaster road trip as much as Gentry keeps urging for the kind of effort that was missing today.

“We have to have all our guys playing hard, it cannot be just a selective few,” Gentry said. “The only thing I am obligated to do is to have the team prepared to play and the only thing they are obligated to do is compete hard. They owe that to Robert [Sarver], to every fan that has come to our game, we owe that to Phoenix, and we owe it to everyone in the locker room. That has to be our goal right now, to compete hard and do the best we can and if we do that, then we can live with that.”

And 1

Mickael Pietrus will be away from the team throughout the road trip to rehab his sprained right knee on his own. That should mean continued minutes for Josh Childress, who scored four points in 19 minutes on Sunday. … Gentry said Friday he hopes to try different combination throughout the rest of the season. … The Suns dropped to 4-21 (.160) against teams with a winning percentage of .600 or better. Only the Timberwolves (0-26) and Kings (3-20) are worse in the West. … The Suns’ 5-11 March was their worst month since February 2004 (3-9), which occurred a few months before signing Steve Nash.

Tags: Marcin Gortat Steve Nash

  • Tony

    Michael,

    Since the Suns playoff opportunities for this season are officially eliminated, and since this season’s roster had only five players remaining from last season’s conference finals run, how about an article lambasting Sarver for the miserable owner he is? It took one summer to dismantle such a good team, all orchestrated by Sarver. Simmons from ESPN recently wrote an article mentioning how horrible an owner Sarver is and my feeling is that if enough sports reporters villify Sarver for being such an incompetent owner, he will be forced to actually do something positive for the team.
    I appreciate any thoughts you might have on this subject. Thanks.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Tony, stop that.

    While it is true that Sabby, (Sarver+Babby), have gone about things in a strange way this season, a lot of it couldn’t be helped.

    People keep talking about the roster, but outside of STAT, (who wasn’t staying in PHX no matter ehat anybody says), what else really hurts?

    Amundson? Clark? No. Role player and an unused prospect. Dragon? Not in the here and now but in the future perhaps. J Rich? Got us a center we can evolve with. The other guy was a practice player.

    The differences in roster only hurt while Hedo was here, and that was corrected.

    The players that remained were good enough to earn a playoff spot in theory, but that theory includes Gentry using the correct players in correct roles. He chose not to.

    Also, Nash played hurt half the season. As the foundation of anything, if it is only working at full power half of the time, the rest of the structure will fail.

    Personally, I’m happy were out of contention. Makes the rebuilding process arrive all the more quickly.

    I do wonder, though. Michael, Tyler, Mike, (or any regular reader), I’m interested in the Ewing Theory as it relates to Nash. We see Denver didn’t die post Melo, and I would imagine that PHX won’t be too terrible without Nash as they were a .500 team with him.

    I was on the Sarver bandwagon as far as hating him goes, but I remember how Boston wanted Ainge dead before his true plan was revealed.

    I don’t a big 3 is in our future, but perhaps ‘Sabby’ has been planning a true rebuilding scheme that is about to begin. I will give him another off season before I judge.

    The only thing I hate is the dealing of Dragon too early. They corrected Hedo-gate and got us THORTAT! They kept the right youngsters, (JMZ Frye RoLo? JChil), and found a Dowdell on the cheap. The non-star core is there plus a center. Youth appears to be coming, and there are 2 all-world guards becoming free agents in ’12 and by then, PHX could be an attractive destination if we don’t draft our own super guard by then

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

    @Tony There’s no question there’s been some mismanagement, but there are still two sides to blasting Sarver. Although his cheapness in selling picks is unforgivable, the Suns were a luxury tax team for a number of years during the SSOL Era. Not re-signing Amare was understandable, he just screwed up by signing the wrong guys. The issue this summer wasn’t not spending money but spending it on the wrong guys. It’s hard to say how much was Sarver’s fault, how much Babby’s (for bringing in his own guys), etc. You might remember everybody wanting Kerr’s head two years ago and then all of a sudden he was a genius after last year. We have seen some stupid moves (trading for Hedo) and some really sound ones (getting rid of Hedo and acquiring Gortat). Sarver isn’t going to sell this team just because of what’s written about him (if that were the case he would already be gone), so while I agree there has been some inexcusable incompetence and trading all those picks was just awful, at the same time this team was a few bounces from a championship or two earlier this decade.

    @Rich Carmelo was almost a perfect Ewing Theory candidate in that the Nuggets made just one WCF run with Melo and his advanced stats are so mediocre for a supposed superstar. Then the Nuggets fleeced the Knicks with a fantastic haul. Since Nash’s advanced stats say he was one of the most important players in the league this season, I don’t think his exile will improve the team in the short term. Ewing Theory basically means you’re a whole is better than the sum of your parts kind of team, and I can’t imagine the Suns becoming more like that without the ultimate whole better than the sum player in Nash.

    The Suns need to luck into a star. They have the core of a solid team like you say, but they are just missing those number one and number two guys. Maybe with the assets from a Nash trade and a bad year/high lottery pick next year they can get that.

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  • Kyle

    So who (realistically) should the Suns target in the draft? Should they trade up (based upon the assumption their pick will be somewhere between 12-14)?

  • Steve

    @Tony – Does anyone actually believe that it’s the fault of management that a group of talented players simply didn’t show up half of the time? Is it management’s fault that we were down by 24 at halftime yesterday? Are we really THAT much worse than a team we swept in the playoffs last year? (Hint: These are rhetorical questions)

    I don’t know what kind of turmoil is going on inside the locker room, but I think there is a lot more to this season than our players simply not being good enough. There’s something wrong with this team, and I don’t think it has anything to do with management, at least on that front. Management put together a team that could have garnered 48-wins and possibly a first-round upset. Instead, our players turned that into the worst season we’ve seen in nearly a decade, with a couple handfuls of heartbreaking losses and another couple handfuls of embarrassing blowouts.

    I don’t think management made the right moves. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this team was the final product I want to see, but I am saying this team is much better than the way they played, and if I’m going to blame anyone for the failure this season, it’s going to be the players.

    What we need for the future (in order of importance): Let Nash go. Hope that a contender wants him and is willing to deal three draft picks + cash for him. Buy Vince out. Try to deal any combination of Childress, Pietrus, Warrick, Dudley, or Frye (with Dudley and Frye only being thrown into trades that truly benefit us). Grow Robin Lopez a pair of eggs. Hope that someone is dumb enough to offer Brooks a sweeter deal than us.

    Basically, this entire team should be considered available for gutting. I think we have some guys who could be considered “building blocks,” but we don’t have anyone who cannot be replaced easily except Gortat, in my opinion. My votes for keepers would be Hill, Gortat, Dudley, and Frye. Everyone else should go.

  • Cam

    If the Suns do trade Nash this off-season (probable) I hope they get a future first out of it along with any other picks/assets. This years draft seems weaker (according to the experts) and a future pick would help ease the trasition of a rebuilding process. Unless a top five pick can be had (not happening) in this years draft I think the Suns should parlay Nash into multiple future picks. Go Suns.

  • Cam

    Q: Mr. Schwartz, Do you think that, if he is available at our pick, that the suns should target Kemba Walker? He isn’t the prototypical point guard by any means and he is undersized. But isn’t that what Aaron Brooks is and wouldn’t it behoove Sarver to draft the same type of player who will be cheaper for a few years and might develop into a star? I know it would force management to admit that the trade they made for Brooks was a mistake but I think that it would make more sense than giving someone 5-8 mil/season knowing that what we get is a streaky scorer with no defense.
    Note:
    This by no means is based on his play in the NCAA tourney but watching him throughout the year.

  • Marley

    Steve Nash has no trade value at his current age – except an expiring contract next season.

    That is why the Suns could not trade him this season.

    Nash controls and runs the a pick-n-roll offense with his centers. How many other teams play that style? Orlando only.

    So at Nash’s age, no championship calibre team will take him on. The only teams that will take him are those looking to dump salaries and rebuild.

    Hence, the Suns will most likely keep him … or trade him to the Toronto Raptors for pennies so that Nash can end his career in Canada.

  • Drew

    @ Steve

    I agree with your plan for the future except I would like to see Pietrus stick around as part of that core too. He’s a great defender (think back to how well he guarded LeBron and Kobe in the playoffs a couple years back). And I still loved his toughness against Boston this season. We need that kind of toughness. Now, I’d like to see him reined in a bit more on offense. His shot selection is sometimes questionable. I’d still prefer him as our sixth man.

    This will be an interesting off-season.

  • Steve

    @Drew – I love Pietrus’s defense as well, but what you mentioned about his shot selection is the reason I believe he’s expendable. It’s one of those things where I’d be happy to see him go, but happy if he stays.

    @Marley – I don’t think the Suns made any effort whatsoever to trade Nash this season, and that’s the reason he wasn’t moved. Do you really think Miami wouldn’t have loved to have Nash instead of Bibby? Or would LA prefer Fisher/Blake over Nash? There are only two championship contenders that have no room for Nash, in my opinion, and those contenders are Boston and Chicago (I don’t count OKC as a real contender). Every other contender should be willing to kill for the opportunity to land Steve Nash. He has value, and if the Suns are smart, they will find out exactly what that value is this off-season. My guess is a first-round unprotected pick, a couple of second-round picks and some cash.

  • http://facebook.com/gjp21 Giancarlo Paraliticci

    Michel What do you think is going to happend with the future of the Suns ?

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

    @Cam If you draft Brooks, you definitely have to get rid of Brooks because they are too short to play much together and they are too similar as undersized, score-first guards. Same goes with Jimmer really.

    Honestly I think the Suns just need to go with best player available. Yes, they need to figure out their point guard of the future situation. Yes, they could use a true power forward and perhaps a dynamic scorer at the shooting guard spot. Really what they need is somebody who can develop into a stud (I know, doesn’t everyone?) so as much as I usually like the draft for plugging holes this year I really think it must be best player available.

    @Giancarlo We’ll have lot’s of time to explore that question on the site once the season ends, but short answer I think it’s about time to trade Nash (or at least entertain the possibility to see if you get an attractive offer) and start the rebuilding process. I like some of the pieces like Gortat, Dudley, perhaps Frye, even Childress (think he needs to get a legit shot, especially since it would be impossible to deal his contract), but like I’ve been saying since the days of Amare trade rumors they need a future star. With the assets they have not sure where they will get that guy, but perhaps the assets in a Nash deal would be the start of that.

  • Phx suns fan in la

    The Suns are built for the regular season. Every series is going to be tough for them because when you live by your offensive three-point shooting, then any off-night you could lose a game….these words described this season perfectly I think

  • http://www.twitter.com/arturbm Artur Mascarenhas

    I would keep Nash. I said this before: he is the team leader. The Suns owes him as much as he owes the Suns, so he should stick around and be a part of this rebuilding process. He’s a awesome player but he is not an awesome leader. Maybe thats what we missed more about Amare this season: somebody being more vocal. (Gortat is like this, but he is new to the crew)

    I would also keep Pietrus. We dont need our five starters to be offensive threats. We can afford to have a decent shooter who happens to defend well (see Bowen, Bruce).

    I would trade Frye. Never been a big fan. Too inconsistent and I really dont like his contract.

    I would also trade RoLo. The guy is a downer. I dont think teams should have patience with a downer if he is not a superb player.

    Hill should come from the bench. Our second unit lacked a leader this season. Too many new faces and no identity with the system.

    Carter, of course, should be traded, along with Brooks and, if God is good to us, J-Chill.

    JMZ and Gortat are great keepers. Not stars but ring-caliber role players. You gotta have them.

    And I would let coach Gentry go. Good fella, bad coach.

    Lets hope for better days! Cheers!

  • Steve

    I actually like Childress a lot. I think he is severely underrated as a defender (did you see him on Durant?), and he contributes in a lot of ways. I’d rather have him than Pietrus, in a lot of ways, as I think he’s a more versatile and well-rounded player.

    I don’t think he’s worth his contract with the way he has been utilized, but I think if he was thrown into critical situations more often, he would respond well.

    But in the grand scheme of things, if we’re going to be great NEXT year, I think we only have room to keep a maximum of two of the following: Dudley, Hill, Childress, Pietrus, Carter, Warrick, Frye. Carter is the only one of those who is obviously going to be let go. And I think it’s going to be next to impossible to find teams dumb enough to take on the contracts we signed.

    I don’t want this to happen, but I think our best hope for next season is if there isn’t a season. If there is a lockout, we will be in a MUCH better situation than the vast majority of teams for the following season, without the possibility of making more horrendous moves like we did this summer, and without the embarrassment of having another sub-500 season like we’re likely to have.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    @ Artur: You’re all over the place dude.

    First, by your own words, you’d want to keep Nash around as the leader of this team but in your opinion, he isn’t a good leader? So if you don’t believe that he is a good leader, then why would you want him around?

    Also, he is a tremendous leader. That is not a problem in any way. Two-time does a great job leading and is probably the absolute best in the league today at getting the most out of the players around him.

    Also, Amare was not that vocal. When he was, most of the time it was about himself. As devastating as he was in the valley, when he wasn’t front and center he wasn’t one of the guys cheering on and encouraging from the bench, (until last season really).

    Also, I don’t look at contracts just by the numbers. I look at contracts signed on a curve in relation to that free agent year. Frye’s contract is fine to me. He has done a great job in the offensive set. He became pretty much the go-to guy over the second half of this season. His defense and rebounding improved. It’s obvious that he works on his game, and he didn’t Tim Thomas the Suns, (meaning he didn’t get paid, get fat, and ride off into the sunset).

    He is also the reason why the offense was still as good as it was. Imagine if the weak-side PF didn’t have to venture out to the perimeter. Nash would have been smothered 100% of the time.

    Carter is not going to be traded. He is going to get bought out. See Steve’s defense of J Chil. Spot on. I’d rather sit on him, (not like we have a choice. Nobody is touching that contract), because if Hill leaves the Suns, Josh will explode in that slot beside Dudley at the 2.

    I don’t mind RoLo if he is coming off of the bench. He actually has done worlds better since being assigned there. He’s a bit of a bully who’s in over his head against starting bigs. Against bench bigs he can be a bully.

    @Marley: You’re bad.

    Orlando indeed uses the PnR, but their system is not just based on the guard-center exchange. They run it with a few different slot combinations.

    Having Nash on the other end of most of that instead of Nelson would equal Atomic-bomb-like destruction.

    That being said, Miami actually runs more PnR sets than Orlando and they actually PnR off of PnRs. Imagine Nash weaving through that instead of an inept Bibby. People sag off Bibby because, well, he is terrible.

    You can’t sag off Nash or he will blaze you. They also run that backdoor cut with Wade off the PnR at the top which is probably something Nash helped bring back to the game. If you play that straight up either Nash or one of the big three will be streaking to the tin or, Jones will be wide open to drain a 3. Every time. Every game. And their defense will be more than able to handle Nash’s weaknesses on that side of the ball.

    Portland’s system is very Nash-friendly too, and they have pieces that PHX would actually want.

    New York? That IS Nash’s system. That’s the SSOL kingdom waiting for it’s general to return.

    All of these teams, (and a few that have no business trying), have probably already started exploring deals involving secondary teams [on the down-low] in order to put together extravagant deals for the Nashty one.

    G Hill will probably be attached to every deal, (minus Orlando), and Channing Frye’s skill set could make him a fundamental necessity in getting maximum rebuilding tools to the Valley.

    All of those teams I mentioned would gladly take a big man with his range that can help keep the paint open.

    Even more teams like the Celtics and Lakers would be looking at a guy like Channing if they decide to push one more time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/arturbm Artur Mascarenhas

    @ Rich,

    Maybe I didnt express myself well.

    I said Nash is our leader – and I stick to my opinion, he is not a good one – so he should be hold accountable for our flaws too. Sometimes, I see Suns fans putting him on a pedestal as a perfect player and I dont think thats the case.

    Dont get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan, but I know he has some flaws as any player in the game.

    I would like to keep him as oppose to people that want him to be traded to be succesfull somewhere else. I want him to retire as a Sun to finish what he started, for better for worse (not very rational, I know)

    Regarding Frye, I am still not a big fan, even though, he did got better this year. I wouldnt rush to get rid of him, but if his value is high on the league, maybe he is a sell.

    And I agree with you that JChill is not going anywhere, but I rather have Pietrus as a piece of the team.

    Cheers!

  • Marley

    Some of you folks are delusional funny.

    Firstly, last remind folks of 2 things:
    1. Nash is old. Maybe 1-2 years left in the tank.
    2. Nash is a defensive liability, especially at his age.

    Miami:
    LeBron and Wade run the offense. All they need at the PG position is somebody who can bring the ball up (to give LeBron and Wade rest) and shoot open shots consistently. Mike Bibby gives that.

    Nash gives them TOO MUCH!

    You really think LeBron and Wade are going to enjoy sit around on the perimeter waiting for Nash’s pick-n-roll plays with Bosh or Big-Z?

    You really think Lebron/Wade will want Nash to dribble and hold on to the ball all over the court like he does with the Suns?

    And the age factor. Lebron/Wade/Bosh will be together for atleast 6 years, or more. Is Miami really going to invest in a temporary solution at the PG spot? They need a PG they can have in the system for atleast 6 years.

    No. Nash is not a good fit for Miami.

    New York:
    Chauncey Phillips or Nash? Hmmm…

    Who has won a ring? Who is a better defender?

    Will Carmelo really enjoy being second fiddler to the Nash-Amare pick-n-roll offense? I don’t think so.

    It is easier for Amara to adjust to Chauncey then it is for Carmelo to adjust to Nash.

    Again, the age factor. New York will not want to invest in a temporary solution at the PG spot.

    PORTLAND:
    Andre Millar or Nash?

    Who’s the better defender? I’ll take size over Nash’s ball handling.

    Again, the age factor. Portland is a young team. You really want to invest in an old PG?

    So ultimately, the problem is that Nash will not fit with the chemistry of most teams in the NBA. The Suns and perhaps the Toronto Raptors remain the best teams for Nash to end his career with.

  • Steve

    @Marley – Since you started off by insulting everyone, I’ll go ahead and refute your arguments.

    To address your Miami comments:

    Being old doesn’t make you bad. Boston signed two aging superstars and it won them a title. Miami signed an old Shaq, it won them a title. MJ won championships well into his 30s. Jabbar won titles well past his prime. I don’t need to go on about how being old doesn’t make you bad. There’s plenty of proof to speak for me on that one. Nash being old is moot. He’s still good.

    “Nash is a defensive liability.” What do you call Mike Bibby? Need I say more? My point isn’t to prove that Nash isn’t a defensive liability, it’s to prove that you’re a douche for thinking that we’re delusional by claiming that Nash is a better option than Bibby (or anyone else the Heat could feasibly attain).

    Nash doesn’t have to run PnR with a big, and Nash doesn’t have to be a PnR point guard. I don’t know why you think that’s what he’s limited to. I agree that LeBron and Wade aren’t going to let Nash handle the ball 90% of the time like he does with the Suns, but I don’t think Nash needs to do that to excel. PGs are the most adaptable of any player on the court. I don’t see any reason to believe that Nash can’t play with two of the greatest players on earth and learn to make them better.

    “LeBron/Wade/Bosh will be together for at least six years.” Contracts=/=happiness or guarantees. There is no guarantee that LeBron and Wade don’t end up biting each other’s heads off when they realize they aren’t as great with each other as they could be without. There is no guarantee Bosh isn’t going to be pissed when year five rolls around, he’s an afterthought, and his next contract isn’t going to support his extravagant lifestyle because now everyone realizes he isn’t really a superstar. There is no guarantee that ring-hungry veterans will sign dirt-cheap with the Heat, making it easy for them to stay under the cap. There is no guarantee the Heat fans will continue to be happy with a sub-60-win team in South Beach when LeBron has been able to get 65/year with “scrubs” in Cleveland. I know their contracts are for six, but I will not be surprised if one of their egos gets too big for Florida before it’s all said and done.

    I don’t think Miami is the best fit for Nash, but I think Nash is a good fit for Miami.

    To address your New York comments:

    Chauncey Billups has done NOTHING in NY. He has never been first team all NBA, second team only once, third team only twice. He has been an apparition this season, especially with NY, and it’s obvious that his career is fading fast despite the fact that he’s younger than Nash. He has a career APG of 5.6. That isn’t going to cut it in a D’Antoni system. He’s not a D’Antoni PG, and while I made the argument that PGs are adaptable, I don’t know if Chauncey can magically double his APG. That’s not a question of adaptability, it’s a question of talent. He doesn’t have it.

    You mentioned Carmelo, but as far as I can recall, Melo still hasn’t signed his extension, who knows if he’ll be there. And even if he is, who is better at finding shooters than Nash. Melo will either realize his iso game isn’t going to work with D’Antoni, or he will find a way to get D’Antoni fired. Either way, something is going to give, and if Nash comes to PHX before D’Antoni is canned, then I think Melo will have to learn to live with the fact that isolation is not the way to win NBA championships.

    Age isn’t a factor when Chauncey is in worse shape than Nash.

    Portland:

    Miller has size, but that’s not a department in which Portland is lacking. They are long, quick, and agile across the board. Is Andre Miller a better individual defender, sure (although if you look at how Nash performed in the playoffs last year against Portland, I’m not so sure you can really say that). But defense is rarely about isolation, and Nash isn’t as bad of a team defender as people make him out to be.

    Age is NOT A FACTOR. Miller is 35! Do you not think about anything before you post? All three of the PGs you mentioned are OLD and aging worse than Nash. Nash is in better Shape than Miller and still producing at a MUCH higher rate. “Do you really want to invest in an old PG?” YES!!! If Andre Miller can’t get it done for them, then YES! It’s clear Miller isn’t good enough to get them past the first round or two, so why not take a chance while you still have a halfway-decent B.Roy and take some of the load off of your overburdened youngsters?

    I swear you don’t think before you speak. Every one of those teams has an old PG with liabilities, but their liabilities come on the offensive side of the ball. Every one of those teams you mentioned is pretty solid defensively, but could use an offensive boost at times. All of your reasons are easily debatable, and you think we’re delusional for thinking that any team should want a TWO TIME MVP? Seriously, man, think first.

  • Cam

    @Rich(kjl): I agree with what you said in your last post but I hope frye won’t have to be included in any trades we made. I would rather try to dump Warrick, trying to sell them on the basis that he could be a scorer off the bench while downplaying his inconsistency. That way we could dump his contract and also keep frye to work with a young big that we (hopefully) pick up while continuing to do what he did this year. I think he opened up the offense and was a big reason gortat had such a strong showing on the offensive end.

  • Mike

    @Steve

    Age is not a factor? Really?

    Nash will be 38 next year.
    Chauncy Billups 35 y/o.
    Andre Miller 35 y/o.
    Mike Bibby 33 y/o

    So what teams with half a brain will trade their “old” PG for a much “older” PG?

    In business we call this a RISKY INVESTMENT.

    We agree. Miami is not a good fit for Nash. So why do you think Miami will trade for him then? Why would Miami trade their PGs for an old Steve Nash so that Nash can play the role of “Mike Bibby”? It is pointless. They already have a “Mike Bibby”.

    If D’Antoni does not change his system in New York, who is management going to get rid of? Melo or D’Antoni?

    As Amare ages, he is going to benefit from a slower pace tradition offense. Something which Billups can run and execute perfectly and equally to Nash.

    And again, Billups has a championship ring.

    So, why would the Knicks trade Billups for Steve Nash? It is risky and pointless. There is no NET benefit.

    Portland has a budding emerging young team. You want a matching young PG. So again, it makes no sense to trade for an older PG to be your starting PG.

    There may be a team that may want Nash for his veteran leadership to help their young team. But they will require that Nash play a backup PG role instead.

    But Nash’s main asset next year is his expiry contract. Some team may pick him up for this reason.

    So again, please name one championship calibre team that is going to invest in a 38 y/o SMALL PG to run their offence 90% of the time.

  • Mike Meez

    He’s a 38 year old pg….who still leads the league in assists! Maybe you haven’t watched a single TNT game this year where the Suns played but in each and every one they made sure to point out that Nash’s numbers at his age are even better than Stockton’s when Stockton was the same age. So what’s the big deal that he’s 38? He’s still one of the best point guards in the league. The reason it sounds ridiculous to be that good at that age is because it’s unprecedented. He keeps his body in better shape than possibly any player in the history of the league.

    The only problem I see is that there are so many quality point guards out there. Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook etc. Bulls and Celtics obviously don’t need a PG. Nash is better than Fisher/Blake but don’t think he’d be a good fit in L.A.

    I think Miami, Orlando, New York, Atlanta and Dallas could all benefit from Nash’s services. Maybe Portland though I’ve never considered them. You can come up with reasons why those teams wouldn’t want Nash, but to me Steve is an obvious upgrade over what all those teams have at PG currently.

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Some of you guys are looking at it backwards in regards to age and championships.

    In the here and now, that doesn’t matter. Production matters. Out of all of those guards you guys have typed out, Nash destroyed them…

    To those who say that Miami isn’t a good fit for Nash, consider the offense then run currently and look a bit closer.

    LeBron and Wade handle the offense, in part, because they don’t have a point guard who can do it properly. Nash would be able to handle it easily.

    On top of that, take a close look at how their PnR based offense is constructed.

    All PnR offenses are not the same; Miami’s variation is actually perfect for a Steve Nash.

    First of all, as they are built right now, when the guard begins the half court set and goes off the first screen, whoever is guarding him sags and gives him that shot because they all suck, and that possession dies if he shoots it.

    More than likely, it’s a pass and right into a second PnR which now involves Bosh and either Flash or James.

    The guard’s man always leaves which creates a passing lane back to the guard who normally bricks a shot or goes to the top of the key to Bosh or to the top of the 3 to Jones.

    These extra passes give defenses time to recover.

    Now, install Steve Nash.

    Now, off that initial screen, you cannot sag. If you sag off of Steve Nash he will bury you in the first quarter because he’s Steve Nash. Go look up his FG percentage and 3 point percentage, please.

    So suddenly, guards are having to stick to Nash and forwards will begin having to help said guard – oh, hello Chris Bosh.

    In those situations, Bosh is going to get fed with room to work. This makes the defense collapse and – oh, Hi Wade exploding towards the basket on the weak side.

    Change it to that second PnR if Nash keeps it and Bosh’s man sticks to him. Now it’s Nash and LBJ.

    Fact: Nobody in this league can stop LBJ with a head of steam. If he slips that screen it’s a dunk. If he sets that screen Flash or Bosh is already heading towards the rim. If their men are there then the double came from James Jones’ guy. That’s a 3.

    They become unguardable with Nash who, at 39, would only have to work hard in situations where he’s the only star on the floor. Wait… Nevermind.

    Oh yeah, late in games? Hand him the ball.

    He gets fouled, goes to the line, and 92 percents teams to death.

    Somebody said they’d take Andre Miller’s size over Steve Nash? VoTS readers, stay away from that person. He’s obviously related to TWolves GM KHAAAAN!

    Dallas and Atlanta are out of the Nash sweepstakes.

    Mark Cuban didn’t want to pay him at 32. He certainly won’t want to do it at 39.

    Joe Johnson went to ATL to get away from Nash. I don’t see him signing off on bringing him to the hawks and, on top of that, ATL has nothing PHX would want, (outside of J Smoove who I don’t think is available).

    Think about it this way. He went for 6 and 16 against the Bulls didn’t he? if Nash averages 6 and 16 with the Magic or Heat? Championship.

  • Steve

    @Mike-What “age is not a factor” means is that if a team is willing to have an old, withering point guard, then they would definitely be willing to have an old point guard who is still playing like he’s in his prime. You seriously felt like you needed to argue that when I made that point clear?

    Who says Nash would be Bibby on the Heat? It’s obvious the Heat still aren’t that good. They’re missing pieces. One of those pieces is a competent point guard. As much as LeBron and Wade love to have the ball in their hands all the time, they’re not as good of facilitators as Nash, and sometimes, Nash would be able to do some of the dirty work for them. Again, I’m not saying Miami is Nash’s best fit, but I guarantee Miami would be better if they had Steve Nash. And if Miami wants to win championships with their star-studded lineup, then they need to get better.

    I like how you guys keep referring to Melo as if he’s locked up as a Knick. When did he sign that extension? Did I miss something? If he decides to sign it, I would expect NY to get rid of D’Antoni over Melo, however, that isn’t a guarantee. If they’re smart and realize that Melo isn’t one of the top 10 players in the league, and he’s not a championship-caliber player (just like Amare isn’t) then they’ll have to get rid of one of them in hopes of signing someone who actually has a winner’s mentality. Either way, I don’t expect Melo and Amare to be a happy marriage in NY. They’re both vastly overrated players who don’t have a winner’s mindset. Amare’s game is already better suited for the half-court set. It’s called the pick and roll! Billups doesn’t run it half as efficiently as Nash. If your argument is that Billups can feed Amare better than Nash can, you’re insane. Nash has already proven he can make Amare look like the best PF in the game when he might not really be in the top five. When did Chauncey Billups prove that?

    And stop mentioning Billups’s ring as if he won it. His team walked into an exceptional situation that year. They waltzed through a pathetic East and got a Lakers team that was fighting itself more than it was fighting the Pistons. Billups played exceptionally well in that series, but of all people to credit with the win, I would credit Ben Wallace for dominating Shaq and Tayshaun Prince for shutting Kobe down. That Finals was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen, and I can’t stand how Billups gets all the credit for a Lakers implosion and stunning defense by two of the OTHER players on the Pistons. Heck, Hamilton averaged more points AND assists than Billups in that series. How does Billups get the MVP and all the credit? I don’t know.

    The “old” thing with Portland doesn’t matter because they already have an old PG, but their old PG is washing up. Nash isn’t. If they need a “young PG” to match their young team, then why have they been sitting on Miller for so long? And given the way a couple of their guys are playing, they don’t have long before some guys are going to be demanding bigger contracts and they’re going to have to blow up the nucleus of the team. Their time to win is NOW, if they even have one at all. Portland needs a winner NOW, not a PG of the future. Who knows what their future actually holds?

    The contenders who would trade for Nash (only one of the teams mentioned in this post are actually contenders. NY isn’t even close, Portland isn’t really all that good, and their luck is too bad to get them there):

    Miami
    Orlando
    LA
    Dallas

    The three contenders who wouldn’t trade for Nash are SA, Boston, and Chicago. Everyone else is a pretender.

  • Marley

    Miami – is NOT going to trade for Nash. They already have 3 guys who need and want the ball.

    Orlando – is NOT going to part with Jameer or invest in an OLD PG when they are trying to lock up Dwight Howard for another 6 years.

    LA – is defintely NOT going to trade for Nash. They have Derek Fisher who plays his role perfectly in their Kobe-dominated system.

    Dallas – right! Jason Kidd for Steve Nash! LMAO … pointless. Especially when Jason Kidd can post Steve Nash up on offense.

    Nash will not be going to any Championship calibre team. He will remain a Phoenix Suns or get traded to a team dumping salaries or looking for veteran leadership.

  • Marley

    And let’s not also forget:

    Everybody knows Chris Paul is on the market.

    If you are Miami, New York, Orlando, or even Dallas, who would be a better investment? Chris Paul or Steve Nash?

    Remember that Steve Nash’s stats are inflated because he runs the entire offense on the Phoenix suns.

    If Suns played more of a traditional offense like LA, Boston, or San Antonio, his stats would be more deflated.

  • Steve

    More erroneous conjecture.

    Listen, I, along with others, have already come up with a number of reasons as to why these teams might possibly want Steve Nash. Did I or anyone else ever say Nash is a lock for Miami/Dallas/Orlando/NY/any team? No. No one ever came close to saying that. We’re just saying it’s completely plausible.

    Crazier things have happened than a contender trying to sign a two-time MVP to get them over the hump. Get over yourself and stop arguing a point you’re not proving.

  • Marley

    @Stevie Wonder

    More erroneous conjecture?

    Seems like you are the one making conjectures that make no business sense.

    Anybody can make any conjecture. Can Nash end up in LA? Sure! But highly unlikely…like next to ZERO.

    That is the point.

    At this point Nash’s career he is now another Shaq.

    No team, especially a championship calibre team is going to invest in a 38 y/o Steve Nash as a starting PG.

    That is stupid business.

    Since no trade could be made this year to move Nash to a championship calibre team, it is very very unlikely it is going to happen next year when he is a year older.

    So your the one who needs to get over it.

  • Steve

    He’s another Shaq? Listen to yourself. You’re proving my point!. Four championship contenders in the past few years have put HUGE investments into Shaq in order to get over the hump, including Boston as recently as LAST YEAR.

    I’m done, seeing as you really just don’t have a clue.

  • Marley

    @Stevie Wonder

    Listen to yourself.

    That’s the whole point.

    Shaq is backup insurance come playoff time. No team expects him to be DA MAN!

    You are claiming there are championship calibre teams out there that will trade for Nash to be their STARTING PG who runs and controls the offense.

    No team is going to invest in a 38 y/o to be their STARTING PG who runs and controls the offense.

    Nash will have to accept playing a lesser role if he wants to play on a championship calibre team.

    I’m done, seeing as you really just don’t have a clue. LMAO!