NBA lockout over, games to begin on Christmas Day

Posted by on November 26th, 8:43 am

Let there be NBA basketball.

After a 15-hour meeting that lasted into the wee hours of Saturday morning, the NBA owners and players reached a handshake agreement, ending the 149-day lockout.

“We want to play basketball,” NBA commissioner David Stern said.

Pending ratification by both the players and the owners, the league is planning on a 66-game season that kicks off on Christmas with the Celtics at Knicks, Heat at Mavericks and Bulls at Lakers. Training camp and free agency are both slated to start on December 9.

Both sides must have counted their blessings over Thanksgiving and realized the lockout wasn’t one of them, as just 12 days ago David Stern said the league was headed for a “nuclear winter.”

The union had disbanded and a cancelled season seemed likely. But the players’ contingent – Billy Hunger, Derek Fisher, Maurice Evans, attorney Ron Klempner and economist Kevin Murphy – and the owners’ regime – Stern, Adam Silver, Spurs owner Peter Holt, and attorneys Rick Buchanan and Dan Rube – held secret meetings earlier in the week and ultimately came to the tentative agreement that’s in place.

“We thought it was in both of our interests to try to reach a resolution and save the game and to be able to provide the kind of superb entertainment the NBA historically has provided,” Hunter said.

Although the agreement has been made and a 66-game season is on the horizon, there are some hurdles before everything is set in stone.

“We’re very pleased we’ve come this far,” Stern said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

The owners need a majority vote from its 29 members, while the union needs the same from its 430-plus members. The players also have to drop their antitrust lawsuit and reform their union prior to voting.

Smaller issues like the draft, NBA age limit, and drug testing still have to be discussed. But the larger issues have been solved, and ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted that the players accepted a 49-51 BRI split.

So what does this mean for the Phoenix Suns?

At first glance, it means what it does for every team – they finally get to play basketball again. But there are a few moving pieces to consider.

First, the Suns will definitely be without Aaron Brooks until February 15 at the earliest, as he signed with Chinese Basketball Association defending champion Guangdong. The CBA regular season lasts until mid-February, while the playoffs go into March, meaning Brooks’ free agency will most likely go into 2012.

Gani Lawal has been tearing it up in Poland, but unlike Brooks, he will be able to return to the Suns. The remainder of the Suns’ roster is still in the States, and will be able to get back to work on Dec. 9.

Since chemistry is a major barometer for success in Phoenix, one could argue that less time together could hurt a team like the Suns. But the majority of the roster has experience playing together, and a shorter season could go a long way toward perserving the health of Steve Nash and Grant Hill.

Those issues will come to light as the season progresses. But the sole fact that there is an NBA season is reason to rejoice in Phoenix and across the rest of the country.

Mike Schmitz

Mike Schmitz is a former ValleyoftheSuns writer who now works as an assistant video coordinator for the D-League\\’s Bakersfield Jam. He specialized in video breakdowns for VotS.

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Tags: Lockout · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News

44 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Yay!

    I don’t know the details of the agreement, but it sounds like the players came around and realized that even if this CBA was not their ideal, it was better than accepting the same contract a year later (and a year poorer).

    The players didn’t build the league. The owners did. It’s theirs. It’s like with the Olympics … who built the Olympics, the athletes or the Olympic Committee? While clearly the athletes are the stars of the Olympics, nothing would ever happen without the Olympic Committee working internationally to create the opportunity for the athletes to come together, to share the spotlight, and hopefully to gain some fame and fortune. The NBA is no different. It’s the owners who create the opportunity for the top basketball players to showcase their skills for the public, become famous, and make sweet salaries – and if they are stars, to also become eligible for huge endorsement deals.

  • 2 Zak // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Great news. :) I’m actually kind of glad that Brooks won’t be available at the beginning of the season. Dowdell will get more time to prove himself and it should also force PHX to look into other available PGs to back up Steve. Brooks could become expendable due to his absence. And even though the competition isn’t up to NBA standards, Lawal has probably improved his game much more by actually playing in Poland rather than spending that time mostly sitting on the PHX bench.

    I’m not expecting miracles out of the Suns this season but I’m very much looking forward to seeing what kind of moves they make before the season starts and, of course, actually getting to see them PLAY again!

  • 3 Lloyd I. Cadle // Nov 26, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I want to see what the new agreement does regarding a hard cap. If they retain a system where the Lakers can go 58 million over the cap and simply pay a fine, then we all lose.

    Competitive balance is good for T.V. ratings and fan interest throughout the country. More fan interest among the smaller markets will also mean more profits for the players and owners and it will enhance the NBA brand.

    On the basketball side of it, I also want to see Dowell play. Young PF’s like the number one pick and Lawal may give the Suns some good young talent inside.

    I am also anxious to see Gortat with another year under his belt. Gortat may be an all star this year.

  • 4 Zak // Nov 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    What I’ve read about the new luxury tax system is that it won’t be as harsh as in previous NBA CBA proposals but there will be at least some things in it to dissuade free-spending owners.

    It’s not a hard cap but it should make teams like the Lakers think long and hard about how far they’re willing to go into luxury tax range. I doubt that it is nearly as much as the hard line owners wanted but it should still help the small market teams.

    I’m not so sure about Gortat making the all star game this year (and there’s some question as to whether there will even be an all star game this season) but I would bet that he comes close to making it. Who really knows though… this could be a breakout season for him. He played exceptionally well last season… and it was the first season for him out from under DH’s shadow with significant playing time.

  • 5 Scott // Nov 26, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    I’m hoping the Suns can sign Michael Redd as a free agent and trade Pietrus for Beno Udrih. Assuming Redd stays healthy, he’d be the crunch time scoring threat. Udrih would be the credible veteran backup for Nash that the Suns have always needed.

    I’m concerned, though, that Redd will head to the Spurs instead, leaving the Suns to look at further trade options to get a go-to guy. In that case, I expect Lopez, Childress, and Warrick to join Pietrus on the trading block.

  • 6 Lloyd I. Cadle // Nov 26, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Now is the best time to trade Lopez. He is big and young and some teams may take a risk on him.

    One more bad year by him, and the Suns would get nothing for him in a trade.

  • 7 Tony // Nov 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    At least there will be NBA basketball, but as a Suns fan, the only enjoyment I will have watching them play will be to see Nash play. This Suns team as is, and without even Brooks and still possibly Hill (as he is a free-agent) is one of the worst teams in the western conference if not the worst and so long as Sarver is running things, the team will never regain its title-contending possibility.

    For all the Sarver defenders out there, and I realize there are only a few, but they are adamant knuckleheads in defending the moron, tell me a starting five that is worst in the west than the Suns as it prob stands now:
    Nash, Dudley, Hill, Frye, and Gortat and if Hill is smart and leaves, that will mean either Childress or Peitrus will be starting at sf.

  • 8 sun also rises // Nov 26, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    First time I come on here in four months, looking forward to talking ball with my fellow PHX fans about the possibility of a season, and the last thing I see is Tony flapping his gums like it’s two weeks after the end of last season.

    Anybody who tries to debate you is a knucklehead, Tony. I can feel that. You proved a long time ago that you’re as phony a fan as they come, reveling in the team’s failures as part of your creepy obsession with $arver. While the rest of us are rejoicing in seeing our boys come back and what the new year might bring, you remain ridiculous. I find myself hoping for a Nash trade not only because it will be good for MVSteve, but because it will HOPEFULLY mean that you finally make good on all your empty threats to quit rooting for the Suns (if what you do could be called “rooting” in any way shape or form) and finally leave this board for good.

    Of course, as with all addicts, this ain’t gonna happen because you need an audience. Nobody talking about $arver to begin with? Don’t worry, Tony has no problem baiting the hook like a junkie shaking for a fix. lololol. I can practically see him foaming at the mouth, writing this crap. “SOMEBODY TELL ME I’M A BAD BOY AND THAT SARVER IS A GOOD OWNER, I NEED THIS.” Sad, sad sad.

    But now that I’ve dusted this kid off as usual, let me just say hi to everybody else. The real fans: Steve, Lloyd, KJ, our writers. I hope you all had a nice summer and I look forward to getting back into real talk with the true fans.

  • 9 sun also rises // Nov 26, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    And before you even get started, Tony: this isn’t a defense of $arver, it’s a comment on your phony/fair weather standing as a fan. I know how you like to get it twisted and pretend like anybody who calls you out for your weird stalker trip is “defending the enemy” and whatever, but I actually agree with the points in principle.

    I just think you’re a clown with a one-track mind who epitomizes everything wrong with sports fans. But that’s on you, and nothing to do with defending Robert S. Hope this saves you some time on the comeback (Though we all know it won’t… lolol. There’s that foam again).

  • 10 Jason A. // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Nice post sar. Why people waste their time to come on here and bash the Suns is beyond me. BTW, I’ll stick up for $arver. He was one of the reported “hard liners” to come back to the table, and as a result of this CBA the Suns have a chance to be more competitive in the future. Sure he’s a PITA, but he’s our PITA. Stick with him and give him a shot. Let’s see what he can do going forward.

  • 11 Tony // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Sun also rises,

    how much does Sarver pay you to defend him?

    True fans are objective and are not so gullible as to believe whatever the organization does and says is for the benefit of the team and its fans.

    By the way, you realize you are by far in the vast minority of people whom actually defends Sarver. Heck, even in NBA 2k, the announcers indirectly criticize Sarver, by his selling of draft picks.

    And just so you know Sarver-defender, I mean Sun also BS, I will continue to criticize every absurd move Sarver has made and will continue to make. I would not say he’s as bad an owner as Frank McCourt of the Dodgers, who took money intended to go to the Dodgers into his pocket book for personal purposes and expenditures, but Sarver is a close second in worst owners in all of professional sports.

  • 12 steve // Nov 26, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    I guess I should point out the obvious. Every time you bash sarver, a handful of different people come on here to defend him. I think the people who hate sarver are a bit more vocal and pushy, but reasonable people would realize that the same man who gutted his front office, refused to resign arguably overvalued players, and pushed for ill-advised trades in the hope of building a defensively stout contender also brought nash here and kept him here. Nash is the reason we’ve sniffed the wcf, and sarver is the reason Nash is in PHX. Reasonable people can acknowledge the good AND the bad.

    That said, go suns!

  • 13 NBA saves season; to have 66-game schedule starting Christmas Day – CBSSports.com | 24 hr Defense Attorney // Nov 26, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    [...] percent. Under the owners' most recently proposed system, the players felt it would have …NBA lockout over, games to begin on Christmas DayValley of the SunsNBA owners, players reach tentative deal, games to begin Dec. 25NBCSports.comall [...]

  • 14 Bin // Nov 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

    @Scott I also like Udrih but Redd is a no-no. That available minutes at the 2 guard should go to Dudley or to Childress.

  • 15 Scott // Nov 27, 2011 at 9:13 am

    @Bin –

    I honestly don’t know what shape Redd is in now. He’s not that old, and it’s said he’s fully recovered from injury. If that is indeed the case, Redd may not be able to carry a team like he did with the Bucks, but he should be able to find his spot alongside Nash and Hill.

    As for Childress and Dudley, while they may be nice guys and good role players, they have done little so far to cause teams to think they are scoring threats or crunch time defensive targets. Redd, on the other hand, was “that guy” for the Bucks.

    I’m not insisting that the Suns get Redd. However, the Suns need a guy LIKE Redd, whether it is Iguodala, Gay, or whomever. Nash says it, Gentry says it. It was evident at the ends of close games last year. But who can the Suns get?

  • 16 Zak // Nov 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Redd could be worth a shot… depending on the price. No matter what team signs him I think he’s going to have to prove that he’s still got it and is fully recovered from his injuries before he even comes close to making the kind of money he was making.

  • 17 sun-arc // Nov 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Glad there will be a season, and a harder cap for luxury teams.

    I just don’t think it is in the cards for the suns to be competetive this year. I think the goal is to free up money for next summer. We’ll see.

    But if we do go for some FA’s and trades, I sure hope we can do better than Udrih and Redd. Neither of those guys are going to save our team. Redd will never be what Richardson was to us. Udrih is good, and I wouldn’t mind getting him for the future. But I think we need to look for a future without Nash/Hill. Sucks, but that is where we are. I wish they were 26, but they aren’t. We have to find our next studs.

    No matter what, though, I’ll be rooting for our team. (Including our owner.)

  • 18 Zak // Nov 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I agree sun-arc. Gortat is a keeper. The rest – after Steve and Grant – I don’t consider essential. With some luck, the Suns could make some good deals and actually be competitive this year. Unlikely but possible. Dumping VC’s enormous toxic contract this year should help with being able to sign someone actually worth that much money. I just hope that they don’t blow that opportunity.

    Anyone else think that the Suns should spend some – not all – of that money trying to steal JJ Barea from Dallas? That guy has unlimited energy and I think he would fit in well with the offense. He’s not Steve 2.0 but I like his game and I think he’s the best free agent PG on the market this season.

  • 19 sun-arc // Nov 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    @ Zak- I don’t think JJ Barea will be worth what he’ll fetch after last season. I like his game too, but, frankly, Brooks might be better than him if he’s healthy.

    I’m actually for tanking this season to get high draft picks for next summer. So, personally, as hard as it is for me to say, I think we should trade Nash away, let Hill walk, and see how low we can go.

    I hate to do it, because Nash has been my favorite player in the NBA since 2002. But, my suns team has to come first, and right now we can get something good for him. He’ll probably walk at the end of the season anyway (either retire or find another team), so best to get some worth for him while we can. It’s sad, and seems heartless, but it’s the business. And the lockout made me see it more clearly (read: cynical).

  • 20 Scott // Nov 27, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    While I’ve not seen the Suns’ schedule, I hear that all teams will play between 1-3 back-to-back-to-back games this season.

    That puts even more pressure on the Suns to get a PG like Udrih to back up Steve.

  • 21 Tony // Nov 27, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    Steve,

    your ignorance is astounding. Firstly, it is pretty much only you and Sun Rises who feel the need to defend the indefensible in Sarver. Secondly, Colangelo is the one whom brought Nash over not Sarver. And that goes for Amare and Marion as well.

    There are some things where to denounce the obvious in the attempt to be diplomatic is no longer reasonable. Sarver is one such example. It is obvious to anyone even semi-objective, that he single-handily took an elite team and turned them into a lottery team. Name one good move he’s made since becoming owner. I certainly cannot think of one. He let JJ go, and while that arguably was a move some might condone, he should have learned from that move that you don’t let star players go for nothing. But instead, what does he do, he lets Amare leave also for nothing.
    Let’s talk about the draft picks he sold for cash….Rondo, Deng, Fernandez, and Gortat, the freaking guy the Suns traded J-Rich and Hedo for. These moves had nothing to do with improving the team, but instead were aimed primarily at lowering payroll cost and weakening the future of the Suns organization.

    Look at all the turnover in the front office as well. First he refused to pay Jerry Colangelo, who had a strong foundation with the Suns organization. Then he brings in Kerr, whom after two seasons finally learns how to be a GM. And after a terrific Suns season, after going 6 games against the Lakers in the WCF, Sarver demands the entire front office take a pay cut. So once again Sarver replaced the front office, only now he has done so with a guy who has never been a GM before in Blanks, because no reputable GM wanted to work for Sarver, especially at his offering price and he hires a former agent, with no experience whatsoever running an NBA organization as President in Babby.

    Thus, I ask you to name one good move Sarver has made since becoming owner. And forget about the Nash move, because that was Colangelo who recruited and brought him over to Phoenix.

  • 22 Scott // Nov 28, 2011 at 1:00 am

    @Tony -

    I’d also defend Sarver. Yes, it was Colangelo who brought Nash back, and who signed Amare and Marion, who drafted Barbosa, who traded for Joe, and who went through several coaches before hiring and promoting D’Antoni. And I suspect no one was more surprised at the success of the Suns after the Nash trade.

    However, I don’t think either Colangelo (Jr or Sr) could stay after the sale of the Suns, unless Sarver was going to be a silent partner and let the Colangelos continue to run the shop. And that was never the plan of anyone, to the best of my knowledge. Colangelo Jr. has gone on to Toronto where he’s not done so well, and Sr. did a great and much needed job for men’s basketball and is now with the HoF. While I’m sure the Colangelos still have affection for the Suns and their time with the team, I suspect the cut Colangelo Sr got from the D-Backs hurt more than the departure from the Suns. (I’m pretty sure he’s said as much in an interview.)

    As for all the draft picks that were sold during the early years of Sarver’s ownership, I’m firmly of the belief that it was D’Antoni’s doing. He didn’t want the rookies. He wasn’t going to develop them. What he wanted was the talented core of the team plus some veterans he planned on never having to play. Remember Jalen Rose? Eric Piatkowski? Walter McCarty? D’Antoni wanted these guys, not rookies, even though he didn’t play them. Not the best of plans for the team’s future, but I think the front office understands now that they need to take rookies on and not sell them, regardless of what a coach might want.

    As for Sarver taking on the combo of Babby and Blanks, I may be mistaken but I think that was on the advice of Kerr (as was reported in an interview). And I think that was based on Kerr’s assessments of his own weaknesses, and maybe the weaknesses in the Suns organization, which was to have someone in charge who really understood the CBA and player contracts, and to have someone else who was a seasoned talent evaluator … as opposed to someone like Kerr, who was more of a generalist.

  • 23 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Nov 28, 2011 at 1:39 am

    BASKETBALL!

    … Interesting read so far. Though, it is more of the same. People wanting to string Sarver up and those who might not be quite as negative about it, but generally feeling the same.

    I do not agree that it was all Sarver’s fault in terms of the great players we had leaving the Valley. In every scenario, he did try to get assets back but as I always say, it’s hard to get pieces that work in a Nash-driven offense. Lets break them down.

    Joe Johnson – Honestly, he wasn’t even the 127-million-dollar man when he left the valley. Not yet. Though he wanted a new deal that warranted a status closer to that. He also said himself that he wanted to be the guy and he couldn’t do it in PHX with Nash around.
    Were we to trade him away while he was under that rookie contract? That was in the middle of SSOL. You can’t trade him away at that point and then you have to let him walk if you don’t want to pay him and if he wants to be the star of a team.

    Matrix – As valuable as Matrix was to Phoenix, you can’t give him what he wanted. The salary he was looking at was far too big for the player and it would have all but signed an even earlier separation order with STAT.
    He got what he could for Marion; it just didn’t work. Keep in mind, at the time, there weren’t many other people looking at Marion.

    Stoudemire – The suns tried, and tried, and tried, and tried, and tried to find a package for STAT. For what, 2 years? They knew he wasn’t staying in Phoenix beyond that deal he was on. They never could get proper value back for him, so they let it ride out while trying for a championship. That, was the right thing to do.

    Once STAT was gone it was going to be hard because the only guy the Suns could’ve gone after at that point to fill that void was Bosh, and he was already destined for Miami.

    All of that above happens to every strong NBA dynasty eventually and it happens quickly for dynasties that are run by a very specific philosophy or player. So for that, I can’t hate on Sarver.

    HOWEVAH – #S.A. Smith

    Post-Amare, and into this last campaign, Sarver should have signed off on the rebuilding process. The fact that he didn’t makes me place the current Suns status on his shoulders along with a bit of hatred.

    The Gortat deal is fine, but once Gortat’s potential was identified, the Suns should have gone into wholesale mode.
    Dragon should’ve been kept, (anybody who believes otherwise at this point is an idiot), and handed the keys to the car while Nash ended up with whatever contender for a decent young player + picks in some sort of multi-team deal.

    The Suns should have played the season out and drafted a scoring threat out of this draft unless one of the 2 big studs were available.

    So right now, you’d still have a point guard who can run the offense on a good enough level with THORTAT!?!?!? given a full [66 game] season to show what he can do in a similar system with a scorer [Jordan Hamilton] who can slash ready to go and a payroll moving forward that was Sarver friendly.

    The Next season you’ve got draft picks, cap room, and a team that could be attractive for star players coming up on free agency. Why Sarver didn’t go that route is beyond me. It fits his business model.

    So that part of it, everything post-Amare is totally Sarver’s fault. Instead of starting this season in 2nd gear going into 3rd, we’re idle on a hill with no breaks and the momentum is starting to send the car backwards into a flaming chasm filled with lava, shards of rock and metal, and the next 3 Twilight Movies.

    By the way, I’m sticking with Lawal. He’s going to be a beast, and he’s cheap so… They better keep him.

  • 24 Scott // Nov 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

    @Rich -

    I liked Dragic, but I think there must have been something going on in the background that made the Suns FO give up on him. Gentry sort of set him up to fail by giving him just one perimeter shooter for much of the season, thereby clogging the paint and not allowing Dragic to follow the pattern of running into the paint himself to set up offensive options. Perhaps this was a test, to see if he could overcome it? To see how Dragic would respond psychologically and socially, to see if he would try harder to lead the 2nd unit or shrink back into his shell?

    I don’t know what happened or why. But I suspect Dragic’s difficulty was impressing with his leadership skills and not with his athletic skills.

    Consider who they picked as a replacement. Brooks is not shy or lacking in confidence.

  • 25 steve // Nov 28, 2011 at 10:11 am

    @Tony

    Do you realize how full of fail you are yet? That leaves the count of “sarver-defenders” on this post at me, Scott, Rich, sun also rises, and Jason A on this thread alone. NONE of us are saying, “Sarver is the best owner of all time,” or even, “Sarver is a GOOD owner.” None of us have said anything like that. You’re just making the claim that he’s the “second-worst owner in professional sports next to Frank McCourt.” That’s preposterous.

    I realize where your frustration with him comes from. You’re a fan, and you don’t think your owner is putting your team in a good position to win. I agree with you there. Sarver has made some mistakes that have really cost the Suns, but he’s also the one who made them a perennial contender in the first place.

    Colangelo didn’t sign Nash. I’ve already gone over this on this site, but maybe you didn’t read it. Colangelo owned the team at the point when negotiations with Nash began. Sarver gained possession of the team and allowed Colangelo to continue the negotiation process – to finish what he started. Nash was comfortable with Colangelo, Colangelo was comfortable with Nash, Sarver had faith Colangelo knew what he was doing, blah blah blah… the point is this: If Sarver hadn’t given the OK for the Nash deal, Nash wouldn’t be here. Colangelo never paid a dime to Nash in his second tenure here. So, why should he get all the credit for the Suns’ successes as a result of Nash? He shouldn’t. At the VERY least, Sarver deserves half of that pie.

    Also, Colangelo certainly didn’t offer or sign Nash’s extension. That was Sarver. Forgive me if I’m wrong about this one as well, but I believe it was also Sarver that signed Amare to his first max deal. So, the two biggest pieces of the Suns’ successes were at the very least KEPT here by Sarver. No credit for that though? That was all Colangelo, because he gave the OK for whoever was the GM at the time to draft Amare? So, by default, it is Colangelo who should get ALL of the credit for everything Amare accomplishes in his entire NBA career? Makes sense.

    Keep dreaming that Sarver is the devil if you want, but I don’t get it. I hate that he sells draft picks (whether or not it was D’Antoni who wanted it). I hate that he seems extremely fickle. He turns things around and makes monster split-second decisions on an annual basis (Shaq, Porter, Kerr, Babby, Blanks, Dragic, Turk, etc). I hate that his ridiculous mouth gets him in trouble a lot and into the bad graces of many people around the league (acting as a deterrent for big free agents that might want to come here). There are probably 10 owners in the association I would rather have than Sarver. I don’t think he’s the best, or even close to it.

    BUT, I credit the man for trying. He’s extremely forward-thinking, often to the point of a fault (remember the fickle thing?). And his decisions (except for pawning off picks) have almost always pointed out his desire for the team to improve, and ultimately win championships. He might not be going about it exactly the way you would want him to, but he has reached the WCF more times than Colangelo ever did, if I’m not mistaken.

    I’ll try not to bother with discussing this with you any further, as you clearly have your mind made up, but you make it too easy sometimes. A little less polarity will go along ways in keeping the more vocal of us at bay.

  • 26 steve // Nov 28, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Oh, I ignored your challenge. My bad.

    Name one good move Sarver has made…

    1. Extending Steve Nash (and signing him in the first place)

    Let’s name another.

    2. Firing Terry Porter (Steve Kerr’s hire)

    And another

    3. Firing Steve Kerr, who had so many mishaps in his short tenure that were overshadowed by a magical and lucky run to the WCF. Lucky because we got to play a depleted Portland and an awful Spurs team on our way to being put in our place by the Lakers. That team wouldn’t have made the WCF in 9 out of 10 tries any other year in the West, but it sure was fun to watch.

    4. Acquiring Tim Thomas

    5. Getting rid of Tim Thomas

    6. Getting rid of Raja Bell

    7. Getting rid of James Jones

    8. Getting rid of Shawn Marion

    9. Signing Eddie House

    10. Signing Lou

    An even 10 for you. Have at it.

  • 27 Zak // Nov 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

    @ sun-arc – You are probably right about the price being too high to get Barea. Ya gotta love his energy and fearlessness on the court though! But Brooks is tied up with his contract to play in China until late Feb. and, as much as I like ZD, the Suns will need to sign another PG before the season starts for insurance in case Steve is injured before Brooks returns.

  • 28 Daniel // Nov 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Wow, that escalated quickly…. Steve killed a guy.

    Considering Training camp to first game is 4 weeks. Has anyone read anything about what our first round pick Markieff Morris has been doing to prepare for the season?

  • 29 Zak // Nov 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    All I could find on Markieff was that he and brother Marcus have been “training in LA with former NBA point guard Pooh Richardson”. And training camp doesn’t actually open until Dec.9 so training camp to first game is actually only 16 days for the teams that open the season on Xmas day. Considering that, any team that makes big changes in their rosters could start the season “sloppy” compared to teams that make few changes.

    Honestly, I’m thinking that Lawal could play a more important role in PHX than Morris this season. MM will have a very limited time to learn and work his way into the rotation early although he might contribute later on.

  • 30 Tony // Nov 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Steve,

    I appreciate your comments. Good stuff but I disagree almost entirely.

    First off, this is the only Suns blog site I have seen with such ardent supporters of Sarver. However, the numbers are still minuscle when you compare outside this blog. Sarver’s reputation is so bad reporters in other cities ridicule his ownership style. If you do not believe me, google Sarver and see how many articles written by reporters denouncing him.

    Now off to your list of what you claim Sarver did right.
    First off, Colangelo recruited Nash to Phoenix not Sarver. Yes, Sarver did sign off on the deal as he became owner at the same point Colangelo sold the team to Sarver, but Sarver was not the one to recruit him and in fact, reports said he was torn about even signing Nash because he didn’t want to pay Nash’s asking price.
    Sure, I’ll throw you a bone in Sarver resigning Nash, but come on, that’s a pretty easy decision to make, especially when Nash is a big financial draw for Sarver. I’ll even give you his decision not to resign Thomas, as I agree Thomas was demanding too much based on one solid playoff series against the Lakers.
    The firing of Steve Kerr is a poor argument however. Remeber that Sarver hired Kerr in the first place, then when he appeared to finally have figured out how to be a GM, Sarver demanded the entire front office take a pay-cut. Make know mistake about it, Kerr’s refusal for him and the rest of the front office to take a reduction in salary was the primary reason for Kerr’s leaving. It had nothing to do with any improving the organization type decision. In fact, if you look into his post-Kerr moves, hiring a guy with zero GM experience in Blanks and a former agent also with no experience in being a president of operations, it is pretty clear this was entirely motivated by saving money.
    You then forget to mention that Marion was traded for Shaq, a horrible move, of which Kerr and arguably D’Antoni were responsible. However, Marion was traded primarily as a result of Sarver refusing to even come close to Marion’s salary demands in his then-upcoming extension. I do not have a problem with getting rid of Marion, since he was a malcontent and over-estimated his value, but I do put some blame in Sarver for allowing his trade for Shaq.
    Eddie House was a great fit for the Suns, so I do not see why you feel it was a positive for the Suns to let him go. But you cannot compare him now as to when he was with the SUns, since he’s aged quite a bit.
    Sure he signed Lou, for basically the minimum, but unless I am mistaken, he didn’t resign him and Lou is no longer a Sun.
    Finally, unless you have some insider’s knowledge, I have not seen any reports stating Antoni was the guy primarily responsible for selling the draft picks. Show me the evidence for that. Even if that was the case, then what incentive would there be for D’Antoni to simply sell the draft picks? Wouldn’t make more sense for him to use the draft picks as trade bait? Yet, every one of these draft pick deals was for cash.

    So Steve, I realize you and a couple of others for some reason have for whatever reason this blind support for Sarver. Why I have no idea. Remember, this was a guy who every year continued to raise ticket prices until it was so obvious how mediocre the Suns team has become that he was forced to not do his annual price-raising plan. Thus, it is not like Arte Moreno of the Angels, whom lowered prices when he took over and continues to maintain one of the cheapest pricing ticket plans in all of MLB but on the downside, refuses to spend a little extra to bring in star talent. If Sarver was at least similar to Moreno in that regard I could slightly forgive him. However, he’s not.
    Time will tell how the Suns do in the near future. But if you are optimistic the team will rebound solidly, then you are in for a real disappointment.

  • 31 Zak // Nov 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Tony,

    A nice, well thought response. While I’m not a Sarver fan, I’m not a fanatical hater of him either. The Suns will need luck as much as anything else to field a competitive team as long as Sarver is the owner but he is far from the worst owner in the NBA. I only defend him in that respect. The Suns could have a far worse owner than Sarver and could be a regular lottery team rather than an occasional one.

  • 32 steve // Nov 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    ^^^^^

    What he said. I’m not a Sarver supporter, I just think it’s wrong to say he’s the worst owner.

    It irks me that the national media (and even some of the local guys) feel the need to rip Sarver like crazy when most of the criticism is either pointless or baseless. He’s a constant villain, and I honestly think it’s more because of his stupid loud mouth than it is because of his decisions as an owner.

    The Suns have never had a better run than they have had under Sarver’s watch (not even the Barkley days, really), yet he’s somehow the worst owner in the NBA? No, I’m sorry. Just because the majority believes something (that Sarver is a maniac whose every move will inevitably destroy his team and the league) doesn’t make it true. Your argument that the majority believes Sarver is a terrible owner is simply ad populum, and it holds no water. I couldn’t care less what others think. I just look at what I know to be true. He’s average in just about every way (except for wins, in which he is WAY ahead of the curve).

  • 33 steve // Nov 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Oh, but I whole-heartedly agree with your ticket price argument. Phoenix can’t demand LA, NY, or Boston prices, yet I feel like it tries. I don’t know where the Suns are at as far as the league average is concerned, but I feel like tickets here are way overpriced. If I can’t take my wife on a date in the lower bowl for under $200, then that’s a serious problem. The only way I ever get good tickets for the game is scoring them through corporate deals or bumming some seats off friends.

  • 34 luis // Nov 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    i say the suns should start rebuilding by trading for young players like beasly from minnesota, mayo from memphis, and sign players like nick young, earl clark he should be given a second chance. they should also get rid of warrick, lawal, childress, frye, pietrus. if they cant trade them than release them. that leaaves the suns with nash, gortat, lopez, dudley, and morris. this should be the suns next years team.
    Pg. nash,
    sg. mayo
    Sf. hill
    pf beasly
    c. gortat
    bench
    pg. brooks
    sg.young
    sf.dudley
    pf. clark
    c lopez

  • 35 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Nov 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

    @ luis – no.

    Face it, ladies and gents.. (uh, are any of our regulars women?), it’s time for a complete system shutdown and a total reboot.

    We’re lucky we have a center who could be top 10 in this league at the position. That’s a big deal. May as well break it all down and finally build from the ground up. I want the team to be OKC, Memphis, or Portland [sans injuries] in 5 years.

    As a team, the Suns are bad right now. As individual players, there are pieces here that will be very attractive to contending teams looking to try and sneak a title in during a crazy 66 game season.

    Get as many draft picks as possible before the other teams, (who are already of the right mentality), grab them all. This draft class coming up is SPECTACULAR. Having less than 3 first round [near lottery] picks will be unacceptable.

  • 36 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Nov 29, 2011 at 8:44 am

    @ scott – I’ve thought about the Dragon situation quite a bit. I find it a tragedy. Not quite on the level of Richard Dumas, (that guy was a beast. a BEAST!!), and his Bobby Brown problem, but it’s up there.

    I still can’t explain the logic, but I have a theory on it now that I’ve thought about it for half a year.

    Honestly, ejecting your heir with a draft pick? I honestly think it was a move made as another excuse for not wanting to let go of Nash, Sarver’s cash cow.

    I think the order was sent down and followed without question. If Dragon was given the same flow and space that he was given the previous season, he would have continues to ascend. Perhaps to the point where dealing Nash becomes a bit more “casual-fan-friendly” IE, where not doing right by the team could actually cost Sarver more money.

    Dragic and Dowdell, with Gortat as the feature for Dragic and Dowdell doing what he was already doing off the bench, would’ve been fine to begin the rebuilding process. It would’ve actually been the best case scenario to start a rebuild really.

    If you get rid of that scenario, you can easily say “well, we don’t have a guard to go to so we have to keep Steve.”

    … Still so much Hatred for the Suns front office for getting rid of him. So much hatred.

  • 37 Jason A. // Nov 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

    You guys are something else. We haven’t played a game yet and it’s all doom and gloom. I’m not under the illusion that we’re a top team but COME ON!

    If we get lucky we will make the playoffs. If we make the playoffs anything can happen. And if not, we have lots of cap space for the future. We are in a GREAT position.

    Put Nash and Gortat aside for a sec. I believe Dudley can be the SG we need. Grant will resign here and he’s still a strong player. No doubt, we need to figure something out at PF, but between Frye, Lawal, and Morris someone is bound to surprise. Why can’t it happen? IT WILL.

    And this is all without any free agent pickups! Once we drop Carter, possibly amnesty Childress (I doubt it will happen), and enjoy Brooks’ absence, we’ll have noteworthy cap space this year. Not enough for a star (won’t happen) but enough that we’ll get a very strong backup PG and possibly a SG (I don’t think we need one but others do).

    Why do I seem to be one of the few optimists here? Why do the majority of (die-hard?) Suns fans bitch and moan about this and that, all of which is out of your control? Just support the team and cheer your ass off. We need it.

  • 38 Zak // Nov 29, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t read it so much as “doom and gloom” as a bunch of guys with different opinions discussing how they think the Suns can become a better team. Nash, Dudley, Hill, Frye and Gortat are a pretty damn good starting lineup but the bench is pretty thin. Lawal and Markieff have potential but just that at the moment. Pietrus definitely has his moments and I think Childress is a better defender than people give him credit for although he’s not a real offensive threat. Warrick is a fair backup but still too light to play the PF spot. Brooks is really an undersized SG, not a true PG. Lopez… I really just don’t know what to think about Lopez anymore. And everyone agrees that VC is done and just wondering about who the Suns can get that might help them back into the upper echelon in the West.

    Yeah, there are a few who think it’s time – even past time – to blow the team up and start over from scratch but that’s just another opinion. I don’t think that’s necessary but that’s because I am an optimist! With just a few good moves and some luck (specifically in avoiding injuries) I think the Suns could be back in the WCF this year.

    I don’t call that gloom and doom… do you? And I doubt I the only one here who thinks that way.

  • 39 Jason A. // Nov 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    @Zak, you’re fine, you can stay. :)

  • 40 Zak // Nov 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Lol. Thanks, Jason A.

    Go Suns!

  • 41 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Nov 29, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    @ Zak – it’s time.

    “Being in” the playoffs is not good enough and the current Suns team [soon-to-be-not-so-current] might actually be good enough to make the playoffs ahead of Houston and Denver who lost 40% of it’s team to China, aren’t good enough to get by Los Angeles, (either team?), or Dallas, or SAS.

    After that, Nash is certainly gone as his contract is done and now all of the players who remain, who were here because they sort-of worked in a Nash-driven system really don’t work anymore.

    So that’s what you want? One more year of average to above-average ball and then a total bottom out with no draft picks and no Gortat? Because if we go that route he will certainly not stick around to give us any sort of foundation.

    I don’t want that. If you want that…

  • 42 Zak // Nov 30, 2011 at 5:39 am

    @ Rich – Lol, you sound as though you believe that I actually have some control over the team! It really doesn’t matter what I want since I have no control over whatever Sarver & Co. ultimately decide to do.

    My gut feeling is that there is no way they will trade Steve and gut the team and start a ground up rebuilding program this year. I certainly could be wrong but I’ve heard nothing yet to convince me that I am so I’m just hoping for the best this season and discussing what the Suns could do to improve the team this year.

  • 43 steve // Nov 30, 2011 at 10:12 am

    There is almost nothing they can do this year. They have no money. The only way we can improve is to pawn off our ridiculous contracts like Pietrus, Childress, Carter (what is his status these days, btw?), Warrick, and Frye. If we can’t get rid of at least two of those deals, we have no room to move. So, this year, I don’t think it’s possible to make marginal improvements. The team has to be blown up one way or another in order to make some moves. Get rid of two or three nobodies in the hope of getting one somebody, or get rid of Nash and possibly get one or two somebodies. Those are the options I see, and I’d rather get rid of Nash.

  • 44 Zak // Nov 30, 2011 at 10:50 am

    @ steve – Everything I’ve read indicates that the Suns will buy out Carter’s contract this year and then cut him loose. This year is only partially guaranteed so that will only cost them somewhere between $4-5 mil instead of the $18+ mil he would be owed if they kept him on the roster. That will give some flexibility that they will hopefully use to go after someone who can contribute to the team in the FA market.

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