10 ways the labor agreement impacts the Phoenix Suns

Posted by on December 1st, 11:08 am

This past year NBA front offices were stuck in limbo in that they could only evaluate each potential decision based on the current system, not the system those decisions would end up impacting.

With the lockout all but over, those poor general managers now have a road map by which to base future decisions.

Now it’s time to make sense of the post-lockout landscape both on a team level and an individual player/executive level, as I do below by analyzing 10 important questions surrounding the Suns in light of the new labor agreement:

1.  Did the Suns benefit from the new rules imposed by the lockout?

The Suns were among the teams hoping for widespread change to the rules of the NBA system. They did not get that, but at least the stiffer luxury tax penalties should dissuade more teams from becoming tax payers or at least from going deep into the tax.

These penalties likely ensure the Suns won’t go more than a few million over the luxury tax ever, if that, but if it ends up reducing the Lakers’ payroll down the road and preventing other teams from spending wildly it could end up leveling the playing field a bit.

The rules also allows non-taxpayers to offer a more lucrative mid-level exception (starting at $5 million over four years with 3 percent raises after the first two years as opposed to a three-year deal starting at $3 million), so a Suns team that stays under the luxury tax would have another added advantage over the tax teams.

However, a hard cap or at least a tax that works as a hard cap, would have been better for Phoenix.

In addition, the shorter extend-and-trade rules won’t affect the Suns at the beginning at least since they don’t have any such player to deal nor the assets to bring home a major extend-and-trade candidate.

2.  How does the deal impact the Suns’ summer of 2012 plans?

Seth Pollack feels the the new CBA throws a wrench in the Suns’ future plans. I’m not so sure.

Yes, it is now even more difficult for the Suns to land one of the Big Three of Dwight, CP3 or D-Will, as Seth explains, but that was very unlikely to happen anyway. They always would have had to take less money to come to the desert and there always were better options for them.

Seth notes that it’s never good to have lots of cap space to spend but no big name player to use it on because teams often are “prone to overspend on lesser players” in such cases as we saw in 2010 with the Suns, but I’m optimistic the Suns will have learned that lesson.

Cap space is always valuable, and there are certainly attractive players beyond the top three, particularly in the restricted free agent realm. With teams potentially fearing the adverse affects of the new luxury tax, talent could be available in trades in return for cap space as well.

To me the plan should always have been to build through the draft and supplement with that cap space, and I don’t see this deal changing that in any significant way.

3.  What will the deal do for the Suns’ free agency plans this year?

It shouldn’t do much. Aside from re-signing Grant Hill and shopping for a wing scorer perhaps, the Suns would be wise to save their money for next year, which seems to be the plan if Hill is their top priority.

They don’t have much cap space this year, so regardless of the rules the Suns weren’t likely to be players in any system.

4. How does the new CBA affect Steve Nash’s situation?

It could make him easier to trade since non-taxpaying teams can now take on “up to the lesser of 150 percent plus $100,000, or 100 percent plus $5 million of the salaries they trade away,” as Larry Coon writes. Before teams over the cap, not the luxury tax, could only take on 125 percent plus $100,000. In theory this will open up some more options and will make it less complicated to match contracts to make a trade work.

The Suns could also theoretically take on more salary in any potential Vince Carter trade if they wanted to pick up a useful asset in return for providing that instant cap relief, although such a move could push them into the tax.

The new extension-and-trade rules aimed at preventing another Carmelo Anthony situation shouldn’t affect Nash much because although players can only sign for two additional years in an extend-and-trade, it’s doubtful a team would want to sign Nash for anything longer than that. After all, he will turn 40 during that second additional year.

5. What was Sarver’s involvement in the lockout?

This is a question I cannot wait to have answered by the Suns’ owner himself.

At Brad Casper’s introductory news conference, Sarver said, “I can say that eventually when it’s over the facts of my role and my involvement will come out, and I look forward to that happening. I’m prohibited from commenting about it, but as you know don’t believe everything you read.”

Sarver was vilified for being among the most hardline of the hardliners and reportedly made the strange comment of saying his “wife had asked him to bring back the middle level exception in a designer bag.”

But in recent weeks we learned that Sarver and Gilbert “have not been as hawkish in the negotiations as they have been portrayed,” courtesy of CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, and then ESPN’s Marc Stein wrote a couple days before the lockout was resolved that Phoenix along with win-now teams like the Lakers, Heat, Magic and Celtics were among the teams pushing hardest for a deal in principle.

That just doesn’t jibe with the image of Sarver that has been drawn throughout the negotiations, as one would think the Suns would be among the last teams pushing for a deal alongside big money teams like that based on Sarver’s prior portrayal.

It will be interesting to find out if the villainous reports were exaggerated or if the Suns’ owner merely experienced a change of heart near the end.

6. How will the Suns use the amnesty clause?

I have already publicized my thoughts on the amnesty clause, and they remain largely the same after we learned that the amnesty clause will remove 100 percent of a salary from a team’s cap (although of course it must still be paid in full) and that the player must currently be on that team’s roster with a contract signed under the prior CBA.

In essence it lets a team wipe out one mistake made before the current rules were put into place, and it can be pocketed for later use as well. This is too bad for teams that have managed their caps well (although I’m glad it can only be used on current players so a big market team can’t buy talent in return for wiping out a small market team’s mistake), but should eventually be put into play by the Suns, who have three potential candidates.

Mickael Pietrus seems like a poor choice unless some compelling immediate benefit can be derived from waiving his $5.3 million expiring contract. Otherwise, he could be traded for an asset to a team needing cap space or just play out this season before providing that cap space to Phoenix.

For me, therefore, it comes down to Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress. Warrick has two years and $8 million of guaranteed money left (and a team option for $4 mil the year after), and Childress four years and $27 million.

It makes sense to keep both guys this season and make the decision next year when every cent of cap space will be at a premium. If Childress proves to be an effective rotation player, then you shave off $4 million of Warrick’s money. If Childress is a bust, then you kiss his final three years and $21 million goodbye. Either way the Suns will be able to reverse one of their 2010 mistakes (if Childress indeed ends up being a mistake), to accrue more cap space for their big summer of 2012.

The other interesting aspect of the amnesty rule that is that any team with salary cap (not luxury tax) space can submit an offer consisting of as much room as they have under the cap for a waived amnesty player. The winning bidder will then take on the player’s contract for the amount bid, and the waiving team will be on the hook for remainder of the contract.

This likely won’t be an option for Phoenix this season, but it definitely will be next offseason. That could be a time the Suns could nab an overpaid but productive player at an affordable price with some of their cap space.

7. Will Lon Babby find any loopholes?

One of the reasons the Suns hired Lon Babby as their president of basketball operations is because he is a long-time lawyer and agent adept at analyzing complicated contracts, which is exactly what this new CBA is.

Babby has now had a year on the job to get his feet wet, and the Suns will expect him to take advantage of some of these new rules to give them some sort of a competitive advantage. We will soon find out if this lawyer can help the Suns see something that the average GM glosses over.

8.  What happens to Aaron Brooks now?

Aaron Brooks could not have worse timing. A week after signing a one-year deal with a Chinese team that includes no escape clause, the league is back in action.

What we know is that Brooks is likely gone until at least March, when the CBA playoffs end.

I’m not quite sure what will happen at that point. For now the Suns have a $5,041,730 cap hold on their cap for Brooks, which is 250 percent of his previous salary, and have extended a $2,976,636 qualifying offer. The Suns could always renounce his rights if they needed the cap space (which they won’t if they indeed are not players).

To me the most logical scenario would be for Brooks to re-sign with the Suns for the rest of the year when he returns to the States and then for the Suns to make any long-term determination on him next summer.

For now Brooks can lament his lost shot at restricted free agency for the time being as he will toil away in China for a few months instead of playing in the NBA.

9. How does Dudley’s extension look in light of the new CBA?

Jared Dudley signed a five-year, $21.25 million extension that could be worth as much as $22.5 mil with incentives at the start of last season, a contract that seemed like a sweetheart deal for the Suns at the time.

But JD was cognizant of the changing labor landscape and the fact that role players like him just weren’t going to get paid like they used to.

If Dudley was going to test the restricted free agency market this offseason instead of awaiting the first year of that extension he could have taken a four-year deal for $20.45 mil from a non-taxpayer or a three-year deal for $9.27 million from a taxpayer (or more if a team felt he deserved better than a mid-level salary).

Dudley may have left a few dollars on the table in terms of average salary, but if he was concerned with long-term security he could not have done any better. With teams likely to be cautious when spending on role players anyway, perhaps Dudley took one look at this potential new labor landscape, considered his happiness in Phoenix and then decided to sign on the bottom line on a deal that looks as fair as ever now.

That’s because the deal looks good from the Suns side as well, assuming Dudley continues to produce at the clip he has the past few years. Locking up players long term is only bad if they underperform, and Dudley should be able to outproduce the $4 million plus he’s owed on a contract that gives the Suns an important piece of their future at less than the average annual (non tax) mid-level price.

10. Would the new max rules have kept Amare in Phoenix?

It certainly won’t help the Suns now, but they would have had a better shot at keeping Amare Stoudemire last summer because the New York Knicks would have only been able to offer him a four-year deal with 4.5 percent raises rather than a five-year deal with eight percent raises as was the case under the old CBA, according to Coon’s breakdown.

The Suns were only comfortable guaranteeing the first three seasons of Stoudemire’s contract, but they could have offered a more lucrative first three years than the Knicks. Perhaps at that point they could have gotten creative with that fourth year and STAT would have been more amenable to it since there wouldn’t have been $100 million sitting on the table in front of him in the Big Apple. That is, assuming he was genuinely interested in returning in the first place.

It won’t help the Suns now with nobody even close to worthy of a max deal, but if the Suns luck into a star in the draft down the road the new rules should make him easier to re-sign than Amare was.

And 1

ESPN’s Chad Ford and John Hollinger broke down how the new CBA affects each and every NBA team. Their analysis of the Suns is below:

How it helps: The amnesty rule will give Lon Babby a chance to undo a disastrous summer that saw owner Robert Sarver throwing away money on free agents like Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick.

How it hurts: The Suns were another team pushing hard for major changes to the CBA. They didn’t get them, and now it looks like there will be a long rebuilding process ahead in Phoenix.

The lockout also cost them Aaron Brooks, who inexplicably signed a deal in China with no NBA out just a week before players and owners reached a tentative agreement.

Immediate impact (this season): No CBA can undo the damage Sarver has done to the team in the past few years. In an attempt to save money, he gutted one of the most exciting teams in the league and is left with a roster of middling, overpaid players and Steve Nash. Nash is leaving sooner or later and the Suns will have to seriously consider moving him now if they want anything back.

Long-term impact (future seasons): Ehhhh. The Suns have Marcin Gortat going forward. But the rest of the team? It’s going to be a frustrating few years for fans.

Michael Schwartz founded ValleyoftheSuns in October 2008 and is the owner/editor emeritus of the site. He is currently working toward his MBA in sports business at San Diego State University.

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Tags: Aaron Brooks · Amare Stoudemire · Free Agency · Future · Jared Dudley · Lockout · Lon Babby · Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns Analysis · Robert Sarver · Steve Nash

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tony // Dec 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Suns Also Rises and Steve,

    did you read Hollinger and Ford’s comments at the bottom of the article?? “No CBA can undo the damage Sarver has done to the team in the past few years. In an attempt to save money, he gutted one of the most exciting teams in the league and is left with a roster of middling, overpaid players and Steve Nash.” Do you guys disagree with that? Those two are exactly right, Sarver has taken this franchise off a cliff because of his incompetence and penny-pinching ways.
    And don’t even think about the SUns landing Paul, Howard, or D-Will in 2012, none of those star players are going to sign deals with the Suns when they can sign elsewhere for the same amount of money and play for championship contending teams.

  • 2 steve // Dec 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    I read it.

    In the same article they also said, “The amnesty rule will give Lon Babby a chance to undo a disastrous summer that saw owner Robert Sarver throwing away money on free agents like Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick.”

    So, they think that it was an “attempt to save money” to sign two guys to ludicrous deals they didn’t deserve? They accuse Sarver of being a penny-pincher AND a heavy spender in the same breath. Do you not see the contradiction there?

    Listen, I’m not trying to defend those signings. If you’re familiar with what I’ve said about those two on here, I don’t think either one of them are worth CLOSE to what they’re making. However, you can’t call Sarver cheap and profligate and expect me not to notice.

    Btw, I don’t remember whether Babby was there by the time Childress was signed or not, but let’s not pretend it wasn’t Babby’s doing. Babby had SOMETHING to do with bring Childress and Hedo here. They were his boys. So, Ford and Hollinger are wrong for accusing Sarver of being sparing and spendy at the same time, and they also MIGHT be wrong about Sarver even being the talent evaluator for those bad signings.

    I’m not saying Sarver didn’t do anything wrong. Regardless of anything else, Sarver still signed their contracts, and that was a bad idea. However, try to have a little more objectivity and reason and don’t believe everything the media tells you. Just because someone is getting paid to speak or write doesn’t mean they know what they’re saying.

    I know you’re an intelligent guy, so did you not catch the contradiction I spotted? And what do you think of that? Will you not admit it wreaks of witchhunt/it’s-popular-to-bash-Sarver-right-now?

  • 3 Zak // Dec 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    steve is God. Don’t dare disagree with him. He knows all and sees all. That’s why he’s paid the big bucks to run the Suns for Sarver.

  • 4 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Dec 1, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    You know what? I don’t really want D12, or CP3. There really is no point to have Howard when we already discovered Gortat. Of course they’re not on the same level, but Gortat could further explode with a full season, (66 games go!), to start and get after it. CP3 is nice, but the kid is a bit injury prone.

    I’m not so sure that landing Williams is an impossible thing, though. He’s already proven that he will go anywhere to ball, and having a center to ball with makes a guard’s job easier. If he can’t go to NY, LAL, or MIA because of money and if he won’t go to BOS, DAL, or ORL [if Howard leaves] because those teams have broken it down and are rebuilding, why wouldn’t he come to Phoenix to play with THORTAT!?!?!? if the team does the right thing, sends Nash away for picks, further guts the team for cap space, (and more picks), and now you’ve got an instant young core that Williams could get after it for half a decade with?

    THEN AGAIN

    We here in the valley seem to really want to hold onto things, so that probably won’t happen.

  • 5 Scott // Dec 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    @Rich –

    I agree that I’m comfortable with Gortat. He may not be Hall of Fame material, but he’s a good player with a good attitude. He doesn’t strike me as the type to make silly demands. He just wants to work hard and win.

    Howard is good too, but you have to pay 3x the money to get a player who is maybe 1.5x better. If the Suns already have Gortat, they could spend the money better elsewhere.

    Howard will probably go to Houston, because their town expects to have quality big men, and they’ll pay to get it.

    CP3 will probably go to NY. Players get traded to opposing conferences, and NYC wants him the most. They also laugh at the luxury tax.

    D-Will, if he leaves NJ, would probably come out west. Which team would he fit best? Either the Suns or Dallas. I think now is the time for the Suns to strike, if they’re going to. Coming off the championship, Cuban probably isn’t going to replace J-Kidd right away, as that would be seen as backstabbing, so the Suns have a window, and the idea that there’s a disgruntlement between Nash and Sarver provides the trade with cover, so the owner takes the hit while the player (which is the one being traded) doesn’t take a hit in value.

    Having said that, I don’t know if the trade is doable, but there you go. If the Suns want D-Will, there may not be a better time than the present shortened season to trade for him.

  • 6 steve // Dec 1, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    @Zak

    If you could show me what is wrong about me calling out Hollinger and Ford for accusing Sarver of being cheap AND spendy in the same article, I’ll gladly admit I’m wrong.

    I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. A little while back, our good friend Momochi decided to point out that a couple of people on here (including myself) were incorrectly defining socialism. Once I saw I was wrong, I admitted that what I was referring to as socialism was actually more similar to communism.

    Some people don’t like to admit they’re wrong because they’re afraid it’s a bad thing. Being wrong isn’t a bad thing. Staying wrong is.

    Our little spat earlier is something where neither of us can be “wrong” because it’s a somewhat subjective matter. But I brought up the stats (which say Nash is top 5) and the No. 2 deal that was rumored to show Nash’s recent value. Your argument was that he is old so no team would want to risk their future for their present.

    Neither of us are “wrong,” but I sure as heck think I’ve got a better reason to believe what I do, especially in light of the fact that the Celtics and the Knicks have bet their futures on aging/questionably-healthy stars in the past few years in the hopes of winning a title.

    I don’t need you to say you’re wrong. You’re not “wrong.” I don’t need you to say anything, in fact. It’s just that as long as you’re arguing your point against mine as if your point refutes mine, I’ll argue right back. It is the internet, after all. What else happens on here besides nobodies pretending they have the answer to the universe (and yes, I’m talking about me)?

  • 7 Lloyd I. Cadle // Dec 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Great article. No one gives the Suns news better than Michael!

    Gortat is going to be a great center to build the team around.

    Dudley will get better and better and his contract will prove to be a steal.

    Much overlooked though is the value of Channing Frye. The Suns faltered at the end of the season when Frye was playing his best and then got hurt.

    I also think that Williams has a shot at becoming a Sun.

  • 8 Scott // Dec 1, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    FWIW, according to a recent video interview on the Suns site, Lopez also trained with Olajuwan. He didn’t go in with Gortat, which was on the Suns’ dime. Instead he went later, with his brother, and paid for it himself.

  • 9 Scott // Dec 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    @Steve -

    BTW, I didn’t take your argument that the trade of Nash for the #2 draft pick was a sign of Nash’s high value. I took it the other way.

    Recent #2s: Beasley and Darko.

    Is one year of Nash worth a whole career of either of these guys? Easily. One year of Nash is worth more than the entire career of both those guys. Neither Darko nor Beasley are ever going to sell tickets. Neither man is going to lead a playoff team.

    So for Minnie to offer (according to the rumor) only a #2 for Nash would show teams are not valuing him much at all.

    You may rightly point out that not all #2s are as bad as Darko and Beasley. That’s true. But the nature of the draft is that you can’t tell. You have to get lucky in that you get a top draft pick, you have to be lucky that the year you pick high is a year full of talent, you have to be lucky that you get the right guy, and you have to be lucky that your guy doesn’t succumb to the career-ending injury bug.

    With that draft, I definitely would not have traded Nash, probably not for all of the picks. To me that was one skunky draft, with only Irving looking like he might be a future all-star, and all the rest hopefully making it to role player status.

  • 10 DBreeay // Dec 1, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    “To me the most logical scenario would be for Brooks to sign the one-year tender in March when he returns to the States”

    Is that even possible? If you read the Salary Cap FAQ it says a qualifying offer must be either accepted or withdrawn by Mar. 1st or it is void and the player just becomes a restricted free agent.

  • 11 Tony // Dec 1, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Steve,

    I hear what you are saying, but you if you analyze Sarver’s decision regarding Amare closer, you’ll see that it was still predicated on his saving money. Sarver figured he could get three players to equal one Amare, and therefore, instead of paying one player a max deal and still be left with needing to sign other players to make up the full roster, he split up the amount three ways. In other words, Sarver could not fathom spending the max for one player, when he could spend a little less than the max and acquire three players instead. This is all based on Sarver’s unwillingness to spend money.
    As far as amnesty goes, it is doubtful the Suns waive anyone this season since even if they did so, salary cap wise they would not have enough to sign a second-tier player. Furthermore, the only player it really makes sense to waive is Childress, since this is Peitrus’s last season so obviously they will not waive him and Warrick’s contract, while excessive for what he provides the team is still not breaking the bank. Obviously, the Suns should not waive Childress until Hill decides where he’s going or if he decides to resign as well.
    Last thing Steve, I have been bashing Sarver since the JJ fiasco before it was popular to bash him. And yes, I am sure Babby had something to do with Sarver signing Childress and trading for Hedo even before he was apart of the Suns organization, but the point is that Sarver should have never hired Babby in the first place. Nor should he have hired Blanks. It took Kerr three years to figure out to be a GM and just when he had some success, Sarver demanded he and his staff take a pay cut.

    Anyways, I appreciate your comments. I am big fan of the Suns, so I really hope Sarver can figure it out and take this franchise back to relevance again. However, I know we discussed earlier, but I have not seen him make one decision that was a net positive for the Suns teams’ since he’s taken over, with the obvious exception of resigning Nash, which any dummy would have done in Sarver’s situation.

  • 12 Paul wilson // Dec 1, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Steve Nash is not going anywhere. Nash will get extension.. sign Hill and J-rich.

  • 13 Michael Schwartz // Dec 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    @DBreeay No, I’m not quite sure what the scenario with Brooks will be. Since everything else has been backed up I would not be surprised if that March 1 rule is extended this year as well. If that is indeed fact then I will amend my prediction to just Brooks signing for the rest of the year with the Suns one way or another being that he will still be restricted even if the qualifying offer is pulled.

    @Scott I don’t think the fact that there have been draft busts No. 2 overall should make any statement of Nash’s value. I could throw out the fact that Kevin Durant and Bill Russell were No. 2 overall picks and then it looks like Nash’s value is inflated. I frankly think that for what the Suns should be doing, a potential elite rookie and the promise to be bad enough next year to get an even better one would be a fair price for Nash.

  • 14 Scott // Dec 2, 2011 at 2:41 am

    @Michael –

    Historically, the Suns tend to go for proven players over draft picks, and I can see the wisdom of that. If Nash is to be traded, I’d rather trade him for a player who has a few NBA years under his belt than a pig in a poke.

    And as I’ve noted elsewhere, playing bad provides no guarantee you’ll draft good.

  • 15 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Dec 2, 2011 at 3:17 am

    I don’t mind the Suns draft record. Every team has misses. You’re going to when you draft every year. But the Suns? They draft pretty well, and normally land a stud every say, 5 years via the draft. It’s about that time AND we’re half a year away from one of those most stuffed draft classes in a long while.

    Keep in mind, all of this years true lottery players PLUS all of last years true lottery players, (who went back to school for fear of the lockout), will be available.

    Seriously, with Gortat in the middle, if you can swing a Nash deal that brings back either a young quality player and a draft pick or an expiring contract and a draft pick – preferably a couple if only an ending contract is coming back, You’re going to ensure the franchise is going to get a top notch stud to add to the rebuilding process.

    Hill is probably gone after another season. Could choose to amnesty Childress if needed and now you’ve got a ready-made team with young talent coming in, money to spend, (D Will? CP3?), and the flexibility to add to the team if needed.

    Ah, to dream.

    I mean seriously. We’ve got Dowdell, J-Chil, Morris, and Lawal needing the time to prove themselves worthy, (or unworthy), anyway. It’s a perfect year to do it!

  • 16 Michael Schwartz // Dec 2, 2011 at 8:48 am

    @Scott I certainly understand that thought process, and we all can agree the draft is a crapshoot. But like Rich notes if there ever was a year to throw the dice on the draft it’s this season. The strategy he outlines is basically what I’ve been advocating for sometime. If you do a Nash trade early in the season then your pick is destined to be fairly high in the lottery as well. So yes, playing bad provides no guarantees of drafting good, but this talent pool is potentially great enough that I would be willing to take the risk.

  • 17 Scott // Dec 2, 2011 at 9:01 am

    I don’t read a lot of NBA blogs. Most of them are pretty windy. But the idea of tanking seems to be a popular subject year after year.

    Maybe it’s just something some fans talk about when they think their team can’t win the championship. A salve for the ego … “Yeah, but we MEANT to be bad.”

    I read a new page on a Sixers blog, saying they should tank even though they were in the playoffs last year. The believe they need even more young talent to contend for a championship.

    If the Suns are thinking of taking the tanking crown of the West, they’ve got serious competition. The Whimperwolves, Sacatomatoes, and Foldin’ State are not going to give up their perennial low spots willingly. Sure, the Griz have finally moved up and out of contention for lowest of the low, but if CP3 leaves the Hornets, we may have another new claimant for the NBA welfare.

  • 18 Scott // Dec 2, 2011 at 9:25 am

    @Michael -

    I understand your point that it is thought this upcoming draft will be a good one. But I don’t believe the prognosticators yet. Things have a way of changing on the way to draft day, and there’s always a huge cloud of hype around the draft that can be difficult to pierce. So I’m not going to make any calls on it from this far out.

    While over the years the Suns have drafted a few winning players (Amare, Marion, Nash, Majerle) they have also traded for a number of winning players (KJ, Chambers, Barkley, Kidd, Nash). In fact, the two Suns who won MVP awards came to the Suns via trade, and most of the key players on the most successful Suns teams in the past 20 years have come from trade, not the draft.

    I’m much more open to trading for talent than tanking and hoping the lottery ticket is a winner.

    With any luck we’ll get to see Babby do some magic on the trade front. I think he did a great job of turning Hedo into Gortat, and I hope he finds some additional ways of spinning Suns straw into gold.

  • 19 DBreezy // Dec 2, 2011 at 9:35 am

    @Michael Schwartz,

    While I grant you anything’s possible, I don’t really see a need for the league to extend the Mar. 1 deadline. From what I’ve read it doesn’t affect the ability of those guys from being on playoff rosters so what’s the problem from their side? Wu-Tang is for the kids, but restricted free agency is for the owners, as outlined in the cba faq, the whole qualifying offer thing was basically put in by the players so that the team with a player would actually have to offer their player a deal to retain their restricted free agency rights.

    The players didn’t want teams just sitting on their hands in restricted free agency and swooping at the last minute with a deal. They got that protection through March 1 of the season, it’s up to the individual player what they do with and the guys in China have made their decision. They’re not walking away with empty pockets, which is what the NBPA wanted to prevent.

    Besides from an owners point of view, why budge on this? Most teams will have very little cash left over for RFA’s when March comes around. So the players will have to choose from a list of poor options. Take a short deal for the rest of the year and become unrestricted. Take a deal from a team with cap space in March, that probably isn’t that good of a squad, and hope your team matches so you don’t have to actually go. Sit out the rest of the season and be a RFA next summer. In almost all of those cases, the resultant salary will probably be lower than what they’d get if they were RFA’s now in what is a pretty weak market and that certainly isn’t hurting the owners’ feelings.

  • 20 steve // Dec 2, 2011 at 10:42 am

    I honestly like the Suns’ chances in the draft. If they held onto their picks, things might have been a lot different for this franchise. They never have high picks, yet they still managed to pick up guys like

    Jayson Williams (better at assaulting limo drivers than basketball, I guess. Just mentioned him because I didn’t even realize we drafted him)
    Ced Ceballos (19.3 career PER and the best fake-blindfolded dunk of all time)
    Richard Dumas (oh, what might have been)
    Wes Person
    Michael Finley
    Steve Nash
    Stephen Jackson (who might actually crack my top 10 overrated players list from recent memory)
    Shawn Marion
    Amare Stoudemire
    Zarko Cabarkapa (just had to see if you’re still paying attention. That was the 17th pick! 17?!)
    Luol Deng
    Nate Robinson
    Marcin Gortat (Robinson and Gortat were the same year, and we sold both of them off. Fantastic)
    Rajon Rondo
    Rudy Fernandez (another extremely overrated player, imo)
    Robin Lopez (who looked like a potential star a couple seasons ago till he lost his mind)

    Not enough time to judge the more recent guys. But that was basically from 1990 on. It’s hard to find a year where the Suns completely miss, and it’s extremely hard to find a year where the Suns miss when they have multiple picks. We draft well. We just don’t keep our drafts in house well.

  • 21 Lloyd I. Cadle // Dec 3, 2011 at 11:55 am

    I do like the idea of trading Nash for a good young player or a high draft choice.

    But, that doesn’t seem to be the way that the Suns operate.

    The team, as now constructed is probably good enough to make the playoffs. Then next season you let Nash and some other expiring contracts go, and really push hard for Williams.

    I would play the rookie PF Morris a bunch of minutes right from the start.

  • 22 Scott // Dec 4, 2011 at 5:49 am

    @Lloyd -

    I think Morris will need some time to adjust, and should probably start off with the bench unit, but yeah … assuming all goes well, I’d have him play the majority of his minutes with the starters. He’s got the size, the range, and the rebounding ability to take the spot over any other PF on the team.

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