Dissecting the Phoenix Suns' ESPN Future Power Rankings


Prepare to wince, cringe, cry, or do whatever you may whenever the future looks dark.

Chad Ford and John Hollinger released their most recent NBA Future Power Rankings on Wednesday, and if you’re a Suns fan, you probably know what I’m about to tell you.

Let’s just say that if you went to a psychic and they somehow knew everything about your personal life, gave you a very detailed description of how that all could come crashing down, and you could shake your head and say, “Yes, that’s entirely possible,” then you’d be the Phoenix Suns.

Hollinger and Ford ranked the Suns as having the 29th best future in the NBA for the next three seasons, moving them down from their previous rank of 26.

Their thoughts:

Our rankings have been really effective in predicting the rise of certain teams like the Pacers. It’s also been strongly predictive of the catastrophic fall of a few teams like the Suns, who have slipped again from 26th to 29th this time.

They might just stay there a while.

Besides Steve Nash, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley, every other player on the roster who gets significant minutes has a PER below the league average. Meanwhile Nash is in the last year of his deal and the Suns continue to insist they don’t want to trade him. The truth is, given how long they’ve waited, it’s doubtful they could get much back in return anyway.

If Nash and Grant Hill bolt, the Suns will have some cap space next summer. But thanks to the senseless contracts owner Robert Sarver gave Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress two summers ago it won’t be nearly as much as it could have been. Besides, who exactly on the free-agent market is going to replace Nash when he’s gone?

Sarver’s bumbling over the past few years has caused us to rank the Suns’ management 30th in the league. Yes, we think even Minnesota’s David Kahn and Glen Taylor could do this better. That’s saying something.

The only good news? The team should have enough cap room to make at least one significant free-agent addition this summer, and the team should have high draft picks in the next few years. There’s really not much more to say.

The rankings are based upon five categories and the final score falls on a scale from 0 – 1,200. The Suns finished with an ugly 350, earning a 50 points out of 600 in their future players (29th in the NBA), an 18 out of 200 points in management (30th), a 140 out of 200 points in money (8th), a 59 out of 100 points in market (10th), and a 83 out of 100 in draft (4th).

**Find a table for definitions of the five categories at the bottom of the story

Charlotte has the least exceptional future, according to Hollinger and Ford. Detroit (28th), New Orleans (27th) and Toronto (26th) fill out the bottom five futures in the NBA.

Clearly, most of the negativity stems from the belief that the Robert Sarver-led management of the Suns is the worst in the league. Bad past signings cramping the cap space and distrust in good future decisions cancel out any advantage Phoenix has in its fairly strong market.

But as Schwartz has written in the past, I’m not of the belief Phoenix deserves that depressing of a future prediction. In the above scenario of visiting a psychic, you could believe them. But no matter how much of the past they know, the future has yet to be written, and a franchise having a strong brand to lean upon goes a long way.

Team and player options aside, it’s not a stretch to say Phoenix will have a solid core of returning role players. Signed through at least next year, Marcin Gortat is one of the better starting centers in the league, Channing Frye is a solid rotation forward to stretch the floor, and Markieff Morris still has time to develop into a potential starting power forward with his surprising skill-set. At the guard spots, Jared Dudley fits as an energy bench player that could fit on any solid playoff team, and Josh Childress could be a Thabo Sefolosha-like, defensive-oriented two guard.

Those are all important roles for championship-level teams, but the clear catch here is the lack of a single All-Star caliber player once Nash is gone.

And thus we come to a future that’s the second-worst in the NBA. With the free agent market not looking very diverse, signing a star will ultimately be very difficult. Still, I’m not certain that teams like Toronto, Detroit, or New Orleans have any better of returning players nor the capability to steal a big-time free agent.

Do the Suns belong in the bottom five of the league as far as future success is concerned? For sure. But with a fairly strong market and fan base, it’s not like Phoenix will all of a sudden become irrelevant when the Steve Nash era comes to a close.

The key probably lies in how much extra cap space — if any — the Suns can dump via trades in order to pick up some decent free agents. They’re not going to hit a home run deal like the Nash signing in 2004, but with a few above-average players added via free agency and some smart drafting in a loaded class this June, at the very least, the future will be brighter than the Charlotte Bobcats and then some.

**

HOW FUTURE POWER RATING IS DETERMINED

PLAYERS (0 to 600 points): Current players and their potential for the future, factoring in expected departures
MANAGEMENT (0 to 200 points): Quality and stability of front office, ownership, coaching
MONEY (0 to 200 points): Projected salary-cap situation; ability and willingness to exceed cap and pay luxury tax
MARKET (0 to 100 points): Appeal to future acquisitions based on team quality, franchise reputation, city’s desirability as a destination, market size, taxes, business and entertainment opportunities, arena quality, fans
DRAFT (0 to 100 points): Future draft picks; draft positioning

  • You are kinda wrong

    When you say New Orleans, Detroit and Toronto don’t have a better future than Phoenix, youre kind of wrong. As you said, once Phoenix loses Nash they have no All-Stars, and realistically not very much appeal for top free-agents, (impactful free agents at least). Toronto has talent in Calderon, Bargnani, DeRozan…and to a lesser extent Ed Davis. Detroit has Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey and Greg Monroe. New Orleans has Eric Gordon, plus Kaman’s big contract coming off the books. Plus, all three teams are doing bad enough to get a top 5 pick in a draft with significant talent coming out. The Suns are probably doing too well to get potential future All-Stars like Harrison Barnes, Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond…that same problem can’t be said for the other teams. If the Suns are going to get out of this mess, they need a young player with that kind of ability to build optimism in the fan base…and in turn in free agents looking for a new home. I’d take Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe (plus Davis or Barnes) over Channing Frye, Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley every day of the week.

  • Dan S.

    I think the doom and gloom of the Suns is bull. If you add a go-to scorer and drop dead weight like lopez, etc, this team has some solid role players that could make a run. That’s assuming Nash stays. If Nash leaves or is traded, then yes, the future is gloomy. The one thing that attracts players to Phoenix is Nash. Without him it would be difficult to lure anyone here.

  • Scott

    “Hollinger and Ford ranked the Suns as having the 29th best future in the NBA for the next three seasons, moving then down from their previous rank of 26.”

    Oh, the pain … the pain! ;)

    IIRC, Hollinger and Ford perpetually underestimate the Suns, just as they inexplicably underestimated Houston. One wonders if they actually even watch western conference games, outside of Portland and the Lakers. Does chronic lack of respect for the Suns indicate haters? East coast bias?

    As for PER, Warrick was over 16 last year. Nothing has changed for him this year except his play time is greatly reduced in favor of Morris, and when he does play, he’s not used much on offense (not his fault). Hill currently rates below average due to his slow start this season, and the same with Frye. As Redd continues to get back into shape, he’ll almost certainly be over average.

    Hollinger and Ford complain about Sarver’s signings, as if he’s the GM. (They don’t even mention a Suns GM by name, nor do they mention how an oft-injured Barbosa was magically transformed into Gortat via Turkoglu.) I think clearly the worst signings by the new Suns team were Telfair and Brown, and of course the wretched trade of Dragic and a pick for Brooks, all of which were done by the team of Blanks and Babby, and with the blessing of Gentry, … all of whom should bear more blame than Sarver.

    And even so, the signing of Brown was probably because Redd was slow in committing. If Redd had signed earlier, there would probably be no Brown.

    Telfair seems to clearly be a favorite of Gentry and was likely taken to fulfill a specific request made by him. (I had advocated Jeremy Lin, but who listens to me?)

    When March 1 rolls around, if he hasn’t found a spot in the regular rotation, look for Brown to be traded to a team that needs a SG, and probably for a (future?) 2nd round pick. (The Suns will have no 2nd round pick this year, as their pick goes to Atlanta, and the pick they get from NY is restricted to the last 5 spots in the 2nd round.)

    You cross out Brown and Telfair, add in Lin or Dragic, and the Suns suddenly look a lot better going forward.

    Also, if Gentry would develop an inside game (Gortat + Lopez, and Warrick + Morris + Frye on the 2nd unit) the Suns would no longer be a one-dimensional jump shooting team, which – as we all know – is not likely to go deep into the playoffs.

    As for Saturday’s game … I’m looking forward to the match-up between Morris and Fredette.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/True_Rys Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Enough. Enough with defending the immediate future of our beloved Suns. Enough with thinking that it isn’t as bad as it is.

    It is far worse than that. What I’m going to do is slice pieces from some of the posts above this one to illustrate why hope, for the Suns right now, is an ignorant thing and people need to get real.

    First one: “You cross out Brown and Telfair, add in Lin or Dragic, and the Suns suddenly look a lot better going forward.”

    Two players who would make the Suns better? One player has a sample size of games smaller than Greg Oden. The other one was ruled unworthy of being able to help the Suns franchise.
    So, these two players make the Suns better? There is no positivity in that.

    Now, this one: “If you add a go-to scorer and drop dead weight like Lopez, etc, this team has some solid role players that could make a run. That’s assuming Nash stays.”

    The team has lacked a go-to scorer since STAT left. They do not grow on trees. They can go to the best situation possible because of their talent level. After this season, this team will need 5 to 7 players EASILY after the team erases all of those 1-year contracts. So even if they some how get a scorer, they still won’t have enough to instantly contend and by the time the ranks swell again, Nash will be gone. So this line of thinking is also flawed.

    And from our respected blogger: “The key probably lies in how much extra cap space — if any — the Suns can dump via trades in order to pick up some decent free agents. They’re not going to hit a home run deal like the Nash signing in 2004, but with a few above-average players added via free agency and some smart drafting in a loaded class this June, at the very least, the future will be brighter than the Charlotte Bobcats and then some.”

    No.

    Who are you trading away exactly? The only players of worth on this team, right now, are the only players the team has said they will not move. If SNOW is moved it’s going to be in a package of some sort and one of those quality guys are going with him.
    That will create cap space, along with even more glaring holes in the roster.
    that will also make the Suns 100% unattractive to any decent t0 super player coming in.

    On top of that, you’re trusting that, with only 1, (maybe two), first-round draft picks that this staff will execute and land one or two studs to move forward with.

    There is nothing good in any of this.

    I’m going to be the one to say it. Tony was probably nodding his head up until this point. Now, he might throw daggers at me again.

    People keep blaming Sarver and his staff for the downfall of what was once an empire in the valley. Yes, they made the calls, but no. It is not all on them.

    I re-introduce, Steve Nash Over Winning. I love him, but the SNOWman also plays a major part in the downfall of the team, because all of the moves have been made in an attempt to keep the team functioning in a Steve Nash driven system.

    If he were dealt when Amare left or after the WCF run, (and Dragon kept), the moves made would not have happened because the identity and direction of the team would have been adjusted to be more in line of the team and not such a unique star such as Steve.

    The Patrick Ewing theory is in full effect here. Or, if that’s too old for you, think of “The Carmelo Effect” for Denver.

    Nash being out of a Suns uniform is the best way for the franchise to repair it self. It would have been better 2 years ago, but there is still time.

  • shazam

    @ rich as you know i consider your missives the suns equivalent to gospel….SHAZAM APPROVED

  • shazam

    see how houston plays with middling talent,a good coach and a non ball hog guard system?we should be able to play like them today…get rid of nash and gentry..and we could

  • http://godaddy.com Big Daddy

    Lol, wtf did I just read? Shazam, smack yourself, PLEASE!

  • shazam

  • JZ

    Phoenix lost its back up point guard Aaron Brooks for the entire short season…most likely. I was hoping Brooks would return by early March, but he signed with the Chinese team that has won the CBA 7 of the last 8 years! I am guessing he is going to be there until April unless some other team pulls a major upset and beats Brook’s team (Chandler or JR). Hope to see Brooks back in 4 weeks.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/True_Rys Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    Sadly Brooks isn’t the answer as he quickly proved he could not even provide stability on a Dragic-type level.

    I still maintail that ejecting Dragic was the final part of the plan in being able to take this “We have to keep Nash” stance the team currently has. That WCF run proved that, with a stable roster and players that fit, Dragon could lead a team of bench players.

    He could have easily matured and been in charge of a starting unit. Alas…

  • shazam

    dragic was having a bad season…then he cut his foot at 3am on some glass on a game night and was out for some games..initial reports were that he cut his foot when he got up to get a drink of water…later it was revealed that he was having a party..the suns org. felt goran had gotton too cozy in phoex and were not happy with his efforts. . and that a change of scenery would be better for both…fyi,check out how many games amare has missed last 2 seasons..and he isnt playing well…maybe bobby buffoon made the right call by not maxing him…michael redd will rock the suns soon..

  • .

    Who cares about a recently deceased relative, living knicks fans are more important…btw, who is this Lin everyone is talking about?

  • Scott

    @. -

    Jeremy Lin … a PG overlooked by nearly everybody who matters … who has been saving NY’s bacon and lighting up the league. He just scored 38 in a win for the Knicks over the Lakers, with no Amare, no Carmelo available for the Knicks.

    Lin was undrafted from Harvard. Everyone had an opportunity to pick him up after he played hard in Summer League, yet there was little interest, even after he clearly won a battle with the #1 draft pick John Wall. He got picked up by Golden State who used him in garbage time to gain and maintain the interest of their Asian fans (Lin is Taiwanese-American).

    Lin went to the D-League, and then Golden State under Marc Jackson didn’t re-sign him. He got picked up by Houston to play in their pre-season, and then was dropped, deemed less valuable than even Jonny Flynn (which is saying something). The Knicks picked him up because he was cheap and virtually the only PG left on the market, with no intention of ever actually playing him, just having him as a practice PG till Baron Davis recovered. Except that one day – just before they were probably going to cut him – they had to play him, due to being shorthanded, and he exploded for points, assists, rebounds, steals … and won them the game.

    He’s now on game 4 of a streak of wins where he has dominated games.

  • Scott

    BTW … regarding the Suns signing FAs next year … if Eric Gordon is available, I’m having my doubts about signing him.

    What I’ve heard is that he isn’t playing because he has a bruised knee. But he’s been out with that for a long time now. I’m beginning to wonder if the bruise went from his knee straight to his heart. :p

  • steve

    I can’t say I disagree with any of Rich’s points.

    One thing I can say, though, is that I don’t even know if this was avoidable. Even if the Suns had made every right move along the way for the past 7 or 8 years, could we really have prevented this slump? I don’t really think we could have.

  • shazam

    @ steve with the drafts they sold off for cash and traded(when the real estate market collapsed) we could be an elite team right now..notice how hollinger basically said word for word what ive been saying for 6 months?….even the 3 year time line i projected…its true…go back if you care and check….i think he has been reading my posts and was too lazy to write his own article and stole mine …BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA (loud delusional laugh)

  • shazam

    traded or sold for peanuts —> Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, Rudy Fernandez, Nate Robinson, Serge Ibaka

  • Scott

    @steve -

    Despite not having won a championship, and despite not being a winner of the lottery derby, the Suns have the 4th best winning record in the NBA.

    Sure, we as fans get torqued when our team is not competing to get deep into the playoffs and have a shot, but really … over the years the Suns have done better than 26 other teams.

    If the Suns had been better focused on backup PG selection, we might even be thinking of a deep playoff run this year.

    @shazam -

    There’s no telling who the Suns would have picked in the draft if they’d taken players instead of selling the picks. They sold the picks because their scouting dept. said, “No one we want is still on the board … might as well sell the pick.”

    Also remember that – at draft time – Rajon Rondo < Nash and Barbosa, Luol Deng < Marion, Rudy Fernandez < anyone the Suns had at SG, Nate Robinson is athletic but not coachable (he didn't get along with D'Antoni in NY, so why would he get along with D'Antoni in PHX?). Serge Ibaka seems like a nice role player, but would the Suns have known about him and picked him?

    I think the scouting dept. of the Suns has been a weak spot for years now. I could do a better job without leaving my computer. :p

  • shazam

    STEVE …why did you put quotation marks around this -==> “No one we want is still on the board … might as well sell the pick.”…who is your source?…read the az republic biz section from those years and you will see sarver was cash strapped..he opted to sell off pieces so he could afford to bring in shaq et al…but when the math is done on what he spent and what he made on selling off you will see and it is explained in the republic (a VERY friendly to the suns publication) that robert pocketed a lot of money…totally agree /w u on scouting dept but we have a new one now and all we can grade them on is morris…they did wonders for the spurs so i think they may work out….fingers crossed

  • shazam

    oops i meant SCOTT on above post…im used to arguing with steve and always agreeing with scott… (note to self)realign the troops scott is now the enemy/jk :)

  • Zak

    No matter what anyone thinks, the draft is a gamble. Collage players who are a “sure thing” in the NBA are still few and far between. #1 picks sometimes turn out to be busts (Kwame Brown, 2001) and undrafted players sometimes turn into stars (Jeremy Lin). Nash was a 15th pick in the 96 draft and look at what he’s become… a two time MVP, a sure HOF member and will surely have his number retired by the Suns eventually. Almost nothing in the draft is certain.

  • shazam

    @ zak absolutely agree about drafts being a gamble…but to simplify the rest of your comment why dont you check out the top 5 picks vs. the 5-10 picks in nba history…shocking the top 5 crush crush crush the bottom 5 in the amount that became game changing superstars …im curious who ever said a draft pick is certain?…lets find that guy and team up on him…smack him around a little…thats just plain stupid…i agree with you on that one 100%

  • shazam

    jeremy lin has been playing for about a week now..im not saying he wont be a star but shouldnt we wait for 2 weeks before we proclaim him one?

  • Scott

    @shazam -

    I’m unclear on the financial situation for the Suns that you are referring to. Perhaps it was theorizing by some fan or sports hack, along the theme of Sarver being cheap?

    My understanding is that teams get exceptions for their draft picks, and that’s by design, so teams can always afford to accept their draftees. It would be pretty ugly if teams had lottery picks or whatever yet didn’t have the cap space to sign them and were then forced to release them. Obviously that doesn’t happen. The cap problems come later when the draftees have to be re-signed.

    As for Shaq, the Suns traded Marion for him straight up. Shaq was the obvious choice, as he was the only player out there with a salary as big as Marion’s.

    So the specific situation you outline doesn’t make sense to me. If I’m wrong and you have the means at hand to enlighten me, please do.

    My recollection, which may be in error, is that this is what D’Antoni said in an interview after a draft for which he acted as GM.

  • shazam

    the real estate crash created huge financial problems for sarver family…all documented in the arizona republic biz section…if your not from phoenix its a right wing daily newspaper that has been the most popular w/ highest circulation in ariz. history…they are a very very pro suns publication in their sports pages..why do you think coro gets all the scoops?…he toadies for them..you are right ONCE you have drafted the trades but you can sell the picks for what ever the market can bare prior to draft…maybe google robert sarver financial problems ariz. republic or read google for dummies and come up with your own search words….its there

  • Scott

    @shazam -

    The history you cite is not real history. There’s a lot of opinion and fake news out there, and unfortunately the fake news seems to be winning in America these days.

    There wasn’t much money in the picks (if you’re talking about bailing out a bank), Sarver’s not the sole owner of the team, so sales of draft picks wouldn’t go directly into his pocket, and Deng – the highest “lost pick” typically cited (7th) – was drafted in 2004 during the peak of the real estate boom in Arizona.

    The thing is: the Suns under D’Antoni didn’t want the picks. They were aggressive and spendy traders. Under pressure to win it all, they only wanted to add top talent and veterans, and the picks they wanted were always already off the board. Growing through the draft, which is a **financially conservative** method, was not what the Suns were interested in.

    Furthermore, Deng wasn’t sold. He was traded for Jackson Vroman and the 21st pick in 2005, who was Nate Robinson.

    Nate also wasn’t sold. He was traded along with Q Richardson to the Knicks for Kurt Thomas and soon to be discarded draft pick Dijon Thompson.

    Gortat, the 57th pick in 2005, was sold for cash. He was probably sold for maybe half a million at best? You could possibly bail out a small family restaurant with that, but not a bank.

    In 2006, as the real estate market was beginning to break, Rajon Rondo – plus cash! – was traded to Boston in order to move Brian Grant, and the Suns received a future 1st round pick in exchange.

    That Boston pick turned into Rudy Fernandez in 2007. Rudy, the 24th pick, was sold for cash to Portland.

    Next, the Suns traded Kurt Thomas and TWO first round picks to Seattle for a 2nd round pick. One of those picks washed out, the other was Serge Ibaka.

    After the straight-up trade of Marion for Shaq, the Suns traded Shaq in 2009 – during the dog days of the real estate crash – to the Cavs for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a 2nd round pick, and cash. The Suns then bought out the contracts of Wallace and Pavlovic.

    So the Suns sold Gortat, paid to get rid of Rondo, got cash for Rudy, got cash for Shaq, and then paid off Wallace and Pavlovic. All the rest were trades.

    Estimating the amounts of the cash moving in and out, I’d say the Suns paid out at least double what they brought in, probably far more, and that pay out was during the real estate depression, when according to the history re-writers and conspiracy theorists “Scrooge” Sarver would supposedly be milking the Suns dry to shore up his bank.

    I won’t even go into the rest (EJ Montini, a diehard conservative?).

    If you would like independent verification of the trade history I’ve noted above, it was lifted from the Bleacher Report.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1015694-the-worst-phoenix-suns-trades-of-the-last-decade

    Also, here’s the current list of owners for the Suns (Hoopsworld, 8/11):

    Ownership Group: Sarver is the managing partner of a group of 15, including: Sid & Jenny Craig (yes, that Jenny Craig); Sam Garvin (Garvin Holdings LLC); Steve Hilton (Meritage Homes Corporation); Richard Heckmann (K2 Inc); Richard Jaffe (Safe Life Corp); Dale Jensen (Jackson Street Development); Steve Kerr (TNT); John Landon (Landon Development Company); Francis Najafi (Pivotal Group); Steven Pidgeon (Snell and Willmer); Don, Veronica and Tom Rogers and Carol Hudson (Rogers Real Estate Holdings); Byron Roth (Roth Capital Partners); Mark Schlossberg (Southwest Value Partners); Scott Seldin (Seldin Real Estate)

    Compare that to, say, the Kings, who are more of a family ownership:

    Ownership Group: Joe and Gavin get most of the press, but the family ownership group also consists of George Maloof, Jr., Phil Maloof, and Adrienne Maloof-Nassif, plus Robin E. Hernreich

  • shazam

    damn you scott…you are so good at letting facts get in the way of a good story…im just a tabloid commenter..i put stuff out there to wind things up and get people to comment during a dull season….hey speaking of tabloids…was jason richardson the father of steve nashs child…remember that rumor last year?…about how as soon as the birth nash filed for divorce and we traded richardson and how the baby looked like a miniature version of that old guard dennis johnson

  • Scott

    @shazam -

    That is indeed an excellent example of the tabloid journalism that so many people suck down. And from comments I’ve seen on Suns blogs there are people out there who believe it.

    This rumor began circulating at the same time the story broke that Tony Parker was having an inappropriate relationship (sexting affair) with teammate / family friend Brent Barry’s wife. Erin Barry and Eva Longoria filed for divorce in late 2010.

    The Nash / Richardson rumor was probably originally some San Antonio fan’s humorous speculation as to why Nash filed for divorce the day his son was born and why Richardson was traded around the same time. But rumor sites seized the concept, ran with it, and it grew from there.

    Another rumor had it that the child was Barbosa’s, again with the notion the child was dark-skinned and that Barbosa needed to be traded away due to conflicts with Nash over his wife.

    For those who are unfamiliar with these rumors or the truth, let me clarify that Nash’s son, Mateo, is shown in photographs to be pale-skinned, not dark, and the Nashes had already separated a few months before with the idea of not filing for divorce till the child was born.

  • shazam

    scott youre a goldmine thanks

  • steve

    Scott’s excellent recollection/research of the draft happenings are the exact reason I can’t stand those who will blindly put Sarver under any label. There are so many people who contribute to decisions relating to franchises, and the fact is that the combined sum of all the picks that have been sold in the past decade wouldn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Sarver’s real estate/banking losses or the loss of value the Suns have suffered in the recession.

    I understand how the argument can be made that Sarver isn’t an extremely basketball-intelligent owner or that he doesn’t hire the correct people around him to make those decisions. I don’t agree with it. But I can understand it. Every argument I have ever heard referring Sarver as a Scrooge has been utter garbage and completely false. Yet those types of arguments are perpetually thrown around by the likes of ESPN, Grantland, Yahoo, you name it.

    It comes down to the fact that we like to have scapegoats. No one likes it when there is a problem and they don’t have a place to point their fingers. We always need to find someone to blame. Sarver is the cool guy to blame, whether or not anyone actually has a good reason for it.

    Well done, Scott. Thanks for the info.

  • Scott

    @steve -

    While I don’t remember the exact value of the Wallace / Pavlovic buy outs, when you consider that Shaq was making $20 million, the buyout on these expiring contracts (less cash from the Cavs in the trade) must have been somewhat close to that.

    So the Suns had – let’s say – $12-16 million in buy out money going out versus $2-2.5 million in pick selling money (Rudy and Gortat) coming in. Ouch! Can we say “non-profit corporation?” ;)

    The Suns also, IIRC, bought Dragic’s pick from San Antonio. That would have cost another $1-2 million, on top of his salary.

    IMO, if Sarver as managing owner has done a poor job, he and the other owners know it and feel it in their pocket books. I’m sure they talk about it, and what to do to fix things.

    The absolute cheapest thing an owner can do is keep their draft picks. Assuming you’ve picked well, you have active players locked in for years at super low salaries. And even if you’ve picked poorly, on what you hoped was a franchise-altering lottery pick you’re still paying just the equivalent of a Childress / Warrick contract, a later first round pick you’re paying Morris/Lopez money (not much), and on a second rounder you’re paying Price money (peanuts, comparatively). So if you’ve made poor draft choices, you have plenty of cap space left over to compensate by hiring competent free agents.

    So Sarver clearly answered the call from his coach/GM and front office for aggressive trading and higher spending, and was willing to follow the advice to risk the near future on a gamble to win the championship. The Suns didn’t make that win, though, and now they’re paying the price, as they don’t have the young talent they sold off.

    Sarver says he’s learned his lesson. They’re not going to be selling picks any more. (That Dragic trade that cost them MarShon Brooks ought to drive the lesson even further home.)

    In the end, I hope the Suns get better at talent evaluation than they have been for years. The hiring of Blanks was supposed to address this issue, and the pick of Morris in the draft was a solid pick.

    As for basketball intelligence … who has it? You’d think maybe the lifers at ESPN would have some, but so many of them have at best a small portion, and even Hall of Fame players don’t necessarily have it. I can’t offhand think of anyone at ESPN or in the Hall who would do a guaranteed better job than Sarver or the Suns’ FO.

  • shazam

    i agree with scott and steve…SHAZAM APPROVED.

  • JED

    I put no faith whatsoever in either Hollinger or Ford. Ford is a fraud who simply makes up things (trades mostly). Hollinger does the same (meaningless statistics that do not correlate to anything).

    The Suns will likely struggle for a couple of years while they rebuild. But they will rebuild more quickly than these two mutts “predict.” The Suns will have draft choices for the foreseeable future and they have several solid players on reasonable contracts. They also have substantial salary flexibility going forward.

    Keep this in mind about free agents, for the most part NBA players are mercenary; always have been. If you can pay them, if they can see that playing time is available, and the market is not minuscule, they will come.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003452486910 Edimilson

    The thing about the sky hook is that it looks soft’ and that it is too signature for young cenrtes to imitate it.It would basically set them up for comparisons to Kareem while robbing them of ESPN highlights that help drive up their salaries and brand value. So, it’s a mix of underhanded freethrows (sissy image despite its accuracy/effectiveness) and copying Jordan’s tongue thing.