As expected, the trade deadline came and went without any any deals consummated by the Phoenix Suns following a surprisingly quiet trade season in the Valley.
Although the Suns have shouted to anybody who would listen that they would only consider trading Steve Nash if he asked to be moved first, I always felt there would at least be some movement on that front before the deadline.
It just made too much sense for the Suns to at least see what they could get for their franchise player, but perhaps Phoenix’s recent hot streak in which the team has won eight of 11 games doomed that from ever happening. I’ve also always felt that for Phoenix to make such a deal the team would really have to fall out of the race and this recent winning streak provided enough hope to prevent that.
Now the Nash dilemma will be punted to the offseason when Phoenix will have loads of cap space but perhaps nobody to spend it on. The Suns, of course, have also left themselves open to the possibility of losing Nash for nothing if the right contender (Dallas anyone?) makes the right pitch.
But the Suns have known the risks of the Nash game all along and apparently feel confident enough that they’ll be able to retain him that no serious headway was made on such a deal. That’s a risky proposition, especially when the best-case scenario is now rebuilding around a 38-year-old point guard.
The other player that I thought could be on his way out of town is, of course, Robin Lopez. Lopez will be a restricted free agent next offseason and he said that he plans to gauge his market value.
It’s questionable where Lopez fits into the Suns’ future with Marcin Gortat the unquestioned starter at the center position. Lopez has been relegated to a bit player since Gortat’s emergence last season, so it’s unlikely that Phoenix would want to pay big bucks to keep the Stanford product.
Perhaps the lack of the Lopez trade means Phoenix really does want to bring him back next season or perhaps they just weren’t able to acquire any sort of a decent asset in a Lopez deal.
After maintaining the status quo at the deadline, the Suns are still set up to be major players in free agency next offseason with the kind of flexibility that has been the main goal of every move this season.
“We’re not going to do something in the short run at the expense of our long-term plan,” president Lon Babby told Paul Coro.
The cap space has officially been preserved. Now we must wait until the offseason to see what they will do with it.