Phoenix Suns quiet on trade deadline day


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.

Tags: Robin Lopez Steve Nash

  • shazam

    these are curious times

  • KeZ

    Not one single trade for our ballclub!?

  • fan in chi-town

    Suns should have went hard after Monta. The warriors gave him away in exchange for a center that won’t even play this season and stephen jackson who was past his prime when the warriors TRADED him a few yeas ago. Even though lopez is playing well lately I believe we could have given them him and brown….it sounds like a comparable deal to me.

  • Zak

    I think the Warriors are content to tank the rest of this season and lo to the future. Sure Bogut won’t play anymore this season but he’s a defensive presence and his injuries shouldn’t keep him from being one again once he’s healed up. Jackson was dealt quickly to SA for Richard Jefferson and the Spurs 1st round pick this year. And GS bought Atlanta’s 2nd round pick this year. GS is doing whatever they can to try to improve the team’s future.

    I think it would have been a mistake to go after Monta. He’s a small SG who doesn’t play defense. Do the Suns really want to continue to just try to outscore other teams without at least trying to play a little defense? Monta would have added to the scoring side but would also have been another defensive liability.

  • PennyAnd1

    Again I wonder why some Suns fans want to quit on Nash and wants him traded..this guy is no quitter unlike Howard & LBJ. To trade Nash is to consider yourself a fool.

    Check out Howard now trying to wear a white hat..this guy is a pretender. He knows no team wanted him so badly to give up so much players in exchange for him..so to save face he put up his little speech of wanting to stay with Orlando. What a croc! This guy is wussie.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Zak

    I Disagree. Monta can play defense if emphasized. Remember when Frye was just a shooter and no defense at all? That’s why they hired a defensive assistant and I’m sure Monte Ellis can adapt just like Frye did. And besides, everyone goes with the flow depending where the team go. I don’t see how an athletic player like Monta cannot be a good defensive player with his lighting quick reflex.

    I agree with fan in chi-town that Suns should’ve went hard for Monta.. It’s better to have Monta in place of Brown/Warrick/Price, and have Dudley come off the bench cause Dudley doesn’t mind coming off the bench, he can alternate with Frye. …but still, I’m not disappointed cause the Suns are clicking now.

  • steve

    If we could have got Monta for Brown/Warrick/Price, then sure, that’s a no-brainer. Trade 3 guys you rarely use for an every-day starter with better-than-average productivity? Yes, please.

    However, I just don’t think that would have been possible. A healthy Bogut is a great NBA player. I know his health is a BIG if, but I think it was a good risk for the Warriors to take.

    I know you’ve been pushing hard for Monta, but I really think he’s hardly above average. With that said, I think he could be far better than average (all-star level) if he was a smart player instead of just a chucker. I think the Suns are better off without him at the moment.

  • fan in chi-town

    How can it be a mistake to go after Monta? He’s a young scorer who guarantees you at least 20 points a night, a great slasher and finisher. We already have a good center and nash. Monta would have given us three top notch starters, hill would be our starting lockdown defender and frye could rebound or space the floor on nights he’s shooting well. Dudley could have gone back to improving our bench and worked well with telfair who is actually doing well lately.

    Monta, nash, and gortat would have accounted for more than 50% of the teams points every night. Plus, again, he’s young, has at least ten more years in the league, how can the suns pass him up? I don’t get it

  • Tony

    So Michael,

    are you going to call out the Suns FO when by the start of next season they haven’t signed a marquee free agent or even a second tier free agent? I certainly hope so.

    I know there will be the usual detractors who disagree and think it was smart that the Suns FO didn’t push for a deal, but I take the opposite position. As deservedly bad as Sarver’s reputation is, wouldn’t it have made sense for him to have made a deal to improve the team this season, to show soon to be free agents that he really does care about winning? Being a relevant franchise is just as important to signing elite players as having the necessary cap space to sign them. To be relevant, you have to at the minimum have a winning franchise. Heading into this off-season, the Suns will most likely have gone two straight seasons, or three out of the last four seasons, without making the playoffs. Thus, Sarver could have and should have improved his reputation starting this season by making a deal which would inevitably force him to take on salary cap. Yet, instead, as a per se Stooge, he once again lived up to his true title as the Head Stooge of the Three Stooges.

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

      Well, Tony, I would rather make no trade than a bad one like the Dragic trade last season. Once they decided not to deal Nash there didn’t seem to be too many moves aside from a potential Lopez trade. Obviously they’re in no position to deal another draft pick and I would not give up that cap space unless they can get a legit player. We all know what the landscape looks like this offseason. Obviously everyone wants the Suns to sign an impact free agent but if that player isn’t around I would certainly prefer rolling over the cap space to next off season to making more dumb signings.

  • PennyAnd1

    @Tony

    You can forget the Suns not making the playoffs ever again if they trade Nash. They’ll spend all their time trying to build what? nothing., Gortat is a mediocre who lives through Nash. And the rest of the team can’t work with anybody else but with Nash.

  • steve

    If you could get monta for nothing then it’s not a mistake. You can’t assume nash, Gortat, hill, and Dudley would all still be around after a hypothetical monta deal. Monta is better than nothing. I don’t believe Monta is actually as valuable as the warriors tried to make him out to be. Btw, the suns most likely would have had to give up more than the bucks due to trading within the division.

  • Scott

    If you saw Thursday’s game against the Clippers you probably saw some interesting things.

    What I noticed was: 1) Gortat plays an awful lot like Lopez when he doesn’t Nash getting him the ball, and 2) Redd can not only create for himself, he can create for others.

  • steve

    Exactly, Michael.

    The biggest mistake this FO has made in recent years has been misevaluating outside talent (Hedo, Warrick, Childress, to name a few). I think they have done a fairly good job assessing their own players (Barbosa, Amare, Amundson, etc.). So, knowing what they do have, I’m sure they poked and prodded a little bit, but nothing came up that was worth pursuing.

    Let’s all be honest, the Suns have one very valuable trade chip (Gortat), one possibly moderately valuable trade chip (Nash), and two wildcards (Dudley and Frye). Outside of those four, there is no one on the Suns who would bring back anything of value (without taking on some sort of an albatross or giving up first round draft picks for next three or four years).

    I’m happy the Suns stayed their ground and didn’t do anything stupid. It’s a sign that the FO is learning.

  • Tony

    Michael,

    I wasn’t suggesting that the Suns FO make a move just to make a move but rather, to improve the team immediately. Furthermore, since the team lacks trade assets, the only trade involving Suns players would be a lateral trade where it doesn’t really improve the overall quality of the team. That’s why I was advocating for Sarver to take on salary cap.

    Now I may be mistaken because I am not extensively familiar with how the current CBA works, but even it the Suns would have been put into the luxury tax for the remainder of this season, once the season is over and a ton of players’ contracts end, they’ll be far under the salary cap and so, the FO wouldn’t have to be concerned about the luxury tax. Now if there is some kind of penalty for going into the luxury tax that extends beyond the time the team is actually over the limit, then I understand the reasoning in not taking on payroll now.

    However, the issue is moot at this point since the trade deadline has passed, but like I said previously, when the FO does not deliver on its promise that they made at the beginning of this season to be able to sign max-level players, I just hope you and others call them out for it and not let them get away with telling fans to be patient and wait until the following off-season.

  • steve

    If they promised “to be able to sign max-level players,” then they have already delivered on that promise from a financial standpoint. Whether or not it’s going to happen has nothing to do with their “ability.” The Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons (etc etc etc) all have the ability to sign max-level players. And if you look at it from a working perspective financially, even teams over the cap can make moves to get max players…

    I know I’m just talking semantics, but saying something like the promise you mentioned above is extremely defensible even when it might seem to some that the promise wasn’t delivered. In other words, they’re slimy politicians who are going to protect their skins with vague words so they’ll always be able to “deliver” on their promises.

    Btw, I’m curious, where was this “promised?”

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

    Well, since the Suns are over the salary cap they could have only taken on a salary that is roughly equivalent to what they are sending out, so a move largely involving taking on salary was not possible at this juncture. However, that is the kind of move they can make with all their cap space this offseason. With Dwight now off the board and Deron Williams of course not coming here, it is fairly safe to say now the Suns will be acquiring a megastar. What I want to see them do is to make smart moves with that cap space, be it a young restricted free agent, a trade in which they take on salary for a solid player, or a trade in which they take on salary for a draft pick a la the Kurt Thomas trade. What I am most worried about right now is a repeat of 2010 when they had money to burn and burned it the wrong way.