Steve Nash won’t return to Phoenix ‘if there isn’t an improvement’


Steve Nash said he won't return to the Suns if they don't plan to "upgrade the roster seriously." (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

Steve Nash said he won't return to the Suns if they don't plan to "upgrade the roster seriously." (AP Photo/Bob Levey)

Steve Nash sent a message Thursday that Suns management must have heard loud and clear: he will only return next season if Phoenix improves.

Nash spoke to everyone from Bill Simmons to Dan Patrick to Jim Rome as part of a Dove Men Care promotional media circuit and touched on a variety of interesting topics but none more important than what he said concerning his pending free agency.

“I definitely do want to win,” Nash told Patrick (which can be heard here). “I’m not going to come back to the Suns if there isn’t an improvement, if they’re not ambitious and they’re not looking to upgrade the roster seriously. And I think they are.

“They’ll have a lot of flexibility in free agency. They’ll also have been standing pat in many ways so they could do some things this summer. I think they’ll become a definite possibility for me. I do want to win. I do want to consider all my options, so it will be interesting to see what happens this summer.”

To my knowledge this is the first time Nash has made such a definitive statement on what Phoenix must do to placate him this offseason. Many have questioned why he would not demand a trade to a contender while playing for a Suns team that floundered before the All-Star break. His competitive nature was questioned by being so at peace to play out his age 38 season on a lottery team.

However, now we know Nash will not be content to play out his days in a system he enjoys, in a city whose fans adore him (where his kids happen to live), for a coach he respects and with teammates he genuinely likes. He also wants to play for a winner.

Such a proclamation (or at least the line of thinking itself) puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the front office to make moves worthy of keeping Nash. This will not be easy since any potential addition would likely want to know Nash is returning as well.

As Larry Coon recently wrote, the Suns are slated to have about $26 million to spend on upgrades next offseason, tied with the Cavs for most in the league. The Suns could likely hand out a max contract and re-sign Nash if such a scenario presents itself.

However, there are not many elite unrestricted free agents aside from Deron Williams (who is not coming here). In theory, the Suns could make a run at an aging star like Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen, or they could toss some money at a young restricted stud such as Eric Gordon, Nicolas Batum, Ryan Anderson or Brook Lopez.

If they cannot acquire a player worthy of a big dollar contract I would prefer the Suns to sign some one-year deals and save the money for the next summer, but it appears as if such a scenario would mean Nash walks based on today’s comments.

I had been an advocate of exploring a Nash trade due to how easily Two Time could escape for nothing if the right contender calls.

In that vein Patrick asked Nash how he would respond if LeBron James tried to recruit him to Miami.

“I would listen,” Nash said. “He’s phenomenal. I love what they’re doing there. A lot of people don’t like them because they put all that talent there. But they’re professional, they play hard, they play together. Their coaching staff has done a great job, so I have a tremendous amount of respect for them.

“I would definitely listen.”

To me such a scenario seems unlikely unless Nash was willing to play for a mid-level contract and become more of a complementary piece rather than a player the system revolves around as is the case in Phoenix.

Still, if the Suns do not make the requisite improvements so that Nash can stop talking about how much less talented Phoenix is than other teams, it is certainly no stretch to think he would bolt with only cap space left to show for him (which would not be terribly awful if the Suns nabbed a pair of restricted studs, but how likely is that if Nash leaves?).

After a quick 2011 offseason in which Phoenix essentially punted any important decisions to this summer, Lon Babby and Lance Blanks really have their work cut out for them.

They will have to balance bringing back a team good enough to entice Steve Nash to stay with the opportunity to potentially acquire some quality young players. Ideally a player like Gordon (if he’s healthy) could accomplish both goals — serving as a go-to scorer in the present next to Nash as well as a player to build around — but the Suns must resist the urge to overpay a short-term solution.

Now we all know that Nash really does care about winning and that he is not content to lose games in a comfortable situation the rest of his career.

At this point it will be up to the Suns to add the right pieces this summer to convince Nash he can both win and be comfortable in the desert.

 Other interesting tidbits

 I listened to Nash with Simmons on the BS Report and he had many interesting nuggets to share:

  • Nash feels the 2006-07 Suns were the best SSOL team: “I think that was the best of all the teams because of a number of factors. We added a couple of pieces and had been through a few wars. .. 2010 was kind of a magical year.”
  • With Mike D’Antoni recently resigning as the Knicks’ head coach, Simmons asked whether his system can work at the highest levels of the NBA. That led to a discussion on all the bad luck the Suns suffered during the SSOL years, with Nash saying the suspensions of Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw hurt the most with that team being undersized to begin with. “You can’t look back on that series and go, ‘If the suspensions didn’t happen we were through.’ But we were also at an all-time high. It was a team with a lot of belief. We had gotten our heads chopped off a couple years in a row. We were poised to chop someone else’s head off. … That was the year you couldn’t say D’Antoni’s system didn’t work.”
  • To Nash, the biggest thing the team was missing during that era was a defensive center to play even as few as 15-20 minutes a game.
  • Nash said he made sure potential trade rumors about him did not become a distraction because he did not want to do that to the Phoenix fans or his teammates. He also said the team has been playing better this past month due to improved rebounding and bench play and that getting a good night of sleep is one of the keys to his late-career success.
  • Nash told Patrick that he “could be back for sure, but that will be more interesting than the trade deadline.” He said he has not spoken to Dirk Nowitzki about a potential reunion in Dallas and he said he was a lockdown defender at times who pressured fullcourt early in his career as a Maverick.

Tags: Steve Nash

  • Mike Meez

    Can’t say I’m surprised, and I can’t blame Steve either. I just don’t see how we can do anything to make it worth his while to stay. There’s absolutely no one in the free agent market who could turn the team into a contender.

    Another interesting tidbit: Simmons mentioned that Kobe tries to pile it on for Phoenix and asks why. Steve says its the Phoenix fans haha Proud to be a Suns fan

  • Jason A.

    I was sad to hear Steve say that but I can’t blame him or be upset about it. Miami is an obvious destination for Nash.

    Thing is though, I have a hard time believing a championship with the Heat and then retiring means the same thing as a championship elsewhere, especially if the Heat win it this year without him. What if we kept Nash and brought in Garnett and/or Allen for a final two year run? Nash would still have a shot at a title but it would be on his team.

  • Tony

    Michael,

    Eric Gordon is someone the Suns can build around?? You are referring to the frequently injured and under-sized 2-guard who plays for the Hornets correct? Eric Gordon is absolutely not a player a team looking to become a contender would prize as their franchise player.

    If Nash is true to his word, this is his last season with the Suns. Even if the Suns had a competent owner who was committed to winning, it will take years to undo the damage brought to the Suns by none other than Robert Sarver. As Michael stated, the onlyy legitimate max-worthy unrestricted free agent is Williams and he isn’t signing with the Suns, and neither Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, or Nicholas Batum are franchise players. Now, if the Suns signed all three along with resigning Nash and Hill, then we’re back in business. But for some reason, I’m pretty skeptical the Three Stooges have the wherewithall to make that happen.

    Personally, I’m glad Nash spoke up for the good of the Suns franchise. I just wish he did so a couple seasons ago, when Sarver decided to replace Amare with Childress, Warrrick, and Hedo. Nash, Hill, Gentry, the Suns fans, and the city of Phoenix deserve much much better than Robert Sarver. Hopefully, this pressure by Nash forces Sarver to reevaluate this whole save cap space for the future bs, which basically can be translated as Sarver’s plan on maintaining as low a salary cap as possible while still putting together a team just good enough to maybe squeak into the playoffs if all goes right, only to then get knocked out in 4 or 5 games in the 1st round.

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

      @Tony Let me clarify that. Eric Gordon is the best player I think they would have any kind of a shot at. I think he could be a go-to guy and a closer next to Nash and a solid 2nd banana with Gortat the 3rd banana in the future. Obviously if you are starting a franchise he is not even close to one of the 1st guys you would look to, but considering the available options he’s not bad.

  • A-ROCK

    @ALL YOU BROKEN HEARTED SUNS FANS…….. THAT FEEL NASH IS RIGHT….DO YOU WANT NASH IN MIAMI OR PHOENIX….. GET REAL!!!! PHOENIX HAS SOME OF THE DUMBEST FANS….. BUT WHAT MAKES ME PROUD IS I’M FROM PHOENIX AND THE DUMB FANS AREN’T……… (PROBABLY ALL CANADIANS LOL J/K) They ( the fans) associate the franchise with the players that play for it and the faces that pass through. I hate to say it but the suns are LOSING!! They need to get Nash some help and not sign him to a max contract. The Sun’s are in a lose lose situation once again. It comes down to the stupid A$$ decisions the organization makes. For example…. They sign nash to a max then they can’t sign no more than 1 other max player who actually will be on the team for atleast 5 years producing and Nash will be over in 3, you don’t sign him to a max you end up losing him for nothing like Amari!!! What do you do…..Trade Nash for something decent and then go out and sign 2 max players or keep him and sign 2 max but he can’t be max!! I been saying this trade Nash all year like it’s going to happen, and all the loser Nash D#$% riders been saying keep him so he can leave for nothing, because do you really think he LOVES phoenix as much as he wants you to believe to stick around for the veterans minimum (or a lil more lol) even though he’s made over 120 million in his career. Let that man live and get off his nuts, we’ll see what happens when his LEBRON DECISION COMES UP!!!! GET READY FOR THE HATE NASH BECAUSE PHOENIX FANS DESERVE MORE OUT OF YOU!!!!!!!

    Read more: http://valleyofthesuns.com/2012/03/28/los-angeles-clippers-103-phoenix-suns-86-snowball-effect/#ixzz1qZk8cnXQ

  • A-ROCK

    All this and that Nash isn’t going to request a trade he wants to stay with the Suns he is loyal he knew his team sucked he wanted to play with them he wanted to make them better he wanted to speak out after the trade deadline him not winning caused him to speak out………REALLY …….. HE KNEW THEY WOULD STINK BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON….. SO HE HAS BEEN SECRETLY HOLDING THIS IN ALL YEAR….. EVEN PAST THE TRADE DEADLINE AND NOW TALK……. DIRTBAG!!!!!!! That was pretty low of Nash to speak of another team now that he is losing when he knew at the beginning they were not very good…. Shame on you Nash!!!!!!!!

  • Jason A.

    A-rock your words are way too harsh on Nash. If you are a true Suns fan (I doubt it) you know that no matter what happens from this point on, Nash is probably the greatest player in the history of the franchise.

  • Tony

    A-Rock,

    come on, Nash is a dirt bag for refusing to demand a trade?? Furthermore, it’s not as if he definitely stated he’s not going to resign with the Suns. All he implied was that if the Three Stooges don’t seriously upgrade the roster, only then would he not resign with them. How can you blame him for that? Did you call Lebron, Kobe, or Chris Paul a dirtbag for actually leaving or demanding a trade if management didn’t step up and bring in talent?

    So in your view, is Nash just supposed to stay on the Suns until he retires regardless of how little talent the front office has assembled around him? Because if that is what you think, then you have as little credibility as those who claim Sarver is anything better than a horrible owner…..

  • Jason A.

    Sarver is better than a horrible owner.

  • Tony

    @Jason,

    if you truly believe that, then you have no credibility whatsoever. List five things that Sarver did that was a net positive for this franchise. I bet you can’t even reach five net positives. And don’t bring up Gortat because first of all, we originally drafted him but Sarver didn’t want to pay for the pick so he sold it and secondly, Gortat was in essence brought back only as a result of Sarver’s horrible decision to bring in Hedo and he still ended up having to give up Richardson to get Gortat back.

  • Scott

    Well, I guess that’s goodbye to Steve then. I don’t see the Suns FO making any moves.

    Fans, prepare to see Telfair as your starting PG. (Assuming the Suns don’t replace Nash with D-Will.)

  • A-ROCK

    @tony my point excactly Nash is on his way out for nothing because as you know if the suns couldn’t get anything this year WHAT makes you think they will get someone next year?

  • Scott

    @Tony -

    I think Sarver is a better owner than Gentry is a coach.

  • A-ROCK

    It’s very plain and simple to see that….. is every one blind…. I could have told you at the beginning of the year the suns wouldn’t get anyone else and won’t next year either……ARE YOU REALLY TELLING ME NASH DIDN’T KNOW THAT EITHER?

  • Scott

    I’m not sure where the Suns will draft at this point, but the odds of them picking Kendall Marshall just skyrocketed.

  • A-ROCK

    Everyone knows they wanted to just work with the group they had!!!!! So now Nash wants to discuss other options all the Sudden…..THE REAL ARIZONA (people from AZ) FANS ALREADY KNEW THE TEAM WASN’T GOOD!!!! WHY DOESN’T HE SAY THIS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR!? Is it to create drama? is it to bring attention to Arizona (the suns)? Isn’t he suppose to NOT speak up as he has been (loyal)? All that BS goes down the drain when you already know the out come of the team at the beginning of the season but then when your not winning you want to bring up this HYPE?!

  • Grover

    I have a different read on Nash than many here seem to.

    Nash isn’t the type to chase championships or money. He’s about relationships. He’s more about enjoying the work than he is purely about the victory. Understand I’m not taking this too far – he’s not going to play with his friends on a team he thinks can only win 30 games – not because he’s too egotistical to be seen losing, but because being stuck on a loser would kill the thrill of competing. In other words, I think Nash would be fine playing for team that was likely to win 50ish games but had the kind of chemistry and fight that made him respect the process.

    I think it would be totally out of character for Nash to become a hired gun role player for a team stacked with all stars. Miami seems like a great example of where he would NOT go or fit in. Nash needs the ball in his hands, but so do Wade and James. I can’t picture Nash putting himself in a position where is not quarterbacking the offense and I can’t picture Miami thinking a ball controlling PG was where they should spend their extremely limited salary cap.

    As for Phoenix, its obvious Nash has solid working relationships with Hill, Gentry, and many of the Suns staffers. I don’t think Nash would require that the Suns become favorites to win the West in order to stay in Phoenix, but I’m sure he also wants to make sure they bring in talent that would help him immediately and not either bring in complete crap or load up entirely with rookies who might be good in 3-4 years but can’t do anything for Nash’s rather limited remaining career.

    I’d guess the chances are something like 60/40 or maybe 70/30 that Nash ends up in Phoenix next year (and I’d say the same for Hill). The Suns clearly need to get a PG, and unless they can land Williams (unlikely, though I’d love to see it), Nash is the best one available. Nash also would be a short term commitment, so it doesn’t necessarily hurt their rebuilding process. It fits in many ways and seems like a logical conclusion to his career… much more so than going Gary Payton on us and chasing championship rings like everyone likes to talk about is his next step.

    By the way, the Suns will likely have much more than $26 million under the salary cap… one would think they’ll amnesty Childress giving them another $6.5 mill.

  • A-ROCK

    NASH NEEDS TO RIDE THE WAVE LIKE HE HAS BEEN DOING AND EITHER LET US KNOW HOW MUCH HE WANTS (MONEY) TO STAY HERE OR JUST SAY HE WANTS TO BE TRADED PERIOD!!!!

  • A-ROCK

    Again it is the Suns fault not Nash’s but he is a DIRT BAG BECAUSE i SEE NO LOYALTY AND THE SUNS ARE NOW IN A SITUATION……..Honestly I think the suns are using this as a marketing scheme to keep their names in peoples mouth since they have a very slim chance on making the playoffs……which they knew already also and not TRULY rebuilding the team which leaves them stuck in mediocrity which is a no win situation as always!!!

  • A-ROCK

    The Suns are getting straight played by this canadian hahahahahaha LOYAL HA …give me a break!!!!

    This is suppose to be AZ!! Please suns don’t let it happen again and lose another player for nothing!

    Nash will show us he wants to play for us and go down in history as a Sun!!

  • Tony

    @Scott,

    Gentry is far from a great coach. With that being said, he’s a far better coach than Sarver is an owner. The fact that you would even compare Gentry to Sarver is an insult to Gentry. Did you forget how well the Suns team did under Gentry when he was coaching players with get this, actual talent….? Instead of Frye as starting pf Gentry had Amare. Instead of Dudley starting at the 2, he had J-Rich. Instead of Telfair or Price backing up Nash, he had Dragic. And Gentry had the luxury of using Dudley and Frye in their proper positions as reserve players instead of using them as starters, which they have no business being. To expect Gentry to turn this team into a playoff team is to expect a miracle to occur.

    But that’s fine to disagree. We can continue debating this next season too when the Suns are in the top 3 worst teams in the league.

    @A-Rock,

    no doubt about it, the Suns are not acquiring a star player this off season and so, if Nash stays true to his word, he’s moving on to a legitimate NBA team, not the Phoenix Mercury or whatever the name of the WNBA team is. And I agree with you that they should have traded him when they dcided Hedo, Warrick, and Childress would fill Amare’s shoes or at the very latest, prior to this year’s trade deadline. I think that when all of the top restricted free-agents this season signed extensions with their respective teams, that Sarver realized Nash would be the only attraction for Suns fans next season and so, in the interests of trying to maintain some interest in this horribly assembled team and get more seats filled, Sarver decided to take a chance and not trade Nash.

  • A-ROCK

    He will take the contract we offer him and let us rebuild by picking up 2 max contracts!!!!

    Other wise he can walk like a DIRT BAG!!!!!

    LEBRON 2012 IS THE CAMPAIN FOR NASH!!!!!!!

    He already said he would let Lebron talk him into moving away…… probably to see how he made it through to the Dark Side!!! Gone

  • A-ROCK

    @Grover

    being stuck on a loser doesn’t make you lose the thrill of competing that is naturally in a person….. it should make a star out of a star or a bigger star!!

    Nash on the other hand does not step up in that way he gives assists to losers which brings him down.

    I don’t respect him for not changing his game up to what the team needs rather than being selfish and continuing to play his style which is not built for this team….. honestly the players can match up well with other teams it’s just the style they play doesn’t allow them to maximize….. and thats because the Star isn’t maximizing himself to play other roles other than pick and roll and 7 seconds or less!!!!!

  • Grover

    Being stuck on a loser can and does take the joy out of playing. Very few if any people can enjoy playing on a team where they know they’re going to lose most of their game no matter who they’re playing with.

    I have no idea what you mean with the rest of your comment. Are you trying to say the rest of the Suns roster is good and Nash just won’t play another style to accentuate that? Honestly, I can’t think of a style any point guard could play that could turn the remainder of this roster into a more competitive team than Nash has done. If you ask most NBA analysts (and I say this in part because I just heard a couple of them discussing it on a sports show the other day), Nash is probably the best player in the NBA at being able to turn 4 average players plus himself into some semblance of an offense.

  • http://asdf Jacob

    Michael, to be brutally honest, there are no options in free agency this offseason to convince Nash to resign with the Suns. Eric Gordon is not the type of player that could sway Nash and neither are the 87 year olds Duncan, Garnett and Allen. The only way to keep Steve Nash in the valley is through trading. Phoenix has a lot of flexibility this offseason, and they can make trades to bring in salary and relieve other teams’ salaries.
    For example, Utah might want to give Derrick Favors and/or Enes Kanter more playing time next year. That might mean parting ways with Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap. In my opinion, Paul is more likely to be traded out of those two. However, even Paul Millsap would not be enough to convince Nash to stay. If we can sign Ray Allen or Eric Gordon on top of that, that could be enough to convince him.
    I’m probably not the only one who thinks a starting five of Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Grant Hill (if he stays- or even Jared Dudley), Paul Millsap, and Marcin Gortat looks really, really good. Plus that would mean bringing Dudley to the bench along with Channing Frye (where he belongs!). Pick and rolls galore. Plus, both Millsap and Gortat can hit the 15-17 foot jumper. Would that be enough to make a run for the championship? Probably not. But it would be enough for Steve to seriously consider resigning in Phoenix.
    Honestly, I hope Robert Sarver, Lance Blanks, and Lon Babby are smart enough to work the trades (and I think they are), because if Phoenix doesn’t bring in enough talent this offseason, Nash will not resign.

  • Tim from British Columbia

    Hey A-Rock, do I detect that you have something against Canadians?! Something about us being dumb fans? No that nice. I am proud that Steve Nash is from Canada and I think he is an extremely talented player who has class and shows loyalty to his teammates, team and the fans. He didn’t keep saying he wanted to be traded like Howard and say he was going to ditch his team like James did. I highly respect Steve even if he is now saying he wants to play his last years with a winner. The Suns managment has let him down by trading away so many good players like Dragic, Barbosa, Richardson, Admundson, etc, etc. They trade away good players and then expect Steve to keep them competitive with a less talented nucleus of players. I think they should try and get a couple of good free agents and then build with the draft like OKC has done.
    (Tim, a Canadian and proud of it!)

  • PennyAnd1

    @A-ROCK

    STFU you prick. Nash doesn’t know anything about losing, so it didn’t occur in his head about losing this season from the beginning of the season unlike you. He thought he can make this group work, but unfortunately this group don’t know how to play with Nash always pampering them. He tried, but his teammates just sucks, INCONSISTENT.

    Now with next Season, although it’s not over this season, The Suns should hold on to Gortat, Dudley, & Hill (maybe Brown). I say get Ryan Anderson & Ray Allen as shooters, and Batum (or Scola) & Garnet as PF. Just get rid of Warrick, Childress, Lopez, Price, Telfair (for Aaron Brooks), Frye, and etc… Keep Morris & Redd.

    Next season would then look like this:

    Nash
    Allen/Ryan Anderson
    Hill
    Garnett
    Gortat

    Brooks
    Dudley
    Brown
    Morris
    Batum/Scola

    plus Redd

    Garnet & Allen shouldn’t cost us that much.
    Anderson is pricey but is within range
    Scola/Batum also a fair deal, but

    rid ourself of Frye, Warrick, Childress expensive contracts, and we are fine.

  • Grover

    Dudes – stop with the personal attacks. It’s a sure fire way to drag this thread and board into the gutter were people won’t bother reading it.

  • steve

    @Grover, you’re never going to have that request fulfilled by the likes of people who call the front office the “three stooges” or type in all caps. Expecting reason out of them is like expecting reason between hardcore dems and hardcore repubs on a politically charged topic like obamacare. Plus, this is the internet. If you can’t handle childish insults, you should just stay away. The internet is the armpit of hell, as far as morality, manners, and common sense is concerned.

    I’m with you on the chances of Nash staying. I think the Suns are one GOOD player away from being a top 4 seed. Eric Gordon could be that player through FA. Jefferson, Millsap, Harden, or a number of other players might be that guy through a trade.

    I just really hope the suns start winning again soon, not because I enjoy them winning so much, but rather so that this childish blather can end. The fairweathers are happy when the team is winning.

  • grover

    Game over for this season. Just saw a report that Hill is getting knee surgery is morning. Torn cartilage – out at least a couple weeks. I don’t think the Suns can win enough games without him there. I’ll be excited as hell if they can, I just can’t see it happening.

  • Scott

    @Tony -

    I think Gentry did better when he had more talent, because even a bad coach can be more successful with more talent.

    Speaking of talent, Gentry’s main talent is being amiable. He’s probably a great glue guy as an assistant coach.

    When D’Antoni left, Gentry became successful primarily because the 2nd unit surprised him by playing well. He did nothing to create that 2nd unit; they were just the scraps left over from his starting unit. Since then he has pursued the same strategy of playing a 2nd unit made up of scraps, having been unable to learn the lesson that the 2nd unit needs to be good in order to keep games close.

    I also believe Gentry is centrally responsible for the Suns losing Dragic.

    I believe Gentry’s inability to compose a credible 2nd unit has probably resulted in the Suns missing the playoffs yet again. If the Suns by some chance make it to the playoffs, it won’t be because Gentry’s a coaching genius who gets more out of his players.

    I don’t hold the owner responsible for the team’s success. He’s put up the money when he’s been asked to. He’s permitted his “brain trust” to do what they thought was necessary, and he’s made the hires his people have told him to make. In terms of basketball operations, that’s what the managing partner of an ownership group does. The rest of the time he’s looking at issues regarding tickets, television, arena, and so on.

    I think you completely misunderstand the role and abilities of owners. Your anger is probably more appropriately aimed at the GMs the Suns have hired, and the FO’s poor scouting / talent evaluation, but theoretically Blanks and Babby were hired specifically to address these issues, and on the recommendation of part-owner and former GM Steve Kerr.

  • Scott

    @Grover -

    If Hill’s out, I hope this means Childress finds a spot in the rotation.

    Not that I think Childress is a team savior, but he can play good isolation defense, and the Suns need to do what they can to make him look attractive to another team.

    I think I would have rather seen Childress on Ginobili when the 2nd unit played.

    I would also like to see Redd start at SF. While they’ve had bursts, neither Dudley nor Brown have shown sustained scoring output. Redd’s efforts from the bench have been pathetic, but when he’s started he’s been good.

  • Scott

    BTW, the ESPN story on this is “Report: Grant Hill needs knee injury.”

    So … did the ESPN illuminati call for Hill to get clubbed in order to meet their infernal need for stories? ;)

  • Scott

    One more thing …

    If Deron Williams is the only youthful star likely to leave his team (after being re-signed to a mega deal), could he be signed with the Suns to play at SG alongside Nash?

    It would be a bit like Billups playing alongside Paul in LA.

  • Scott

    Here’s a look at such a trade. Obviously, there are quite a few options, but taking the simplest course …

    1) Deron Williams signals this summer he doesn’t want to stay with the Nyets because they did not, as stipulated, get him Howard. He could opt out of his final year, but he’s willing to accept a sign and trade to a team that he likes (which is a likely scenario, as under the new CBA no one will be able to sign him to as lucrative a deal as the Nets).

    2) The Suns offer the Nets the following players in order to match D-Will’s salary: Dudley, Morris, Childress, Warrick, and Telfair. Since the Nets only have 4 players signed for next year, this gives them the foundation of a team (these players can cover PG to C), plus quality contracts with Dudley and Morris, whom coach Avery Johnson will love.

    3) The Suns extend an offer to Nash, and he accepts.

    4) This gives the Suns the following players under contract: Nash, Williams, Gortat, and Frye, plus their 2012 first round pick. (Since 9 of the first 15 picks are PF/C, for speculative purposes we could pencil this in as a PF.)

    Suns troll the FA market, and who knows who they pick up, but let’s say they re-sign Hill, Lopez, Brown, Redd, and Price, plus 3 other bargain players (let’s say, Amundson, Fesenko, and Novak … just picking randomly here).

    That puts the Suns at roughly $64 million in salary, with probably the only long term contracts being Williams, Gortat, Frye, the draft pick, and possibly Lopez and/or Brown.

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

    Alright, good read. Good read.

    First of all, I saw Kevin Garnett mentioned. KG is done. Obviously, those of you who mentioned him have not watched him this year. He is falling fast and hard. He won’t play another season.

    Eric Gordon is not an option and should not be on the Suns’ radar. Matter of fact, NO major free agent should be an option.

    The worst case scenario has happened, and you know what? Good. It’s time to deal with it.

    Nash, Hill, Frye, Brown, Price, Lopez and probably JMZ will be gone next year. Gortat might be gone as well as the only piece on the Suns roster that could bring back pieces for a foundation.

    The bottom hasn’t fallen out. It’s been gone; we just haven’t had gravity take hold, until now.

    Gentry has proven that, when he has pieces, (like any other decent coach), he can make things happen. The roster he has been forced to put out there for the last couple of years has been a nightmare for any coach. To take Dragic away from him destroyed any chance of there being some sort of bench production regularly.

    STAT is falling apart at an alarming rate, so I’m not mad at that. I’m not mad at J-Rich because it got us Gortat which gives us either a Center for the future or a trade chip that could actually bring something back.

    It’s time to gut it, and build once again through the draft. SSOL was built through the draft, don’t get it twisted. The main cog was brought back via free agency, but the foundation was build via the draft.

    Nash can and should go. Helps get this thing started.

  • grover

    I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Childress pick up the majority of the minutes vacated by Hill, despite all the DNPs. He and Brown are the only two on the team with the athletic ability to even come close to what Hill gave on defense. Childress is a hinderence on offense, but is the smarter of the two. Brown makes too many errors to be a good defender. Definitively a downgrade from Hill either way, so I don’t see the Suns recovering.

    I can’t picture Williams playing next to Nash, nor does it seem like a good use of salary. As much as I like Nash, if they can sign Williams the Suns would have no need for Nash other than tradition. Can the Nets even do a sign and trade with Williams? I know there are limitations in the CBA about when and how, but I haven’t researched them. Even if they can, I would think other teams would offer better that the flotsam and jetsam you described coming from the Suns for Williams.

  • grover

    The problem with rebuilding through the draft is it takes a really long time, your team has to positively suck for several years, and it’s highly uncertain as so many “can’t miss” prospects miss. Rebuilding through the draft is certainly the most cost effective way to rebuild, but I’m hoping the Suns don’t go purely this route.

    Rebuilding through free agency is much faster and more certain. There is no doubting that Williams is good, for instance. Anthony Davis? Looks good, but so did Oden, Morrison, Kwame Brown, Len Bias, etc. If you randomly pick a draft year in the last decade and position in the lottery then go look at who that player was, you’d be shocked how many of those players are not good. Counting on the draft to be your teams saving grace is a risky strategy.

  • bk

    Suns ranks 15th in salary (talent)
    Suns win/loss is 18th as of now.

    Owners don’t intend to make it a better team.
    Players don’t work up to their talent.

  • steve

    Len Bias probably would have been amazing, so I don’t think he belongs on that list. I realize a lot of people got suckered into believing Morrison and Brown could have been good, and Oden would have been a freak if it hadn’t been for his knees.

    But I get your point, there have been a TON of misses in the NBA draft. The thing about the draft, though, is that it doesn’t cripple a franchise to mess up a pick or two. Giving Josh Childress $35M to sit on the bench is crippling. Giving Dudley and Frye $50M to be average role players is crippling. If you miss on a FA, trade, or extension, you’re screwed. If you miss on a draft pick, you can kiss $15M good bye and move on. Guys in their first four years are also MUCH more likely to attract suitors if they haven’t proven anything than guys in their 5th-15th years who have only proven to be mediocre at best.

    Building through FA is necessary. I understand that. But so is building through the draft. And from a certain perspective, the draft is actually more certain. You can control how many picks you have (not necessarily where they land, but you can control the quantity). You have very little control over who you can get in the FA or trade market. You can’t count on being able to land Dwight or Deron. You can’t count on being able to trade for James Harden. You can’t count on any of it. In the draft, at least you know you’ll have a couple of names on jerseys. The Suns NEED to draft well the next two years, and the best way to ensure they do that is to get more picks. Trading Dudley, Frye, Childress (show him off for the rest of the season and hope he raises some eyebrows), or Gortat should be strongly considered.

  • Scott

    @grover -

    Well, it would be a reprisal of “Backcourt 2000,” with Kidd and Hardaway, which never got off the ground due to injuries. Like Hardaway, D-Will is better suited to play SG than most star PGs, like Rose, Rondo, or Paul. He’s basically the same size / build as Suns SG Shannon Brown, and he can score from anywhere on the court.

    Sure, there’s a question of personalities and who gets to be “the man” on the team. But D-Will has been asking to be joined by another star, so … who knows what he would accept.

    Nash is looking for a player who can create, facilitate, and score, and Williams can do all that. He’s shown he’s capable of scoring in buckets (50-60 pts), and he could take the opposing team’s defensive pressure off of Nash. This could allow Nash, in turn, to score occasionally off of D-Will’s creating.

    Also, if the Suns trade for D-Will, it gives them a backup plan if Nash decides to move on, or for when Nash retires.

    As for whether the Nets can do a sign and trade on Williams, it’s an option that’s been discussed before in the sports press. I don’t see why it couldn’t be done. As I understand it, Williams this year can either A) declare as a FA and leave, B) exercise his player option to stay with the Nets for 1 more year (at $17 million plus), or C) engineer a sign and trade, where the Nets can sign him to a larger contract than he’d be able to get elsewhere.

    If D-Will chooses A, he’ll get less money, but he’ll be able to sign with any team that has a ton of cap space. That list is topped by the Cavs, followed by Phoenix. Since the Cavs have Kyrie Irving, the Suns are the next logical consideration, depending on whether or not they have Nash. After that is Boston (which has Rondo), Indiana, New Orleans, and Houston.

    If D-Will chooses B, he’ll have to endure 1 more year with the Nets. Sure, he’ll make another $17 million, but there are no star FAs who are likely to join him in Jersey, and he’s in his prime. It could very well be a wasted year.

    So he could very likely choose C, the sign and trade. And that could send him virtually anywhere, except that unlike his trade away from Utah, he’d have the ability to select which of the teams with offers he’d like to go to.

    I don’t know what other teams would offer, but if the Suns offered the players I mentioned, I could see that appealing to the Nets.

    If the Suns want, they could probably also ask the Nets for their 2nd round pick in the trade. Draft Express currently has Nemanja Nedovic projected as a tail end pick this year. His description sounds like a less introverted Dragic. I’d take him if the opportunity presented.

  • Scott

    @grover -

    As for the idea of the Suns offering “flotsam and jetsam” for D-Will, consider what the Suns got for their sign and trade of Amare under similar conditions.

    I sincerely think the Nets would like to have Morris, because he can play PF/C, and he defends and rebounds – two things very important to AJ.

    Likewise, Avery would like to have Dudley. Both Morris and Dudley have excellent contracts.

    Sure, the Nets would be taking on Childress and Warrick, but Warrick is getting paid half of what the Nets were paying Humphries, and his contract goes to team option after one more year.

    Childress can defend, rebound, and score efficiently, which might get him on the court with AJ, whereas because of his inability to score, he doesn’t fit into the Suns’ system. Childress might be an ideal complement on the wing for a ball-hungry scorer like MarShon Brooks.

    As for Telfair, sure, he’s the bottom of the pu-pu platter, but he’s on team option, he’s learned to score, he’s from NY (and presumably still has fans there), and if Williams goes, the Nets have no PG signed for next year. I’d anticipate them re-signing Farmar and then taking Telfair as his backup in this scenario.

  • grover

    Damn. No good arguments here as I think we’re in agreement. This is no fun.

    I was at an event a couple weeks ago where Babby was speaking and had a chance to ask him a few of my own questions. The good news is I think he’d agree with most everything we’ve said here. He criticized prior management with undervaluing draft picks as they A) are a source of cheap labor and B) occasionally become all stars. He also criticized the Suns and many other teams for allowing themselves to get in bidding wars for mediocre talent (an area Babby smiled about encouraging when he was an agent). His plan is to use the free agent market to find core players for the teams future, and if the right talent isn’t available, conserve the teams financial flexibility for the following summer or mid season trades, all this while also building the Suns scouting efforts to improve their chances in the draft. He definitely wants to avoid more long term contracts for role players.

    Everything he said sounded great. We’ll have to see if he can execute on that plan. It could fall apart if Sarver doesn’t share the same views or if Babby is great at understanding what they need to do, but lousy at evaluating talent.

    Babby has only been here about 18 months… 50/50 on trades in my mind. I think he did a good job unwinding the Turkoglu mess as best he could, but even Babby admits he screwed up with the Dragic trade. I’m not convinced its more than words, but have to admit he says the right things.

  • Tony

    @Scott,

    Come on, you’re starting to sound like Steve, and that’s not a compliment by the way.

    The best two things Gentry did when he took over as head coach was to keep Mike D’s system but in addition, to make the necessary adjustments that A’ntoni refused to make: I’m talking of course about creating a stable and reliable 2nd unit and placing more emphasis on defense. You blame Gentry for Dragic’s problems as a Sun, which I do agree was apart of Dragic’s eventual trade, but you also don’t give Gentry any credit for building up Dragic and making him feel comfortable and confident. A big part of Dragic’s success was Gentry’s leeway with him and encouraging him despite mistakes.

    As far as the rest of the 2nd unit, Gentry also deserves credit because unlike many other head coaches, he showed trust in the 2nd unit by playing them extended minutes and even closing out games at times. This served to boost the confidence and chemistry of the reserve unit. Coaching is not all about Xs and Os, it’s just as important to build trust and chemistry something Gentry did a masterful job of doing.

    In regards to your argument about ownership responsibilities, you fail to mention who hires the GM and head scout. How do you think Babby and Blanks got hired? These two interviewed with Sarver and he alone decided to hire them despite neither of them being qualified for their respective positions.

    Finally, come on, Darron Williams will play 2-guard with Nash?? Not only would that not work, but Williams would never go for it. I mean, if he’s not going to resign with the Nets, a team with a couple of young talented players and owned by a billionaire, why would you assume he would want to play for the Suns? It’s not like he’s ever shown an interest or even hinted at playing for the Suns.

  • steve

    Haha, now look who’s spouting off opinions as fact. I don’t think it’s likely that DWill would want to come here to be a 2, but carrier things have happened. It’s so easy to be a naysayer.

  • steve

    *crazier* dyac!

  • Scott

    @Tony -

    I do remember that Gentry helped Dragic along in the early going, when D’Antoni couldn’t care less. However, last season he gave Dragic an unplayable 2nd unit group and expected him to make something of it. The fault is on Gentry for that, and for failing to realize his group wouldn’t work, yet to protect his own inadequacy he blamed Dragic and had Dragic traded at a high cost to the team. That’s a point I’ve made many times before.

    Gentry has done the same sort of thing this year. He’s following the same pattern of wholesale substitution (which D’Antoni did not do), and he all too often “forgets” to put a starter in with the 2nd unit. Consequently, the 2nd unit flounders … because of poor leadership, poor knowledge of the system, no specific plays, and inharmonious skill sets.

    You know this is the case because you’ve complained about it yourself. And yet Gentry did it again in the last game, against the Clippers, which the Suns lost.

    As for the ownership responsibilities discussion, I pretty much knew you were going to ignore what I had said and go for the “buck stops here” type argument, insisting that Sarver is the responsible party.

    Well, I agree that in the final analysis, the managing partner of the ownership group is responsible for everything that happens in the company – from the removal of chewing gum under seats to ensuring there are new deodorant cakes in the urinals. But if you’re going to be practical, it’s the custodial staff that is responsible for the gum and cakes, it’s the legal advisors that go over contracts, there’s marketing, broadcasting, equipment, travel, and so many other areas that various individuals are responsible for, and finally it’s the basketball operations staff that are responsible for scouting and signing all the talent, whether it is players, coaches, or training personnel. The managing partner takes the input from the ownership group and then arbitrates and affirms the conclusions of the theoretically properly trained and specialized people under him to see that the desires of the ownership group are met: in other words, that the team is a successful and profitable business.

    That’s why I said, if you have complaints about draft and free agent decisions, the responsibility is best assigned to the people making the recommendations in those specific areas.

    Remember how touchy D’Antoni got when Kerr tried to improve the team? Imagine how the other basketball lifers in the organization respond when Sarver, the banker, questions their judgment.

    In other words, if Gentry insisted that the FO get Telfair, then if the FO doesn’t successfully push back and say “No, Telfair sucks,” then Sarver ends up having the coach and FO asking him to approve the contract for Telfair, and what’s he going to say aside from, “Really? You’re SURE you want Telfair? I hope we’re not going to be paying him much.”

    Sure, Sarver can replace anyone in the organization – the coach, the GM, whoever – but his moves have to be justifiable to the staff or he loses their trust. And when he hires, he needs to follow the recommendations of his staff and fellow owners to make sure everyone is on board with each move.

    You may think an owner is a dictator, but it rarely works like that, because the people within an organization want to have their opinions respected, and you can’t hire talent without agreeing to give it respect.

  • steve

    Possibly the most reasonable explanation yet of the true responsibilities of a managing partner. Anyone want to take bets that tony backs off? 100 to 1? 500 to 1? 10,000 to 1?

  • Scott

    @steve -

    I won’t be surprised if he says something along the lines of: “If I come across a puddle of spilled beer in the arena, I blame Sarver. He’s the person ultimately responsible for everything, and he’s the one who needs to do a better job.”

    So … each to their own. I’m not really trying to change his mind, I just offer up my own view and make it as clear as possible.

  • Zak

    To me the problem with the FO is that they’ve taken too many gambles. Turkoglu was a gamble. Warrick was a gamble. Childress was a gamble. The Dragic for Brooks trade was a gamble. Even the Richardson/Clark/Turkoglu trade for Gortat/Pietris/Carter trade was a gamble. The Suns FO needs to put the dice away and just try to make solid if unspectacular trades and acquisitions from now on.

  • Tony

    @Scott,

    Are you seriously comparing the responsibilities of removing chewing gum with hiring the team’s president, hiring the GM, and the hiring of head scout?? Come on, if you are going to resort to such ludicrous comparisons, then you are no better than Steve and his ridiculous comments without any basis. Of course certain relatively minor details are delegated out to lower level staff, but hiring a team president, a GM, a head scout, and a head coach are of the most important responsibilities an owner has.

    Let me ask you this now Scott. In your opinion, why did Sarver hire Babby and Blanks? You do realize of course, that neither had any experience in those positions in the past. Furthermore, there were other experienced candidates out there trying to find new work and yet, Sarver choose the most unqualified to work in such important positions. Why?

    @Steve,

    you are such a moron your point of view has no relevance whatsoever. Discussing topics with you is like talking to an infant. Go ahead though, throw out somemore baseless statistics……