Preview: San Antonio Spurs (48-16) at Phoenix Suns (33-32)

San Antonio Spurs 110, Phoenix Suns 106



Could this be the end of the road for Steve Nash in a Phoenix Suns jersey?

After a month of de facto playoffs in which the Suns had to continue winning to keep their postseason hopes flickering, Suns fans are left with the sobering reality that they could be saying goodbye to their lovable two-time MVP tonight when the hated Spurs come to town to close out the season.

Isn’t it fitting that if this is the end, it will come against the one team that has caused Nash more pain — literally and figuratively — than any other.

This is Duncan’s Spurs, the team that eliminated a Nash contender from the postseason five times last decade while bloodying his nose, gashing his eye and knocking him into the scorer’s table for good measure.

For a game that should have gone from meaning everything to meaningless after Utah knocked the Suns out of the playoff race last night, you can’t overlook the historical importance of potentially the end of Steve Nash’s glorious eight years in the Valley.

Along the way the Suns can clinch their seventh winning season in Nash’s eight years (with last year’s 40-42 mark the only blemish) and really certify the fact that any team with Nash can play winning basketball regardless of the other pieces.

It’s probably way too late, but if the Suns really wanted to they could tank for a game. As things stand, they enter play today tied with Houston for the best record among lottery teams. However, the 12th, 13th and 14th spots are all in play since Milwaukee could tie the Suns if Phoenix loses and the Bucks win their final two contests.

As Fear the Sword wrote, “In the event that teams finish with the same record, each tied team receives the average of the total number of combinations for the positions that they occupy. … Should the average number not be an integer, a coin flip is then used to determine which team or teams receive the extra combination(s). The result of the coin flip is also used to determine who receives the earlier pick in the event that neither of the tied teams wins one of the first three picks via the lottery.”

Brushing up on NBA Draft tiebreakers is a long way from where Suns fans were thinking yesterday, yet that is now reality. The 12th spot has a 0.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, 13th 0.6 as we learned last season and 14th 0.5, so we could be in for a dramatic coin flip if the Suns end up tied with the Rockets and/or Bucks.

I assume Grant Hill and Channing Frye will be held out tonight with nothing to play for, especially since it’s questionable whether they could have played even if the season were on the line.

That should give some extra developmental time for Markieff Morris and allow Hakim Warrick to make a case for why he should not be amnestied this summer.

But overall all eyes will be on No. 13.

Unlike Amare Stoudemire’s last game, Game 6 of the 2010 Western Conference Finals, all the focus will be on the Suns’ star point guard in this season finale. It will be interesting to see if fans implore him to stay like a college underclassman considering testing the draft.

The stakes are not what he would prefer, but if this is really it for Nash in a Suns uniform, I doubt he could think of a better way to leave than with a victory over the Spurs.

Tags: Steve Nash

  • Scott

    Warrick should not be amnestied. If anyone on the roster merits it, it would be Childress. That’s because Childress has a contract with greater dollar value and more years.

    If the Suns don’t like Hakim, this next will be his final year, and the Suns will only be out $4 million more. At this point, Warrick is still one of the few Suns who can score and get to the free throw line.

    I’m tempted to not watch this game, but since it could be Nash’s last in a Suns uniform, I suppose I will.

  • steve

    The only argument I could see for amnestying Warrick over Childress is that the Suns have nobody to fill up cap space next year. They need to pay someone.

    I’m totally in agreement that Warrich should not be amnestied. At the very least, he has trade value. He’s a very good offensive player and a TERRIBLY bad defensive player. Despite his defense, there must be a couple of team willing to bite.

  • Tony

    Hahahaha! Warrick has trade value Steve?? Give me a break. Maybe if the team trading for him has Sarver, Babby, and Blanks running the organization!! Wow, you are so dumb!

  • Grover

    Let’s put this in reverse… If you were another team, what would you offer for Warrick and his contract? I wouldnt give anything. I’d make you give me something on exchange for taking his contract, like maybe give me a second rounder and I’ll take Warrick off your hands.

    I think I would amnesty Childress as well. If There weren’t good enough FAs to fill the cap space available, I’d delay the amnesty a year. Doesn’t do any good to amnesty anyone unless you use that to acquire additional talent (in other words, if I’m paying him, I may as well make him earn it). At a lower price I actually like Childress, but his contract is awful.

  • steve

    @Grover – Warrick makes $4M per. That’s not a big NBA contract. You can’t get away with paying anyone that type of money except rookies, especially someone as skilled offensively as Warrick is. Guys who can score 15-20 on a consistent basis usually aren’t cheap.

    What would I offer? A late first rounder or early second rounder maybe.

  • grover

    I hope you’re right. I’d be happy if they just got out of Warricks commitment. Getting even an insulated drink holder back would seem like a bonus to me.

  • PennyAnd1

    What good is offense, when you’re to give up more points on defense?

    Suns need to focus on getting JJ Hardy or Eric Gordon

  • PennyAnd1

    who stays: Nash, Hill, Redd, Dudley, Gortat, Telfair, Morris

    who needs to go: Brown, Warrick, Price,

    question mark: Robin Lopez (I want him back, but will likely to go), Frye (defense is getting better, but I wouldn’t mind trading him)

    who they should get: Eric Gordon, JJ Hardy, Manu Ginobili, Ray Allen, Greg Oden?, Kevin Love? Z-Bo?

    what about you guys?

  • Fan in Chi Town

    The type of players I would like the suns to sign entirely depends on if nash re-signs. If he does re-sign, I think we should pick up either Jason terry or ray allen and either Z-Bo if he’s available or try to get aldridge and ginobili if they’re available. If he doesn’t re-sign I would like them to go after dragic or try to get harden, keep markieff and dudley and trade gortat for a pick or aldridge and hope that they draft well over the next couple of years. If they can’t trade gortat they can try to have him train with an MMA

  • Fan in Chi Town

    ….train with an MMA fighter so he could get tougher. I’m only half joking…

  • steve

    Scratch that. warrick is pretty much worthless after those two missed dunks.

  • Mel.

    “Scratch that. warrick is pretty much worthless after those two missed dunks.”

    One of which could have changed the result of the game. Ouch, man. Just… ouch.

  • Grover

    I always hate the end of a season, but knowing tonight may have been the end of an era in Phoenix was difficult to watch.

    Hats off to the fans at the game, almost all of whom stayed to the end to (potentially) show Nash off right. You could tell the “We want Steve” chants made an impact on him. What I liked more was the teammates on the bench pumping their fists to join the crowd. I wish Hill could have played tonight as well just to get a piece of the crowd’s appreciation. No matter what your opinion is of Suns management or what direction the team should take for next year, these two are class acts that deserve a good send off if that was their last game as Suns players.

    The larger part of me wishes the Suns won last night so we could have a few playoff games, but in a way this worked out better. A meaningless game like tonight gave the crowd more opportunity to show Nash their appreciation. The Suns would almost certainly have been out in the first round anyway, but the last playoff game wouldn’t have been as loose, Gentry wouldn’t have been able to work substitutions for the pure purpose of giving Nash one last standing ovation, or worse yet the final game could have been in San Antonio. Losing at Utah was for the best…

  • Scott

    @Penny -

    And what good is defense (Childress) if it doesn’t score? You can’t win by not scoring.

    So far as I know, you can only amnesty 1 player, and the contract holding the Suns back the most is Childress’s. Warrick’s will be gone in a year.

    @Grover -

    Warrick would fit a trade in some circumstances because he has a low value contract, he’s a veteran, he’s good in the locker room, and he’s an expiring contract. If a team is looking to fill out its bench with cheap vets, Warrick could be a consideration.

    As for the end of an era … we now get to see what Lance Blanks can build. I’m more worried than I would normally be, as he’s the man who orchestrated the Dragic+MarShon for A. Brooks trade, but we’ll see.

  • grover

    Unfortunately Warrick is not an expiring contract. We are the proud owners of his services for two more years at about $4.5-5.0 mill per year. That’s about $1 mill per rebound or defensive stop.

  • Louis Gonzales

    Even though I’m a Spurs fan, I was rooting for Phoenix throughout this entire game. Nash is truly a class act and the Phoenix Suns fans are just amazing!

  • PennyAnd1

    I agree with you. I would do away with Childress just because of the amount of money he’s getting, just for sitting on the bench most of the time. But then I would definite get rid of players that just gets in the way, players like Brown & Warrick for someone above those two.

    I hope Nash stays in Phoenix. What’s important, I hope front office listens to reason and not go full tank on the Suns cause that would start a new era of losing and trying to find an identity.

  • goo

    first of all i got to get something off my chest…i’ve been a lurker on this site for quiet a while now and it is mind boggling how whiny some of you are.

    no doubt that everything went downhill since sarver took over but that is no reason for constantly bashing the team or the coach.

    i’m really sick and tired of this crap.
    if you’re a fan you might not like the management but you’re rooting for your team.

    and when it comes to “letting go warrick or childress” i would definitely vote for childress because his contract is a joke.
    after that there should be enough money available so they can go for harden,love or ibaka.

  • Scott

    @grover -

    You may be wrong about Warrick’s contract. My understanding is that it has 2 years remaining, but that 2nd year is team option, which they can decline.

  • Grover

    Hoopshype has him as firm for two more years while Hoopsworld shows the second year as a team option. For all our sakes, I hope it is correct the 2nd year is not firm. If he is an expiring contract, that clearly slants that amnesty argument to Childress and Warrick could have some modest trade value.

  • Michael Schwartz

    Sorry I’m late to this party, but I can confirm that the second year is a team option. Warrick is only on the books for the following season at $4 million.