San Antonio Spurs 110, Phoenix Suns 106 — A sweet farewell?


PHOENIX — The chants sprung up organically with about five and a half minutes left in a season and possibly a legendary Suns career, slowly building to a crescendo that resonated throughout US Airways Center.

“We want Steve, we want Steve, we want Steve!”

Fans leapt to their feet and even teammates Marcin Gortat and Shannon Brown pleaded for one last appearance from the Suns’ leader.

The cheers only ceased for a pair of timeouts until finally Alvin Gentry had no choice but to oblige and send in the Suns’ two-time MVP for one final ovation from a fan base that loves him so.

So Nash ripped off his warmups as for one last time “Number 13, Steeeeeeeve Nash” was introduced to an adoring Suns crowd before he promptly turned the ball over and exited to a series of hugs on the bench with a buzz still engulfing the arena.

If this was really it, what a moment it was.

“It was obviously amazing to get that type of reception and support,” Nash said, fighting back tears. “It’s very special because it’s not something that I asked for or imagined to get that type of spontaneous reaction.

“It’s authentic, the relationship that I thought we had, so it’s great. It really feels special and the fans have been phenomenal. It meant a lot to me to play in a city like this for as long as I have and to feel important to the fans and the community, and I just feel like a very lucky guy.”

Added Jared Dudley, “I haven’t been a part of anything like that. It just shows you the respect they have for him. He’s had a hell of a career. He’s probably one of the most unselfish basketball players I’ve ever played with. He makes everyone better, but it just shows you all the hard work he’s put in here and that the fans here in Phoenix definitely appreciate it.”

Dudley’s not alone. Spontaneous fan outbursts like that come along all too seldom, especially in this city.

In a world of contrived cheers, T-shirt cannons and pumped in music, this was special. It just felt different, as if the fans could sense that this eight-year relationship was really coming to an end.

As Nash said later, he hasn’t really had a chance to ponder whether this was it and what it means because only 24 hours earlier the Suns “were playing for our lives.”

The loss in Utah was supposed to render this game meaningless — especially with Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Popovich all away from the team tonight — yet this game was anything but that.

That feeling started early as Nash received a generous ovation when he was introduced.

Then in the third quarter he raised the Suns’ intensity level a notch and seemed to be giving this franchise one final dose of Steve Nash excellence as he scored eight points on 4-for-5 shooting and dished three assists while running the pick and roll to perfection as always.

“First, I must admit that I’m not the most sentimental person in the world,” Nash said. “It’s something I shy away from more than try to soak it up and get emotional and all that stuff. To be honest, I really didn’t get a chance to think about it. If this were to be my last game, it would be a night I’ll remember. It’ll be an important night for me.”

Nash went on to provide more ambivalence as he answered what Phoenix needs to add to become more competitive (another playmaker, either a big or a small, or someone who can get you 20 a night) and what he will look for in his free agent destination (winning and a good environment).

We all know it’s dubious whether the Suns can give him the former but tonight proved beyond a reasonable doubt they already do offer the latter.

Perhaps the outpouring of love from the Suns faithful will serve as the recruiting pitch Nash needed to see how much everyone really cares about him, but really it felt like a going away party.

Nash has not said any such thing and management still wants Nash for as long as he wants to be here, but even a night after a crushing season-ending defeat, the fans just knew. This just felt like the end of one of the best eras in Suns basketball.

There will be plenty of time to delve into whether it’s prudent to build around a soon-to-be 39-year-old point guard and all that entails, but no matter where you fall on the Nash question you couldn’t help but get caught up in the emotion of the evening if you call yourself a Suns fan.

This is Steve Nash, the two-time MVP from Canada who led the some of the best offenses in NBA history and guided the Suns to the precipice of a championship. This is the superstar who rather than holding his franchise hostage or bolting to greener pastures in the middle of the night stayed the course and led a crew of role players to a .500 record.

Steve Nash defines what this franchise has always been about with his free-wheeling unselfish style, shooting prowess and, alas, lack of defense.

It may have been an impromptu party, but it felt like a going away party for the face of Phoenix Suns basketball for the past eight years.

And although perhaps it’s fitting, this time Nash’s night couldn’t be ruined by a Spurs victory.

And 1

  • Before the game Sebastian Telfair won the Dan Majerle Hustle Award for his gritty play this season, an honor that I feel is well-deserved. Said Bassy, “That means a lot, the Dan Majerle Hustle Award, which is really cool for me because as a point guard you want to be the guy that sets the example of how to play hard, go out and be competitive every night, and that’s what that trophy symbolizes.”
  • I was so swept up in the moment that I hardly noticed the Spurs went on a 13-0 to take control of a game they trailed by six as the Nash chants emanated. Said Gentry of the Spurs’ 110-106 victory in which the bench played heavy minutes and finished the contest, “I wanted to see if we could win a game with Sebastian and those other guys in. that’s why I left those guys in. It was a game where they could get a lot of playing time and a lot of experience so I thought that was most important.”
  • The Suns finished with at least a .500 record for the seventh time in Nash’s eight seasons. … The Suns were 12-5 at home after the break. … Nash tied a career high by shooting 53.2 percent, the highest by a point guard since Tony Parker in 2005-06. … Nash led the league with 41 double-digit assist games. … Marcin Gortat became the eighth player in franchise history to average double-figure boards. He also joined Shawn Marion as the only players in franchise history to average a 15-10 with 1.5 blocks. … Telfair scored 20 on 8-for-13 shooting, the second time he’s done that in 12 days against the Spurs. He had not previously scored 20 twice in a season since 2008-09.

Tags: Steve Nash

  • shazam

    hey….why no comments?…it could have been 2 times last game

  • bob brogger

    I think the Suns should go all out to keep Nash. Why would you choose to lose one of the greatest point guards in history? He’s the type of guy who will probably get in his best shape ever for next year and I’ll bet be a candidate for MVP. The Suns will rue the day if they let him go because he will come back and just carve them up and the Suns will wonder -what the heck did we do? He very well could be the first 40-year-old MVP. A normal schedule will make a huge difference next year.

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

    @bob brogger-

    #NO #REBUILD #CLEANSEPHOENIX

  • GoSuns

    @rich no offense but screw that #keepnashinphx, #lethimretireinthevalley

  • Mike Meez

    I would love to keep Nash in a Suns uniform to finish out his career. As far as the franchise is concerned, I don’t necessarily think it’s worth completely bottoming out. It’s pretty rare that you have a can’t miss prospect, and even some of the can’t miss guys turn out to be busts with little way of knowing that ahead of time. Just look at the 96 draft. Lorenzen Wright, Kerry Kittles, Samaki Walker, Erik Dampier, Todd Fuller, and Vitaly Potapenko were all taken before Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

    Yes, it’d be nice for the Suns to someday have a the 1st pick in a draft with a Shaq or Tim Duncan franchise type player. But I don’t think it’s worth being a terrible franchise for multiple seasons for that to happen.

    But all that’s besides the point. Steve Nash said he wants to play on a competitive team. Unless the Suns front office gets really creative, Suns probably aren’t going to be competitive next year. There’s just not that many good free agents available this offseason (aside from Nash and D-Will). So I wouldn’t blame Nash for leaving an that’s what I expect him to do. I’m just glad our fans sent him off on a good note.

  • grover

    That was one of the most emotional games I’ve been to. You could tell even from the ESPN guys interview that even outside Phoenix, people understand how important Nash has been to the team and to the NBA (you have to remember how boring the NBA had become before SSOL was unleashed in Phoenix… Now a bunch of teams have opened things up).

    I’m almbivilant to the Nash stay or go argument. I agree the Suns need to rebuild and set themselves up for the future, and if they can find a young point guard to build around Nash would need to go. Frankly I don’t see many of those available, so I see it more likely the Suns will look for young players at other positions to build around. If that’s the case, Nash with a two year contract doesnt impede their ability to rebuild. If they have to sign a point guard and the point guard of the future isn’t available, why not make it the one who means so much to the city?

    I’ll stick with my early assessment – 60% chance Nash is back in Phoenix, 40% chance he goes elsewhere. If he goes elsewhere, I find it more likely it was because he found it more desirable and not because the Suns found a Pg to build around.

  • Tim in BC

    It was an emotional game as it was tough to think this could be Steve Nash’s last game with the Suns but maybe not? I wish Alvin Gentry would have played him for the last three minutes and Steve could have got the winning basket or set it up with one of his patented great passes (to beat their nemiss the Spurs would have been nice way to go out) I hope that he stays with the Suns and that they make a concerted effort to land a young promising point guard (Dragic, Gordon?) and then Steve can play reduced minutes but help with the transition and even become a playing assistant coach if that could be done. Also, the Suns need a go to scorer who can be counted on to get 20 or more points per night. I hope they keep Telfair because he works hard and has proven to be a good back up after a slow start (not sure how he would fit in with Steve and Dragic) I also hope they keep Brown because he has been solid the last half of the season. Gortat should stay but be back up to that great power forward the Suns are going to sign! (keep Dudley, Fry, Childress) I really like how Michael Redd has fit in the team and come through with some big games (a nice addition and good team player)

  • steve

    @Mike Meez – Kerry Kittles!!! Ha, good stuff. I completely forgot about him. What happened to him, btw? He was actually pretty decent (never great, but certainly above average), and he had a big payday on his second contract, but he just disappeared. I haven’t heard that name in over five years.

    @grover – I don’t really care which way the Suns go with the Nash thing either. To me, it seems like a win-win and a lose-lose at the same time.

    Nash Stays:
    win- the Suns keep the franchise’s best player in history.
    lose- the Suns maintain a commitment to playing a brand of basketball that doesn’t seem to be able to produce wins in the toughest of situations.

    Nash Leaves:
    win- the Suns are able to rebuild and potentially break away from the “offense first, defense if we must” mentality they’ve had during Nash’s tenure
    lose- the Suns will be perceived poorly by virtually everyone outside of Phoenix (and even in Phoenix) for letting their franchise savior go.

    Two years ago (and even before then), I believed the Suns should have gone a different direction. At this point, I think the cons of not re-signing Steve outweigh the cons of re-signing him. I’m not of the opinion that the Suns need to find their PG of the future because I believe that the PG position is practically irrelevant when it comes to winning big games. Chris Paul is the only PG in the NBA I can think of who effectively dominates fourth quarters by distributing AND scoring, and as far as I know, the Suns aren’t getting Chris Paul any time soon. I don’t care if we have a great PG. I want to be great at the other four positions.

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

    A lot of you are confusing rebuilding with bottoming out and being a lottery team for a decade. That is not the case.

    The Suns simply can’t afford to re-sign Nash and then do the same thing over again. It’s kind of ironic, actually.

    A lot of you want to keep Nash on the roster, and most of you who do are the same ones who don’t want the team to bottom out and be a team that isn’t in the playoffs.

    Guess what, boys and girls? Either scenario produces the same result.

    The difference is, with Nash in the valley, the Suns have no chance to contend in the future.

    With Nash on another team, the Suns can move in another direction and build accordingly with a path to contention on the map.

    So really, what are you guys talking about? You actually want to be a bad team for 2 or 3 more years BEFORE the rebuild finally starts?

    Listen, if the free agency market was such that we could bring in a Bosh and a Harden easily without having to give up anything and also have an Allen come on board then hey! Outstanding!

    That simply is not the case.

    Let Nash go. The talent on the free agent market combined with the system Phoenix would need to run with Nash in house just doesn’t mix.

    You guys constantly talk about how keeping Nash gives the team a chance if the front office brings in free agents. Well, they did that remember? All of you bashed them for it.

    Well if Nash remains, they will have no choice but to overpay free agents and hope that Gentry can make it work. Why do you guys want to re-live the same scenario that makes you bash our front office presently?

    #CLEANSEPHOENIX – It is the only way.

    Let Nash go. Test the market for EVERYBODY ELSE, try like hell to get draft picks and / or talented youth for our proven role players and construct a team that will be attractive enough to lure big names to the valley once the next major FA frenzy comes along.

  • Tim in BC

    I would hate to see the team bottom out if Steve Nash leaves. I was hoping there would be enough cap space to sign a couple of good free agents even if they keep paying Steve’s salary. That is the problem with him being a free agent because if he leaves the Sun get nothing and then start from scratch. Unless they find a promising talented point guard to take his place but not replace him as Steve can never be replaced. The draft is the way to go but I guess their lottery pick won’t be good enough to be a starter. Look how the Thunder and Grizzlies have built through the draft.

  • steve

    One notion that I’m always super confused by is the idea that teams “get nothing in return” when their players leave in free agency. The idea that there is no return on investment just doesn’t make any sense unless that player’s time with the team is considered to be completely worthless.

    The Suns got PLENTY in return for paying Steve Nash a bunch of money to be here. Even if he leaves and does not net the Suns a different player to fill his shoes, that doesn’t mean the Suns “got nothing” for Steve Nash’s services.

    I understand the idea that teams might desire to trade players before free agency to try to lock down other, quality players in return, but trades, in concept, are supposed to be a net neutral. If you trade something in return for something else, you’re GIVING in order to receive. So, you’re losing something to gain something. Is it possible that the Suns thought that having Nash in the Valley this entire season was actually worth MORE than having a different player? And is that really so insane to think?

    So, I understand where people are coming from when they’re saying they want something in return… but you ARE getting something in return. There are risks and rewards either way when you’re talking about free agency. Allowing the player to hit the open market has risks and rewards. Trading the player before he hits the open market has risks and rewards. The Suns FO deemed that it was more worthwhile to hang on to Amare, and it netted them a WCF appearance. The Suns FO deemed that it was more worthwhile to hang on to Nash until the end of the season, and it kept butts in the seats in what was otherwise a completely unremarkable season.

    Am I speaking crazy, or do you guys see the risk/reward thing I’m talking about? In this case, I think the Suns definitely made the right call on not trading Steve Nash. What good would it really have done them to trade away the last three months of the expiring contract of a 38-year-old, and would it have been worth betraying a good portion of the fanbase that is loyal to Steve Nash?

  • grover

    Be very careful about banking on the draft as a teams savior. Take a look at Charlotte… Maybe the worst season ever, and guess what? 75% chance somebody else gets the first overall pick anyway. Randomly select a year and draft position in the top 10 or even top five and then go look at the last decades worth of drafts to see who you would get. You’d be surprised how many lottery picks turn out to be ok, but not franchise building players.

    The draft is an important tool for rebuilding mostly because it is a supply of cheap labor. The majority of lottery picks do not become franchise players within their first 5 years in the league, but many become cost effective support that allow a team the financial ability to sign or keep superstars. Yes, you do sometimes get lucky and land superstars… Counting on luck isn’t sufficient on its own.

    Free agents are the fastest way to rebuild a team, but the most expensive. The draft is the cheapest way to rebuild a team, but it takes too much luck and a LONG time (you only get one pick per year and have to string together multiple good picks in a row to make a difference). If you want to rebuild with more certainty, you have to do both. Sign free agents plus supplement it with cheap players supplied through the draft.

    With that as the backdrop, pretend Nash had never been a Sun, but otherwise we were sitting on the same roster. Would he be the ideal FA to bring in as your point guard? No, because he’s old enough he could only make your team better for a couple years. Could Nash be a stop gap point guard that makes your team competitive for two years while you develop a young point guard or wait for a younger FA in 1-2 years? Yes. Would tanking for two years be better – grab a couple more high draft picks? My opinion is no. Very few teams have ever rebuilt exclusively through the draft and guaranteeing yourselves a couple years of complete crap teams creates a losing environment that no good player, coach, trainer, or assistant coach would want to join. I do not want to be the next Clippers or Bobcats.

  • Elviro (Italy)

    is … frustrating to say!
    I do not want to be ungenerous!
    For me, Nash was a great player who entered the history of the Suns!
    But the team needs to be rebuilt and for me, this reconstruction, thing were starting already this season!
    Referring also painful choices like that Nash exchange during the season to get something good for the future …. would be a sacrifice necessary and useful to obtain as soon as a winning team and not full of subs …
    I do not know if Nash can stay with a contract inexpensive …. in this case could be an opportunity … but it should not prevent you from taking at least two important players for the team …
    But if this is not possible to believe that the sacrifice of this great basketball star nba is inevitable and necessary for the good of our team!
    Thanks for everything Nash!

  • Tim in BC

    Those are good points Grover so the Suns could try and get quality free agents (to replace their bad trades and loss of good player like Dragic, etc) and maybe a draft pick to develop in the future. I just think that teams need good veteran players even if near end of their careers to help and encourage younger inexperienced players. What about the Thunder though, didn’t they get Durrant and Westbrook through the draft? I know Bobcats not a good role model for draft although Clippers are doing okay with Griffin (with others they have signed as free agents and trades)

  • Tim in BC

    I meant to say Durant and Westbrook drafted by Seattle now OKC…

  • Grover

    OkC is about the only example of rebuilding through the draft you can find, and even they go lucky. What if OKC had gotten the first pack instead o the second? They would have picked Oden and been nowhere near as good. Westbrook and Ibaka were both draft picks as well, but if you look at multiple years of drafts at the same position in the draft, both those guys are unusually good. I don’t recall which hoops research site it is that analyzed a long history of draft picks, but my recollection is about 25% of lottery picks become stars (appoligize if in off but I’m on my phone and don’t have time to look it up). OKC happens to have made very good picks and had picks in the right years.

    Clippers – floundered in the lottery for years. Same with TWolves. The Clippers only became good when they added a veteran pg who happens to be in the top 5-10 players in the league. They are also the poster child of the losing culture that could result from tanking for a couple years.

    You can rebuild in the draft, but it takes many years and requires some luck as well. I’d rather keep fighting, try to build a culture of winning, and use the draft to find cheap players but not count on it as our salvation.

  • KeZ

    If Nashty leaves, why not let Bassy be the starting PG? Unless we get Dwill or Dragon…..

    That kid got heart and doesn´t back down from anyone!

  • Tim in BC

    Maybe the Suns need more astute and insightful GM who will make decent trades and free agent picks (and not make bone head trades so good players are lost) I really like Bassy and maybe he could get better to be starter but if not, I sure would like him to stay as back up…he does have heart and works his butt off!

  • Ty

    As much as I would hate to see Nash go, it’s probably best for him and the Suns. I would not be surprised to see Orlando make a strong bid for Nash. Nash feeding the ball to D. Howard? It could be a winning combo. Nash is already very familiar with J. Richardson and, to a degree, Turkoglu who Steve might mesh better with since he’s playing his natural SF position in Orlando and not being forced into trying to be a PF.

    If Nash does go, I hope that the Suns make a strong offer to Dragic. He’s shown what he can do playing with the first unit and I think he should be the #1 FA target of the Suns IF Nash leaves.

    And next season the Suns are on the hook for only a little over $30 mil in team salary. That gives them at least $28 mil to play with or $32-34 mil if they choose to amnesty Warrick or Childress. Frankly, I think Warrick is the best amnesty choice even though Childress has a higher salary. My decicion on this is because the Suns basically have 3 backup PFs on the under contract on the roster next year (Frye, Morris & Warrick) and would be better off letting one of them go and looking to the FA market or some sort of trade for at least a short term addition at PF. Carl Landry and Kris Humphries are both on the FA market this year as are Kevin Garnett and Antwan Jamison which could both be nice short term additions. I would even prefer bringing back Louis Amundson (also a FA this year) to keeping Warrick at the end of the bench.

    At SG, I think a lot of people want to take a run at getting Eric Gordon. I doubt NO will fail to match any offer made to him so I doubt that is even a possibility for the Suns. I’d like to see them make a play for OJ Mayo though. I think he has a lot of potential and I also doubt that Memphis will try to match a big enough offer to keep him as a backup. Maybe but I like him and think he’s the best shot at a restricted FA that the Suns have.

    At SF, I’d like to see the Suns make an offer to Gerald Wallace if he decides to use his player option and become a free agent at the end of this season. If D-Will leaves the Nets, I doubt Wallace will want to stay either. I like his game and think he would be a good addition to the Suns.

    At center… Gortat. No one will ever call him “Superman” but he’s a damn fine center. He’ll never be the “go to” guy but I’m very happy with a center that averages 15 ppg, 10 rpg, plays his heart out every night AND isn’t injury prone.

    Yeah there aren’t any “star” FA players that Phoenix has a chance to bring on board next year but there are a LOT of quality players that they could bring on board that could improve the team enough the attract the attention of star players in the future and give the Suns more than a fighting chance to make a run at and in the playoffs next year.

    Of course the front office could just screw everything up – again – and turn Phoenix into an “also ran” for many years to come. I hope they are better than that. I truly hope so because the Suns could turn into a very good team again next year with a few good decisions in the front office… or a very bad team with a few bad decisions there.

  • Mel.

    The great irony is that the front office and it’s parade of inane moves has been directly informed by trying to keep the Nash model alive. When STAT ditched out, they went on a spending spree for floor-spacing gunners and “Amar’e Lite”-style players, in an effort to maintain what HAD been a working system; even the godawful Hedo move was motivated in the hopes of turning a stick-and-gun player into a serviceable PF, and then–when that completely failed–a guy who could at least hold the court down while Steve was on the bench.

    So, I really don’t know. The Gortat acquisition was the one post-STAT move/signing that actually worked out, in terms of that approach. The P-n’-R still hasn’t snapped like it did when Amar’e was in the Valley, but it got to a point where it allowed the team to play over the head of its collective talent… thanks to Nash.

    So, without Two-Time, what’s the emphasis? Post play through Marcin and outside shooting, a’la Orlando? If Nash re-signs, do we go back to a bunch of swapmeet-blanket SGs and a hoss at PF, a’la Batum?

    With those being the options, I find myself leaning into the “Free Nash” camp for the first time ever. The romantic in me wants him to retire in the purple and orange, but the practical sumgun knows that’s likely to put us in a rut of repeating the last two seasons for the duration of his contract. I don’t know what PHX looks like without Nash as our figurehead, but I’m equally wary of what the dopes in administration will do if he stays.

  • Ty

    Unless you want to get rid of Gentry and get a new head coach with a different philosophy, you bring in the best players you can to fit into the present system. That might actually be the best thing to do but I doubt the front office has enough balls to make such a drastic move.

    If they go all out to keep Nash, they will have to bring in better quality players at almost every position. Gortat is the only player that I think is safe… but only barely. If trading Gortat could bring a real star player to the Suns – and I’m sure that trade could only be a multi-player trade – then the Suns could do it.

    On the plus side of the argument to keep Steve, he turns good players into great players when they are on the court with him. He also turns mediocre players into very good players which in some ways has been a problem for the Suns. Nash makes borderline NBA/D-League players look good. But they only look “good” because they play with SN.

    But on the minus side, keeping Nash just makes the team look better than it really is because Nash just tends to make everyone around him look better because he’s such a great point guard.

    As much as it hurts me to say it, I think the Suns future is better without Steve Nash.

  • Mel.

    The thing is, I think Gentry’s got the player’s ears… especially keystones like Frye and Dudley, the latter of whom I’m seriously hoping sticks around. So if Nash does take his legacy and ride off to another franchise, then there’s a precedent for Alvin being the right guy for the job of fashioning a new direction for the team.

    However–and I absolutely hate to say this, since I love the guy–I don’t know if his X’s and O’s are up to it. He’s like the Rajon Rondo or Monta Ellis of the NBA coaching culture: when he’s hitting, he makes it look absolutely effortless, and elevates the rest of the franchise to remarkable levels… but you’re never sure where that brilliance comes from. Is it all because of Nash? Is it due to finding workable rotations? Are the off-times a result of the “revolving-door” approach to personnel?

  • grover

    This reminds me a bit of a quote from years ago as Kareem was retiring from the Lakers. Riley supposedly looked at Magic and said “I guess I’ll finally get to see if you know how to play”‘ to which Magic replied “And I’ll finally get to see if you know how to coach.”

    We may get to see how Gentry can coach without Nash and Hill to lean on.

    Schwartz – interested in your thoughts here. You’ve been around the players and locker room to get more of an insiders view on how much direction the players were taking from Nash and Hill versus from Gentry.

  • steve

    ^^^^

    If that exchange actually happened, that would have had to be one of the most awesome moments in NBA history. I can’t stand the Lakers one bit, but Magic Johnson gets my vote for sGOAT (second GOAT).

  • Tony

    @Rich,

    If Nash resigns with the Suns, the team has no chance to contend in the future???? Where do you get this nonsense from? Why would Nash resigning with the Suns prevent them from contending in the future? You act as if draft picks equal success. Name the last team to win a championship primarily by using the draft. Even though the Thunder appear to be on the precipice of doing so, at this point, they still haven’t won anything. Yes, you need good draft picks when you’re a team such as the Suns, but only because we have an incompetent owner who’s also unwilling to spend big dollars to bring in the best talent. Furthermore, Sarver’s reputation is in the toilet and so, elite players are unwilling to sign with the Suns because they know he’s not interested in winning a championship. His only interest is in maintaining as cheap a payroll as possible while keeping the Suns just competitive enough to possibly make it to the playoffs if they get lucky. The way franchises’ build contenders is partly through the draft, but it’s predominetly via free agent signings and/or trades.

    Then you claim that Sarver has brought free agents to the Suns to placate Nash??!! Has there ever been a more ludicrous statement? I suppose Nash wanted Amare replaced with Childress, Warrick, and Hedo right? Also, I guess Nash would prefer running p&r with Gortat rather than Amare too huh? Or he rather have Dudley running fast breaks with him instead of JJ or even J-Rich.

    I know you like to bash Nash, but if you are going to do so, at least make accurate points. Because claiming that the Suns cannot contend in the future so long as Nash remains a Sun in conjunction with claiming that the Suns incompetent and horrendously run front-office led by Stooge #1 Sarver, has built a roster tailored to Nash is just plain ignorant. I mean come on!

  • Rich Anthony, (KJL)

    @Tony – reading comprehension. I’m begging you. Let’s recap.

    1) I never bash Nash, but I recognize what he is / isn’t.
    2) Of course Sarver and crew made those post-Amare moves for Nash. They were trying to keep the SSOL model alive. All the moves were made to try to keep the Nash-driven System alive.

    Shut up about STAT already. He DID NOT WANT TO BE IN THE VALLEY. He wanted to be the guy and he wanted to be in a major market.

    J-Rich had to go to make a deal work. A deal that was made to try and balance out Nash’s offense via deal that was horrible!

    Warrick was supposed to be Amare. Chily was supposed to be Matrix. These were the “best options available” for a NASH System! You know its true.. You just like to troll.

    And its not insane. Nash in PHX means there would be no championship future. The players needed… The GREAT players needed are unavailable.
    They’re in Miami and under contract. One is in ORL. A couple in LA. A couple in NY. All under contract and a few who either hate or left PHX.

    Instead, you go for a point guard which Gentry can be more flexible with on both ends of the court. He proved that he can make a roster of multi-ddimensional players work.

    You Silver-Spoon fans.. Nash era as a contender is DONE in PHX. The players needed aren’t available. You draft / sign properly, build your core, and get the stars when they’re available.

    OKC – whatever. SSOL was built in the same way. Memphis was built by GIVING UP a STUD and getting youth then filling roster with talent. LAC is doing it now. NY was doing it.. Signed STAT then messed it up with Melo.

    It has to be done. Nash can win championships, but not in the valley.

  • steve

    Couldn’t agree more, Rich.

    I think it’s obvious that Phoenix will struggle without Nash initially. They have a team built of guys who were supposed to thrive because of Nash. Take Nash away, and I don’t think they’re going to know what to do. But, as the Suns separate themselves from Nash’s style of play, I think it’s going to open up the door for much more creative roster management, and possibly a coach who will decide that Phoenix will be an elite defensive team under his leadership.

  • grover

    I would think Nash allows for more creative rosters as he is more capable than most PGs of turning average players into contributors. One place I would agree is that due to his defensive “style” (I’m using that to be as polite as possible), the Suns did have to be wary about SGs who were too small and centers that could not defend the pick and roll (that means you, O’Neal!). That same thing, however, could be said about Curry who most Suns fans would have creamed their shorts over if he had been Nash’s replacement… Probably a few other point guards as well.

    I would never be so stupid as to say I hope the Suns don’t get better on defense, but I hope they don’t go too far. The Suns have a long history of being a fun to watch, high scoring team, and that goes back to well before Nash. It’s such a part of their identity and a source of pride for the fan base that I doubt they will try to pin their reputation purely on defense like Detroit did a few years ago.

  • Tony

    Rich, Rich, Rich! I don’t know who is more dense, you or Steve?!

    Firstly, when Gentry took over for D’Antoni, SSOL pretty much left with him. While Gentry utilizes a version of it, the system he uses is more traditional and a little slower.

    Let me explain the type of players ideally suited to play with Nash and see if they resemble either Childress, Hedo, or Warrick….
    Obviously, for a pf, Nash needs a very athletic player who has good hands, can shoot the midrange shot, and yet, is also skilled enough that he can create a bit for himself. Ala Amare! Now, I agree that in Sarver’s ignorant mind, he probably saw Warrick as a poor man’s Amare. However, had he paid more attention, he would have realized that Amare is bigger, stronger, and has a more consistent mid-range shot. Furthermore, he would have recognized that while Amare is not a basketball genius, Warrick is by far in the top 5 dumbest players in the league. Finally, the very fact that Warrick wasn’t even in Memphis’s rotation should have been an indication that he probably wouldn’t be even an “Amare-lite” player.
    For the wings, Nash needs a very athletic player who can also shoot. While Childress satisfies the former, the guy cannot shoot! What made Marion so much better was that he was at least somewhat a threat to shoot and had some ability to take his defender off the dribble. Lastly, that brings me to Hedo. Had Sarver paid the slighest bit of attention to how Hedo played in Toronto, he would have seen that he was a terrible fit playing with Nash. Hedo had the same problem he had in Toronto playing with Calderon in that unless he has the ball in his hands, he’s ineffective. Thus, the very same problem occurred with Nash. Both guys excel only when they have the ball in their hands.

    Now, you can make a slight comparison between Hedo, Childress, and Warrick to Amare, Marion, and Diaw, but only because each of those three had one aspect similar to Amare, Marion, and Diaw, but that’s it. With Warrick it was his ability to p&r, with Childress it was his length and rebounding, and with Hedo it was as a playmaker. Yet Amare, Marion, and Diaw were all so much better in every other facet of the game and so, just because they may have shared one similar attribute, that hardly means they were ideally suited to play with Nash. By your logic, any player that shares at least one similarity with a player ideally suited to playing with Nash therefore must in fact be ideally suited. That ignores the other aspects and abilities of players like Amare, Marion, and Diaw.

    Next, unless you have some insider knowledge, you have no idea whether or not Amare wanted to stay with the Suns. It is a completely speculative claim and one without any basis to it. If Sarver offered him the same deal as the Knicks had and if Amare still chose to sign with the Knicks, only then could you properly make the argument he didn’t want to stay a Sun.
    As I’m sure you realize, the NBA is a business and Amare probably figured, considering his age, that this would be the last max contract he would get. So, he decided to take the higher offer, which was the Knicks offer. Just because he did decide to take the higher offer does not mean he didn’t want to stay. Just as I’m sure Nash would prefer to stay a Sun if he had some teammates with even decent talent. The fact that he may leave does not mean he would make the same decision if Sarver was able to sign Gordon and/or Batum or otherwise be able to bring in some talent.

    Funny how with each team you brought up, with the exception of the Thunder, you left off the fact that their best players were all signed via free agency! With the CLipps, it was Paul, with the Grizz, it was Randolph, and the Knicks it was Amare and Felton. As I said previously, the Thunder may be the first team in I don’t know how many years, in which they truly built a championship team almost exclusively through the draft. But, at this point, they still haven’t done anything and I highly doubt they make it past the Spurs or the Lakers.

    Lastly, what support do you have to offer that shows we should have any faith in the Suns FO to make the appropriate decisions in rebuilding? You do realize that the Suns have gone 3 out of the last 4 years without making the playoffs right? This is the same FO that traded Dragic and a 1st round pick for Chris Rock’s twin. What evidence is there to show Sarver, Babby, and Blanks have any idea how to build a contender? And please don’t make the Sarver-enablers’ ludicrous response that the team made it to the WCFs under Sarver’s ownership and imply that he had any influence on them getting there. Because, as any person with the slighest bit of intelligence will understand that Sarver inherited the roster of Amare, JJ, Marion, from JC. Colangelo also recruited Nash to play with the Suns, not Sarver. In fact, he negotiated his contract with the Suns.

    In sum, I would recommend you do some remedial research instead of throwing out speculative and baseless claims.

  • steve

    Teams that have built winners as a direct result of the draft, just since that happens to be the topic of conversation (and of course these teams have free agents as well)

    Spurs – Robinson, Duncan
    Lakers – magic, kobe
    Bulls – Jordan, pippen
    Dallas – dirk
    Miami – wade
    Celtics – bird, pierce
    Rockets – the dream

    That covers virtually every championship over the past 30 years. Moral of the story, drafting well is essential. At least equally essential as attracting free agents. And in almost every case, the great draft pick comes before the great free agent.

  • steve

    Who drafted isiah and dumars? Forgot about the bad boys.

  • Tony

    @Steve,

    who said utilizing the draft process wasn’t important???? Each of those teams you mentioned also had co-stars signed via free agency. Go tell us some more how Shaq was one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA!