Note to Ryan McDonough: Make Trade Deadline Your Opus

Sep 26, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough speaks to the media during media day at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough speaks to the media during media day at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

In music and literature an Opus can mean one of two things: an Individual achievement that is the crown jewel in a series of works, or the entire collection of pieces that encompasses one masterpiece following another.

In music, literature, and in sports, very rarely can one find themselves among the immortals – those who can do no wrong. Along that vein there are very few like Mozart or Shakespeare, and even fewer still like Red Auerbach. But many others are defined by a single moment, a pièce de résistance so spectacular in performance and execution that it overshadows all other accomplishments, and failures, that preceded or succeed it.

In sports, general managers are as plentiful as the number of teams, and as interchangeable as the players themselves. Many are ignored. Most are forgotten. Others are overshadowed by an owner, the players, or even the moment.

Yet some general managers are remembered by one positive event of their own doing. Growing to Rushmore-like heights within a franchise, they are forever warmly remembered for a singular incredible trade that separates those who made it happen from those who did not.

The great ones are immortalized in the annals of sports history, receiving credit for pulling a franchise out of the doldrums of athletic despair, shocking the sporting world by acquiring talent far exceeding the talent lost. From thenceforth these general managers can do no wrong. Their entire history determined by that one trade which incited success in the face of failure.

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Unfortunately for Ryan McDonough two particular trades have damaged the opportunity for a career-long opus. While so many trades have turned to gold, dealing away Isaiah Thomas and the Los Angeles Lakers’ first-round lottery pick in return for Brandon Knight has been an unmitigated disaster worthy of scorn, and a central reason for distress from the Phoenix fanbase – the very example of trades that should not happen, especially for a franchise struggling to re-discover the art of the win.

Yet on an individual level, when ignoring all other trades, free agency signings, or waives and waiver claims, Ryan McDonough has an opportunity to re-define that from which he is known. He has a chance to make a move or series of moves over the next ten days that will change the fortunes of a franchise desperate for such a defining moment. This can be a pivot point in history, an opportunity granted to him by fate to create a memory for fans to recall over the ensuing decades that after seven years of failure, of seeking success and watching it wither away, that this moment was the moment which reversed such dismal outcomes.

For the next ten days McDonough’s instrument is his telephone; his canvas, the roster; his muse, those general managers who have pulled off franchise-altering trades that have changed the fortunes of the team for the better. This is a moment to write a story which will be passed along through the generations; compose a pleasant melody that will suddenly affix itself upon our minds on a dreary day.

Phoenix Suns fans have been patient for long enough. A franchise once the shining example of achievement and accomplishment on and off the court has now slipped into the discussion of failure and disappointment. A team for which who each generation of Phoenicians could grow up admiring it’s stars and experience regular playoff excitement solidifying a lifelong fandom, is now struggling to foment such excitement worthy of pulling local support from those opponents in different states who now suck up all the glory.

Talk is cheap and hope, even cheaper. At some point, the plans of the future must become the success of the present, and for the Phoenix Suns that moment can be now.

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Ryan McDonough isn’t a composer or an author, but he is an artist. Through his effort next week’s trade deadline is an opportunity to define a career and the fortunes of the franchise.

He must make the next ten days his Opus.