Phoenix Suns fans want James Jones and Robert Sarver to make a big splash this offseason: get better QUICK. But moves must be smart, not just intentionally splashy.
Bickley and Moratta had a very interesting conversation about the direction of the Phoenix Suns on May 30, in which they discussed multiple directions the offseason could take. You can hear it here with their third hour podcast.
The biggest problem that Phoenix Suns fans have had with owner Robert Sarver to this point has been his propensity to be cheap; not extending several major and important players, while also not acquiring through trade or free agency other expensive ones that could have made all the difference in the world between regular playoff appearances and nine years of self-imposed abstention.
All signs show to Sarver having been dragged kicking and screaming into the direction of acquiring the style of ownership that is more willing to not only make those more splashy moves, but allow his hired basketball minds to follow through with some of their more expensive ideas.
Although we have not directly seen this yet, the signing of Monty Williams for the length and cost that he was is hopefully a direct sign of such a move towards in-cautiousness.
Fans do not want Sarver to be cheap. We have lived through that for far too long and we want him to finally spend the money necessary to trade for or sign the players who will be a part of a competitive and hopefully championship-calaber team.
But fans also do not want the Suns to make a trade for or sign a player to win the press conference if the press conference is all Phoenix is going to win.
I’m looking directly at you, Chris Paul.
As I have written in the recent past, I am not a fan of Phoenix trading for Paul as he is on the downside of his career, is making way too much money which would prevent any other major moves.
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Players like Paul are aging, and as a PG he is easily one of the most active players on the court, a situation that is destined to reach a metaphorical breaking point – a problem he has had during his time many times during his career, especially during playoff time.
It is also not if the Phoenix Suns acquired him they would be expecting to make a championship push. Sure, they would stand a better chance of making the playoffs (which is something that fans are dying for), but with limitations.
Fans could accept making the playoffs and unfortunately facing the Warriors. But any other team they should desire to be able to beat and at least get through to the second round. Paul is not the kind of transcendent player to even guarantee defeating the Denver Nuggets, let alone anyone else in the West.
And either way, the team should never be built “just” to make the playoffs. Yes, the young players need that experience, but by acquiring a player like Paul, any playoff appearances would be artificial as they would know that a run beyond the Semis (if they even ever made it out of the first round) would never happen with Paul and no power forward (let alone the backup PG that would be absolutely necessary to carry, a backup PF/C, etc).
Paul has a history of not lasting until and even through the playoffs anyway, so imagine the Suns finally getting there, only to lose their star point guard just when it mattered.
While fans still need to see how Jeff Bower works and that James Jones actually has the general management skills that Sarver swears he does (I am personally attempting to reserve judgement, however I also expected a lot more out of him last season than was presented to us), if Jones and Bower are the kinds of minds that they have been sold to be, they will be able to find the perfect (or at least right) point guard without having to trade too many assets and allocate so much money for one individual player.
They too will be able to find the same point guard while also acquiring the perfect (or at least right) power forward.
For instance (and I understand that hope guarantees nothing) Julius Randle has now been rumored in connection with the Suns, a situation that would be great but would also cost Phoenix around $20 million dollars.
It is very likely that a trade for Paul would end all chances of signing a power forward like Randle to a long-term contract as well.
I personally believe too that Rubio would be the perfect long-term point guard and think that he would cost around $15 million a year.
Imagine that: a good young power forward with a good veteran (and only 28-years-old compared to Paul’s 34) point guard for less than what Paul alone would make this coming season (he will be making $44 million in the final year of his deal as well).
The Phoenix Suns need to improve, but they cannot attempt to do so simply by making a splashy move that will make them the lead on SportsCenter if it does not mean that they are going to improve long-term over subsequent seasons.
Chris Paul is just one of those kinds of players that if acquired would win the press conference, but the assets needed to acquire and the financial cost to the detriment of further improving the roster are just too much to even consider such moves.
Robert Sarver can no longer be cheap – he just needs to be smart with his money.