James Jones’ silence during the trade deadline means the Phoenix Suns are doing one thing: they are staying the course. And it was the right thing to do.
The trade deadline is officially behind us. The anticipation of a blockbuster deal (is that phrase relevant anymore? Should it be a ‘Netflix deal’?) has come and gone. There was no Earth-shattering Phoenix Suns moment. There wasn’t even a slight disturbance in the force. The silence was deafening unless you spent the day on Suns Twitter. There was plenty of noise there.
We all want the Suns to succeed, some of us passionately. Some of us too passionately. Suns Twitter was alive and well on Thursday afternoon as deals were being finalized around the league. Many Suns fans, myself included, were upset that the team didn’t do anything to better the outcome of this year.
Don’t the Suns want to win now? Isn’t everyone tired of losing? Every. Single. Year?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes”, and being frustrated at the lack of movement at the deadline is the obvious reaction.
But after allowing a day or two to pass, I have now realized James Jones’ decision to stand fast was the correct one. It’s Casablanca-esque, if you will. “Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.”
The team has struggled this year. They can’t close games. They can’t hit the 3-ball. When the Suns make 4 or more 3-pointers than the opposition, they are 8-1. When the opposition makes 4 or more 3-pointers than the Suns, the Suns are 0-12 (#randomfactsbyjohnvoita).
Their #1 pick was sidelined for 30% of the campaign. Aron Baynes has missed nearly 20 games. Good ‘ole Frank the Tank has been anything but, as he hasn’t seen the court this decade. The injury bug has hit the Suns like a runaway locomotive.
My point? This team hasn’t had the chance or availability to execute James Jones’ vision. When everyone was healthy at the beginning of the year (minus Ayton’s suspension), the team gelled and we were dancing in the streets and avenues. Heck, probably on Central too.
Entering the trade deadline, the Suns were banged up and losing. This proved to be a deadly combination that negated any movement. The team was headed nowhere fast, losing to sub-par Eastern Conference teams in a disastrous fashion. Why would they make a trade? To better a sinking ship? That’s like adding Westin Heavenly mattresses to the Titanic as it’s going down…it’s pointless.
Having numerous expiring contracts at the end of the year was a double-edged sword. On one hand, as this writer has stated, trading Baynes in an effort to get an asset in return was desirable. It isn’t always plausible, however, when the opposition knows what you’re trying to accomplish.
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Perhaps I am naïve, but I believe that James Jones has a plan. The beauty in the way he has built this roster is it allows for flexibility. We are not locked down to anyone longer term except Devin Booker. Players like Tyler Johnson, Aron Baynes, and Dario Saric come off the books this upcoming offseason.
I am pleased the Suns didn’t make a move simply to make a move. Jones did not compromise the flexibility of the team to add an asset that may hurt in the long term.
The Phoenix Suns will (unfortunately) have a lottery pick as an asset. They will have cap space. They will have the ability to make some moves. Perhaps Jones is looking to make trades in the off-season. Perhaps he is waiting to see what players like Gordon Hayward or Andre Drummond do with their player options.
The foundation has been laid this year, and Jones has shown that he is sticking to his vision. Whatever that vision is, he’s keeping it close to his chest. We hope that it involves glory. We hope that it involves success.
Whatever it is, here’s looking at you kid.