The Phoenix Suns of the mid-2000s were extremely talented. Their back-to-back MVP, Steve Nash, once tried to get Kevin Garnett to join them
Some casual NBA fans forget just how good the Phoenix Suns were not much more than a decade ago. Not Suns fans. Steve Nash won back-to-back MVP awards on Mike D’Antoni-led teams that made it to the Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons, and the Suns were far from the butt of the joke that they sometimes end up being today.
While the teams led by Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire never advanced further than the Conference Finals, a piece like Kevin Garnett surely would have helped them get over the hump, and in the 2007 offseason, Nash and the Suns tried to make that happen.
Nash on the All The Smoke podcast, detailed the time he called KG up and tried to pitch him on the idea of signing with the Suns.
“Yeah, there was a time ownership asked me to call [Garnett] and recruit him, would have been an incredible player to play with, but we didn’t have a full cap slot that other teams did, so in a sense — and Kevin tells this story too — that I told him ‘I’m kind of embarrassed to call you because you’d have to take a pay cut to come here, but we’d love to have you,’ so we did have that conversation,” Nash said.
In an earlier episode, Garnett mentioned that the Suns, Celtics, and Lakers were the three destinations he was considering most heavily.
Nash, though, doesn’t think the odds of the Suns pulling Garnett given their cap situation were very strong.
“He respected my honesty, the reality is we just, he would’ve had to take a much lower salary so it was never really close to happening, I don’t think.”
Phoenix that year would trade Shawn Marion to the Miami Heat for an aging Shaquille O’Neal, a trade Marion found out about while hosting a Super Bowl party.
O’Neal would function as the team’s leading player in terms of win shares the following season but wasn’t the Same interior force that he was for title teams in Los Angeles and Miami.
The Suns couldn’t get past the San Antonio Spurs in two consecutive playoff series, and D’Antoni would head off to coach the New York Knicks. Landing a defensive banshee in Garnett assuredly would have changed the entire trajectory for the Suns and arguably made them a title favorite.
Instead, Garnett would go on to win a title with the Boston Celtics in his first year with the team and also become the owner of a magic opal.