>Looking Around The Corner: Phoenix Suns


You could argue that the demise of the Phoenix Suns began with the trading of Joe Johnson in 2005. The franchise was coming off its best season in years, Steve Nash had just been named MVP in his first season with the team since they drafted him, Amare and Shawn Marion had just been named All-Stars and they reached the Western Conference Finals.

Then Amare’s knee gave out and the playoffs disappointment began. Loses to the Mavs in 2006 and Spurs in 2007 hurt Mike D’Antoni’s credibility. His offensive system in those years with the Suns is considered among the best of all time, bringing back the up tempo run-and-gun style of the 1980s Boston Celtics. It was known as “Seven Seconds or Less.”

Next came the change in ownership, Robert Sarver came in and cleaned house, including coach D’Antoni. It was only a matter of time before everything changed. Steve Kerr was also brought in as GM and in one fell swoop, traded another huge link to the offense in Marion.

Shaq was brought in and slowed everything down and the Suns missed the playoffs for the first time in the Steve Nash-MVP Era. Two more coaching changes, one more WCF disappointment and Amare’s eventual departure before the 2010 season has finally brought a death blow to franchise.

An organization that you could look back upon in this decade of the NBA and have said, “they should have won one.” And in the mean time, a flurry of personnel moves that forced Steve Nash to play with new players as every season and trade deadline came and went. Through a variance of moves, the final roster in 2011 looked exactly like the constructed it to look: a poor mans version of the 2005 team. This team needs to retool immediately.

It all began this week with the news that Vince Carter would be bought out by the team. He’s got an $18 million player option that he was most certainly going to pick up but clearly both sides saw an opportunity to settle and divorce.

This move could possibly the biggest positive for this franchise since Nash’s back-to-back MVPs. Freeing up this $18 million will most certainly make the team a player in this year’s free agent class and it most certainly should not stop them from being apart of next years as well.

The Suns absolutely need to target one of the big name RFAs in Marc Gasol or Jeff Green, or go after one or more of the UFAs in David West or Nene. Either way, they need to put talent around Steve Nash and give it one last shot. He’s 37 and is on the final year of his contract. He’s the guy that’s going to bring the other names to Phoenix.

The trade rumors from this past week that would have sent Nash to Minnesota and netted them the number 2 pick, would have sent the franchise in a completely different direction.

That move would have sent the team from re-tooling to a full on rebuild and while Derrick Williams and good pick next season would allow them to start young, re-tooling with veterans around Nash to close out his career is the way to go for the Suns. Any other move could prove to be a disaster and send the franchise into a yearly lottery run. 

This franchise is already looking at the fact that they never gave Steve Nash what he needed to win a championship when it was right there in front of them for nearly half a decade, lets hope they get this one right and find him a way to go out on top. 

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