Previous week’s games
01/15/10 Hawks 102, SUNS 101
01/16/10 Bobcats 125, SUNS 99
01/18/10 Grizzlies 125, SUNS 118
01/20/10 SUNS 118, Nets 94

Next week’s games
01/22/10 SUNS vs Bulls, 8:30 p.m., ESPN/Fox Sports Arizona
01/23/10 SUNS vs Warriors, 7 p.m., My45
01/25/10 SUNS @ Jazz, 7 p.m., My45
01/26/10 SUNS vs Bobcats, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona

Right about now, lots of Suns fans are hitting the panic switch. People are asking for trades and claiming it’s time to blow things up. Is it really time to rebuild? That’s debatable. So, let’s debate!

Let’s start with expectations. Before the season started, it seemed that the consensus around the league was the Suns would fight for a playoff spot, with most “experts” saying we’d miss out on one. Those that said Phoenix would get in claimed it would be at best be as a sixth seed out West. So, with the Suns currently sitting as the sixth seed in the Western Conference a little more than halfway into the season, you’d think most people would be happy with that. From the chatter I’ve heard, though, people aren’t too satisfied.

There’s obvious reason for people to be less than happy with the Suns right now. The last two months they’ve played well below par. The talent level of this roster says the Suns shouldn’t be losing to the Indianas and Charlottes of the world. However, from time to time, this team will struggle, but as a result of the Suns’ impressive 14-3 start in October and November, this bump in the rode has people overacting.

A few weeks back, I wrote about the upcoming trade season and my belief was that Phoenix should stay pat. No reason to risk disrupting the chemistry this squad built early on. I still stand by that, for the most part. Sure, if some team out there is willing to take Jason Richardson off our hands, I’d more than likely be all for it. Thing is, teams aren’t calling for JRich.

I’ve heard lots of people say that it’s time we trade Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire, Grant Hill and just blow this team up. To me, that’s nonsense. I’m all for tweaking things; I just don’t feel it’s time for a complete overhaul.

If you’re going to rebuild, you do so with draft picks. We don’t have a first-round pick this year, so we can’t afford to start rebuilding this season. If you’re thinking we acquire picks by trading Nash, Stoudemire and Hill, think again. The only way any of those three players get traded is if they get traded to a contender. So, even if we traded any of them for draft picks, it would be a late first rounder. Do you really want to trade Nash for the 28th pick in the NBA Draft? Yeah, neither do I.

There’s still 39 games left in this season. That’s a whole lot of basketball to be played. Sure, we’ve slipped in the standings, but not by much. Only 3.5 games separate the Suns from the #2 spot out West, and only one game separates Phoenix from San Antonio and the 4 spot. If the Suns run off five in a row, we’re looking at home court in the first round of the playoffs. That’s just how bunched up things are out West right now, and the Suns are right in the mix of things. It’s way too early to throw in the towel.

People are still going to say we need to make trades — mostly the same people that complain about the previous trades we’ve made in past years, but I’m a half-full-cup kind of guy. The four-game losing streak wasn’t all bad news. It did show us that Robin Lopez can produce. There’s always some good to be taken out of everything. So, basically, I’m just trying to say, relax, Planet Orange. We’re going to be just fine.

  • Its absolutely, positively time to blow it up. What is the high ceiling for this team? A 2nd round exit I’d say would be a good accomplishment for this team. With Hill and Nash getting older, and Amare having serious injury issues, is that the kind of team you want going forward? Since the Suns have one of the worst GMs in the league and a frugal owner they’ve done little to nothing to build for tomorrow. With Oklahoma City, Sacramento and even the Clippers all stock piling talented young players and being on the rise and with the Lakers and Denver being clearly the strongest teams in the West, there’s no way the Suns can top them in a 7 game series.

    Its time to start making trades and stockpiling young talent and picks. OKC has the Suns 2010 1st rounder (part of the horrific Kurt Thomas trade), so the Suns need to try to get someone’s 2010 in a trade this year. Its time to move Amare (perhaps for Jeff Green, a pick and filler), Nash (perhaps to NY for a future pick and expiring deals), and J-Rich (though Im not sure where/for what).

    The Suns are teetering on the edge of being a team like they were in the Rex Chapman-Jason Kidd-Tom Gugliotta days. Just good enough to get a lower 4 playoff seed, getting a crappy draft pick and not doing really anything of note. Do you wanna relive that era? I don’t. Id have a lot more fun watching a bunch of young kids develop and perhaps miss the playoffs than watching a Gugliotta type squad and its 1st round exits.

    • While you bring up some good points, I still have to disagree entirely. Every one always wants to point out Nash and Hill are getting older, but people never want to point out that they continue to produce, with Nash improving (which is ridiculous). As far as Amar’e’s injury issues go, I don’t see the concern. He’s yet to fail to bounce back and he’s clearly not showing an ill effects to the eye injury that sidelined him last season.

      As far as our as our owner being frugal, well that’s debatable. Yes, he’s done cost cutting moves, but so has virtually everybody else. As far as the sold draft picks, most of those were done with D’antonio was here and that was mostly because he didn’t make sense to pay players the coach would never play. At the same time though, Sarver has spent money. Look at how much he paid to bring Dragic over seas. Plus, it’s always easy to call someone cheap when it’s not your money being spent.

      The Suns aren’t an old team, they’ve got some young guys on this squad that have bright futures. A core of Stoudemire, Dudley, Dragic, Lopez, Barbosa, and Clark with Nash and Hill providing leadership in their last few years could really turn out to be something special.

      Outside of the Lakers, the west is wide open. I’m not quite sure where you get Denver being clearly the second strongest team from. The Suns have struggled for 2 months and are only 3 1/2 games out of second. Depending on how seedings end up and what play off matches we get, I don’t think it would be out of the question for this team to be able to reach the WCF. And if Kobe or Gasol goes down for any extended period of time, then the entire conference is up for grabs.

      As far as the trades you mentioned, they won’t happen. Stoudemire is worth more than Jeff Green and a mid first round pick. The Suns would never trade Nash to the Knicks. We’d get garbage in return and Nash doesn’t deserve to be punished. Even if NY gets LeBron next year, they’re still going to be terrible.

      As the team stands right now, I’m having plenty of fun watching our young guys grow with the vets we have. It’s all about perception and how you look at things.

      Oh, and don’t mention the Clippers has an upcoming team. They’re horrible. The one young talent then have has missed an entire season before even playing one game, yet Amar’e has the injury issues. Not to mention they have the WORST coach and owner in the association.

      I’m not against making moves, but only if they make sense. Blowing this team up now doesn’t make sense. If they miss the play offs again, then blow it up this summer, but not now.

  • Amar’e is NOT worth more than Jeff Green, filler and a high 1st round pick. Amares trade value is lower than Suns fan think it is because of his repeated injuries, poor rebounding and absolute refusal to play defense when he has the physical tools to do it. Remember, Golden State pulled out of a deal that was Biedrins and Steph Curry (and unproven draft pick) for Amare.

    A deal like this would be terrific for the Suns:

    Plus hopefully the Suns own 2010 1st rounder back, since in my scenario we’re blowing it up.

    The Knicks wouldn’t be horrible with Nash, the East has improved at the top but its still weak overall. At the moment the Knicks are only 2 games out of the playoffs in the East, you add Nash to their mix and perhaps they could make it. Next year when most of the Knicks contracts expire and they can add either LeBron, Bosh or Wade, plus a bunch of midlevel Free Agents they’ll be good.

    The Knicks are desperate to get rid of Currys contract which has a year left on it, if the Suns were willing to take it on they’d perhaps be able to get Gallinari and Hill, two nice young pieces. NY doesn’t have their own 2010 pick, so the Suns would have to take a future pick from them (2012, they cant trade 1sts in back to back years). D’Antoni would be over the moon to have Hill and Nash back in the fold, and Hill could resign with them next year for a year or two and backup LeBron (or whoever). New York wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to market Nash-Hill and whatever other future Hall of Famer they sign in the off season.

    I get Denver being clearly the 2nd best team in the West because thats what they were last year, and theyre currently 2nd in the standings. They have the NBAs leading scorer in Anthony, a terrific PG in Billups and a lot of solid roleplayers (Birdman, JR Smith, etc).

    The NBA isn’t like the NFL or the NCAA tournament where a team can get hot and win the tournaments and not necessarily be the best team. Its tough for a team thats not the best to win 4 seven game series, it just doesn’t happen.

    The Suns missed the playoffs last year, won’t get past the 2nd round next year, and next year Nash is a year older, who knows what Hill does, and theyre financially strapped going into one of the biggest Free Agent classes ever. Does that sound like any way to move forward?

    • First, I want to say I appreciate the comments. This is fun. With that said, I’m still going to disagree with you 😛

      I don’t think Amar’e’s trade value is low because of his injuries, I think it’s low because teams are going to try and low ball Steve Kerr until he proves he’s a capable GM. Now while Green is good, he’s definitely not worth SStoudemire unless the filler thrown in is Harden or some one else with a ton of upside, especially when you consider how good the addition of Amar’e would make OKC. The deal you proposed with OKC definitely doesn’t make sense to me if we’re including Lopez. If we’re going to blow things up and rebuild, we must keep Lopez unless we’re getting another young center in return.

      Yes, Nash would put the Knicks in the play offs, but they’d still be terrible. A team could win 38 teams in the east and make the play offs. The Knicks offer you presented gives us one good player in Gallinari. Curry is absolutely horrible and I never want him on this team, even if it’s just for a year. As far as Hill, he hasn’t impressed me. He basically had one good year at Arizona.

      I’m not sure Denver was clearly the 2nd best team out West last year, they just got hot at the right time, which actually makes them a prime example of a team getting hot in the NBA and making a run. Same thing happened with Cleveland a few years back when they made the Finals. Momentum is huge in the NBA, so to say a team can’t get hot and surprise people like teams do in the NFL is a little inaccurate I believe.

      I’m not entirely against making a move, but it has to be something makes sense and gets us equal talent in return. If we could get LaMarcus Aldridge or Brook Lopez for Stoudemire, then I’d definitely be for it, although working something out with Portland would be extremely difficult for tons of reasons.

      If we can’t get a player the caliber of the guys I mentioned, then I’d only want to trade Stoudemire if we were going to get contracts that expiring at the end of this seaons AND if we are able to move Richardson for the same, allowing us to have lots of capspace this summer.

      Maybe I’m just against change, but I don’t think you blow a team up unless they’re really bad. If you’re middle of the pack, I think you just tweak things. I know that’s hard to do, but not impossible.

  • I like Amare, I really do. He’s a talented player with a good attitude. However, if he is the all-star he is hyped to be he needs more touches. He needs to be more agressive down low. He has the body control and the power to be able to have his way down low. With this “high octane” offense that the Suns run, he should have 30 points a night and at least 10 boards.

    So if they end up trading him, it would be a loss for sure, but I could deal with it.

    I agree, that Nash has done nothing but improve over the years, and yes he is getting older, but he hasn’t stopped producing. He is a prime example of a point gaurd, and personally I want him to retire here; that way I can keep wearing his jerseys. haha. I also believe that Nash wouldn’t mind coming off the bench. So if in the future Dragic is starting and Nash comes off the bench, I’m OK with that.

    The main problem seems to be consistancy. We roll over a bunch of teams, grind it out against the Lakers for a Win at home, then we start to give away games that we have the lead in and struggle against bad teams. It’s nothing new for the Suns, but there has to be a reason for it. I don’t think that LB is the main reason. He’s a scorer, but Dragic has shown he can score at will as well.

    I will definately be interested to see what happens between now and the trade deadline!