I was reviewing some of the articles today and had some thoughts about a Suns' former great and a current great that may become a former one. Is it a problem with primadonna athletes, a problme with the current management/coaching/staff or some combination of both?
Players used to come to the Suns because of the good reputation of the management. Are the Suns losing that? Was JC's "coddling" part of the problem?
I'm still peeved at the lack of a warm reception for Matrix at the game (see my post-game thread for some of that). The fans tried to give Matrix the respect and love he deserved. His introduction kind of snuck up on us in that it occurred much the same way as the other team is always introduced, and he was also announced first without much ado. He deserved more recognition from the arean, the PA guy and the organization in general. The fans all stood up as quickly and loudly as possible, but the next Heat player was announced all too quickly.
As I complained earlier, there was no tribute or anything for his return. Bush League. I'm sort of thinking that if this was any indication, he was not getting any love/respect from the front office. At least he knows what the fans think. From the second link below, he said:
Miami forward Shawn Marion said of his Phoenix return's ovation, "It was mixed. I gave my heart and soul to this city and that team over there. I think they knew that and felt that and they gave me a standing ovation. I love Phoenix."
Then, there's this story (from yesterday) with Amare complaining. Here's Coro's regurgitation of the report. Actually, this is really tame compared to all the Raja Bell displeasure he's been reporting on. Did Coro get caught off-guard with the comments? Has he decided not to report on the divisive stuff all of the sudden? To me, the answer as to why he has not reported on this like he did with Bell may shed a lot of light on the situation.
On to Amare, he needs help to become "the man" on any team. Bigs cannot bring the ball up the court and set themselves up. There's just a fundamental difference in getting big men going than getting the smalls into the game on offense. There is some truth to the sentiment that he needs to get himself going, but there is more truth to the sentiment that he needs his team to set the table for him. One of the most painful things I saw last night was Amare at the top of the arc trying to create off the dribble. Against Marion. That cannot end well.
Interestingly, Bell seems to be fueling some of the fire by saying this is Shaq's Team. I think the team is too Shaq-centric, but it's not his team. Only a cynic or a rabble-rouser would make that statement. Bell made it to the national press, so guess which camp I'm going to put him in.
He's probably not going to New York, having pretty well burned his bridge with Mike Antoni, but he's told Screamin' A. Smith he's keeping his options open. This from a guy who has fired 4 publicity teams already in his pro career. Perhaps the best way to keep Amare is to convince him that Phoenix is the best way to maximize his profile for his off-the-court ventures.
I'm not hearing the Marion "woe is me" stuff but I am hearing a little bit of Marion's complaints about getting the rock. What are they going to do -- willing to do -- to keep him around?
Here's where I get back to management. Colangelo worked hard to keep quality guys around. I'm not getting that sense from Kerr, e.g., "Anyone can be traded." The question really is, though, "Is that a bad thing?" I don't know. Colangelo's attitude got us overpaid and past-their-prime Tom Gugliotta, Penny Hardaway and Danny Manning (he wasn't too far past his prime, but he didn't give us very many good season). When Colangelo was taking care of his guys in the 70s and 80s, the game was different. Do you realize that Diaw's $9M a year contract is higher than the Chuckster ever made in a single year as a pro?
My point (or, really, a question) is whether "taking care of" your players is destructive. Do they need more "tough love"? How much "tough love" chases away quality players?
Why are so many star players (seemingly) upset about their situations? I'm pretty convinced it's not about being in a position to win a championship (except for Kobe) because they're wasting a ton of energy talking about possibilities (LeBron, Amare, Barkley back in the day) instead of working on the present.
At least Marion was honest about PT, being the star, and his desire (or lack thereof) for a tile as the ultimate goal.