So losing sucks. That said, I think we still have a very good team. Our championship window is certainly narrowed, but I wouldn't say it is closed. Next year, we'll have a full year with Shaq and apparently a new more defensive-minded coach. Amare will continue to improve. It could be special. Likely, we're just a solid playoff team again, since no one will be able to compete with the Lakers, but that's better than being a Grizzlies fan, for instance. Two years from now? Well, considering the age of our players, that's more difficult to forecast
But in 2010/2011 (not next season or the next season after but the next one), we could be right back on top, because we're set up fabulously for that year.
1) A solid trio of young players: Boris, Amare, and Leandro will all be 28 for that season. In other words, they will still be on the good side of their peak.
2) Cap space: Raja, Steve, and Shaq all come off the books that year, and there is no better time for them to do so. Players who will/might be available that year, depending on contract extensions:
Lebron, Bosh, DWade, Marvin Williams, Richard Hamilton, Mike Miller, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Josh Howard, Dirk, T-Mac, Joe Johnson, Manu, Okur, Andrew Bynum, Boozer, David Lee, Andrew Bogut, Tyson Chandler, and Danny Granger.
Now not all of these players will be there (almost certainly not Paul and Bynum), but that's still an impressive crop and the Suns, always a great free agent draw, will have the space to make their pick.
Of course, this all assumes that we're not going to trade away our cap space in 09/10. But even that may not be so bad if we're getting something valuable back in return.
Now we just have to hope that in the next couple of drafts, we can get at least two or three solid contributors (not even studs) on the cheap. We'll likely have to get our studs via free agency. But alll the good teams, including us, right now have key (or even star) players who were late first round/second round picks (Barbosa, Bell, Bowen, Howard, Boozer, Parker, Ginobili, Arenas, Rondo, Kirilenko, Prince, West not to mention Powe, Landry, Bass, Milsap, Maxiell and guys of that level). We need our gems as well.
So I guess now it's time to start talking about the draft. Woo!