The three most exciting sporting events I've been to are as follows (in no particular order): Game 5 of the Suns-Clippers series (aka, Raja Bell's 3-point shot), Game 5 of the Suspension Series with the Sp*rs and the US-Mexico friendly at the Cardinals' stadium.
If I was forced to choose which event had the most energy and intensity, it would be the soccer match. It'd be a close call. However, there big difference was the lack of acrimony. The loud, obnoxious, screaming Mexico fans were loud, obnoxious and screaming in a playful way. No hard feelings, just pure excitement. Quite a difference from the Suspension Series.
Remember when the Suns' games used to be fun? Like the 2005-2006 season? Raja's 3-pointer?
I watched the US beat Mexico.
Occassionally, I drifted back to the annoying tag team of Leander and Williams. It's just too painful to listen to those guys when you're also watching a painful game.
Sure, the Suns had some moments. That was a great first quarter. Both teams going at each other. Flashes of defense on both sides. Good passing. I'd bet that from the perspecitive of an NBA fan without an allegiance to either team, it was great basketball -- for the first quarter. There was also a spurt in the third where the Suns kept it close.
However, the Cavs showed why they are a great team. The dominated and punished when it counted. They pulled away from the Suns in the second. When the Suns got close in the third, they pulled away again. In the fourth, they were up by 20+ at one point.
It really doesn't help to give up two dozen turnovers and over a dozen offensive boards.
I know all this because I did flip back to the Suns occassionally. That's all I really needed to do to get the gist of what was going on. Of course, after the US-Mexico match was over I watched the final, painful end of the Cavs-Suns game. I still hold onto this notion that if I watch the painful moments, the good moments are that much better. Well, that and I can't stand most of the garbage on television today that do not involve sports in some manner. You know, "A bad day fishing ..."
The US team has dominated its CONCACAF division over the last decade. CONCACAF is the FIFA division to which the US and Mexico belong. They are the two top teams in the division. There are several FIFA divisions around the world. Leaders from each division are invited to the World Cup and have other tournaments and such (e.g., the CONCACAF Gold Cup).
Since 2000, the US is 40-0-10 in CONCACAF play on its home turf (I think that's the stat I saw during the match -- it might have been in CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers). The US is also 9-0-2 against Mexico at home since 1999.
Of course, the division sucks. Mexico and US have had some, limited success at the World Cup. However, each team generall underachieves -- or, at least they do from their fans' perspectives. That being said, the Mexico fans were a blast to be around. Even when they lost. I've never been to a World Cup, but my friends who have describe the same atmosphere.
I'm not sure what my point is. I just found the juxtaposition interesting.
I don't blame Sarver for wanting to get under the luxury tax. The Phoenix fan base is so fickle that I'm sure the Suns are going to have trouble selling tickets next year. I'm not calling either side out, I'm just stating the situation. Why should the Suns put money into a pot for all other teams to receive if the Suns are an 8-seed or in the lottery?
There are things I'd do before trading Amare. Even with Shaq having a great year, I'd trade him for a bag of donuts and some coffee. That would be a boon to the payroll and he doesn't have Amare's long-term upside. If I wasn't concerned about season ticket renewals, I'd also probably do the un-thinkable.
No matter what happens, there are dark days ahead, Suns fans. The headline above will be reusable. The question in regard to rebuilding is no longer "if" but "how long."