Many blame Porter for not maximizing the talent on the roster and for not gaining the respect of his veteran players. Reports include Barnes and Shaq ignoring him on the bench and demanding to be put back in the game or refusing to be taken out.
Porter has been unable to display the confidence needed to earn the trust of his players and, in retrospect, may have never had the experience and reputation to be successful in this environment.
It would not be fair, however, to put all the team's woes on the head coach's shoulders. Porter has his work cut out for him trying to balance the desires and demands of his two MVPs, along with a large assortment of star players both young and old. He walked into a situation where Shaq, Amare and Nash all needed the same space to work. No coach can change the laws of physics and create space where none exists.
Porter's boss, General Manager Steve Kerr, drafted and signed guys for their defense and hustle but then quickly abandoned this approach in favor of unleashing his point guard. Unable to gain their buy-in, the team traded two defensive role players for yet another scorer who needs the ball to be most effective.
It is hard to find an example of another team with six guys that all can shoot 15 times per game being asked to mesh their various skills together and learn to be role players. Five great players at their position makes for a nice fantasy team but not necessarily the best basketball team.
The fact that this information came to me (along with similar reports to Hoops World) says as much about the struggles of the coach as the organization that employees him. I wonder if Porter is being set up to take the fall for the lack of consistency and commitment to a coherent vision from the top.
Terry Porter might not be the right guy for this job, but if that's the case, the person responsible for hiring him cannot be ignored.
I have no word on timing or who possible replacements would be. One would assume Alvin Gentry, who has head coaching experience with the Clippers, could be interim choice if a move is made.
The word I am getting from the top is that moving Amare is for financial reasons and that is certainly consistent with other reports, along with what Amare believes.
Amare made these comments after Monday's game in Detroit:
"I think it's all about what they want to do and what they're trying to do financially," he said. "I think their main focus is their financial intake."
I have my suspicions about this. My guess is that putting the "blame" on the finances will cause less turmoil with Amare if a deal isn't done and also serve to increase (or least not decrease) his trade value in the eyes of other teams and their fans.
The term "addition by subtraction" was used by the Suns' front office in the past few weeks, although that kind of talk has now died down.
That is not to say that I don't believe that the team's ownership group wants to get under the salary cap, but if that's the primary goal, there are certainly other ways to get there without trading away a young All-Star like Amare.
The Suns' organization declined to provide an official response to these reports.