While I don't personally subscribe to the pessimistic outlook of the Suns that many on the site have taken up the past few weeks, there is no disputing the fact that things with the Suns will change. I was reading an article on ESPN by J.A. Adande about how the "fun-ness" of the Suns will surely be gone now that Kerr and Amar'e (presumably) would leave the team. I personally don't like Adande at all, I think if you reflect back on many of his articles they reflect more gut reactions to league-happenings than actual substantive analysis.
Yet, there is truth to what Adande says. Obviously, the Suns have looked different every year. We've gone through rotation regulars of Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas, James Jones, Boris Diaw, Shawn Marion, and Raja Bell in the past few years. What I have found so interesting though, is that two of these pieces- Marion and Bell have either joined a bitter PHX rival, or seem poised to respectively. Marion signed as a free agent with Dallas before this past season, and, according to realgm.com, Raja Bell is prepared to sign with the LA Lakers (once free agency begins of course)
Of course, we all understand that trades and free agent signings are just a part of basketball. Just as the Suns lose pieces of their "core", we add pieces from other teams. But when you think about some of the epic Suns playoff runs in years past, it's hard to imagine our team without those players. We all remember what Raja did to Kobe in 2005 with the clothesline, and how to rally down 3-1 to LA the Suns needed Marion's amazing leaping ability to grab the crucial rebound off a Nash missed 3 in the final seconds of regulation in game 6. Not to be outdone, Raja Bell was on fire for the entirety of the Clippers series and hit that spectacular 3-pointer against the them in game 5 to send the game into double overtime (where the Suns finally pulled away).
I remember when the Suns signed Raja Bell the newspaper articles specifically referenced the addition in terms of 1) Stopping Manu Ginobli, and 2) Slowing down Kobe. It's a shame that Raja wasn't on the Suns for this year's sweep of San Antonio, he was such a huge part of the Suns' success from 2005-2008. And now, to see him potentially signing to play alongside Kobe really bites. Obviously I think very highly of Raja and his hard work with the Suns, but a BIG part of me doesn't want to see him sign with LA.
I think Marion's signing with Dallas also left a similar hole in my heart. To see a guy who had spent his whole career battling Dirk now play alongside him almost felt like betrayal. Of course, that is the nature of the game. But it definitely makes me appreciate the guys like Hill and Nash who have decided to forgo greener pastures to stay with us fans.
Again, I don't buy Adande's "the sky is falling" mentality... but it is true that every season our identity as a team evolves. As long as "Two-Time" and STAT (* fingers crossed *) are still around, I still like our identity!