**If you don’t like reading articles critical of the Suns and their current ownership/management, please stop reading now**
Carmelo to the Knicks. What a knee to the groin. The question over whether the Suns would succeed and Amare would flounder has officially been answered. I don’t care if Amare breaks down in the fifth year of his contract. The Knicks have become Phoenix Suns East. D’Antoni leads a threesome akin to the glory days in Phoenix. Maybe better. Certainly a Chris Paul away from being better. Amare in his prime is better than the Amare D’Antoni previously coached. Melo is better than the Matrix was (and Reloaded and Revolutions too for that matter). While Nash was definitely far superior to an aging Billups, or one in his prime, Phoenix East wins 2 out of 3. D’Antoni made the right choice. Damn.
The sickening irony of the whole situation is that this fiasco seems to be entirely of the Suns making. I can’t read minds. I am not omniscient. But I feel prescient enough to observe that the entire rise of the incipient Knicks’ empire is entirely laid in the lap of the Suns. If the Suns gave Amare his money the Knicks would have been left standing at the free agent table. They would have been embarrassed. Amare was the “consolation” prize. I recently argued with someone who speculated that Amare didn’t really want to stay in Phoenix and that he would have left regardless of whether Sarver guaranteed his contract. My response - why didn’t he then? If Amare was leaving anyway, Sarver could have put the guaranteed deal out on the table and when Amare left for the bright lights and big city he would have been vindicated. Amare would have been the villain. Sarver would have been completely absolved of any implication of being
a cheapskate and a blithering idiot frugal. His response – I guess he couldn’t afford to take the chance he was wrong. The word I highlight on - afford. I guess Phoenix just can’t afford to be a relevant market or basketball team anymore.
Phoenix has become a poorly financed,deplorably managed team under their current ownership that will descend to the bottom ranks of the league. Other cities cling to their departing superstars even while the players make every possible attempt to hasten their exodus. New Orleans offered Paul the max. Toronto offered Bosh the max. Denver offered Melo the max. Cleveland offered Lebron the max. They are all leaving or have left. Dallas and Atlanta ponied up the max for Dirk and JJ. Joe freaking Johnson got a max contract, but the Suns were unwilling to offer one to Amare. So while every other team in the league is doing anything and everything they can to keep their stars, the Suns have chosen a different strategy. Good luck with that. The Suns are pioneers (like Amare) employing an audacious new design that will help them ascend to unventured heights of success…. just as soon as they finish with the circle of power.
The Suns recently inscrutable machinations concerning turning commodities into sinkholes needs to change as well. If timing is everything then all the Suns need to learn is, well … everything. The Suns let Amare stroll out the door completely untethered and their reciprocal compensation was… a trade exception. Woohoo! The Nuggets were just held hostage by Melo and still managed to educe quality young pieces and picks from a team that was essentially bidding against itself. Letting star players go without a return is a blueprint that is doomed to catastrophic failure. Now we have a perfect pair of test subjects linked through the departure of their star player to the Knicks. The Suns are a cheap date. The Knicks took them to Burger King. No cheese either. While the Nuggets didn’t get 5 star dining, they at least got TGIFridays. The 2013-2014 season will lend the final analysis. Where will the Suns be with no return from their star? Where will the Nuggets be with the cache they received? My guess is that the Nuggets will win the battle of wits against unarmed men.
Instead of the Suns keeping Amare and trying to lure another superstar to come play with him they let him walk. Then the Knicks picked him up and employed this strategy. And it worked. Whodathunkit?