Another season of Phoenix Suns basketball came to an end on Thursday night with a 106-103 victory over the arch-rival San Antonio Spurs. Certainly a very nice way to end what has been, lets face it, mostly a disappointing regular season. Sure, the Suns defeated the hated Spurs, but in the end they will not be playing anymore games this season. The Suns have missed the playoffs after having a fantastic season last year and reaching the Western Conference Finals. Now Suns fans, including myself, are asking "What now?" What will the Suns organization do to make this team better next season? This past off-season, ownership made a feeble attempt to replace Amare Stoudemire by trading for Hedo Turkoglu and signing free agents Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress. Now while Warrick and Childress have had their bright moments this season, the experiment with Turkoglu was a complete failure. But ownership actually made an attempt this year to fix its mistake by making the blockbuster trade that brought Marcin Gortat, Mikael Pietrus, and Vince Carter to Phoenix in exchange for Turkoglu, Earl Clark, and Jason Richardson. Personally, I think that letting Richardson go was a mistake but lets face it, the Suns were more than likely not going to re-sign him after his contract ended this year. And what can you say about the way Marcin Gortat has played since arriving in the Valley of the Sun? He has played the best basketball of his career; he has truly blossomed since getting out of Dwight Howard's shadow. Even more good news Suns fans, he'll be here for a while. Gortat gave us a legitimate replacement for Stoudemire with the way he played the pick n' roll with Nash the way that Robin Lopez just couldn't get the hang of.
But it just wasn't enough to get the Suns over the hump and into the playoffs this year. Now we're left wondering...wondering how this team could get better. So lets take a look at some of the upcoming free agents that will be available. Now some people are mentioning that we need a Power Foward, I myself believe that Channing Frye is developing into a better PF, while he can still spread the floor with his 3-point shooting, he is starting to play in the post and rebound. But if you are someone who believes differently here are some soon-to-be free agent Power Fowards:
Tim Duncan (No chance the Suns go after him. Just thought I'd mention him)
Nene (I'm counting him as a PF and a Center)
Lou Amundson (I was sad to see him go last off-season. I don't know where he would fit now that we have Hakim Warrick)
Another position the Suns could look to improve is the Shooting Guard. While Jared Dudley has played well as a starter the last few games, he is much more valuable providing a spark while coming off the bench. Also the Suns are expected to buyout the rest of Vince Carter's contract (thank God!). So here are a few free agent Shooting Guards:
Jason Richardson (It would be great if the Suns could get him back, but he will want money that the Suns just don't have)
Jamal Crawford (A great player that can also play the Point Guard position)
Arron Afflalo (Great defender and shoots 42% from beyond the 3-point line)
Ray Allen (Arguably had his best season this year at age 35. Shot 44% from 3-point range. He would fit in nicely)
If the Suns want to get better and make it to the playoffs next year they will have to make some decisions like these. First of all Steve Nash and Grant Hill must be re-signed, they are the foundation of this team. Then they must look into these two areas and find what's missing. If ownership realizes that, it will be a much better season next year on Planet Orange.