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Nash and Gortat Stay. Make This an Elite Team Once Again.

The FO heads into a 5-6 month stretch of extraordinarily important decision-making. Trade deadline. Draft. Free agency. The drafting of Morris was more than a bright spot, however, it was validation for the coaches and the FO. Gentry said Morris could contribute "right away," and many of us laughed. PFs need time to adjust to the NBA game. Well Morris was a great pick-up, he can look like a polished vet from time to time. So amid all the "what of Nash?" talk, the request for patience is earned. The Gortat trade was so lopsided, too, granted we bandaged over a self-inflicted wound. This FO has made some excellent moves recently.

The heated Nash discussions throughout these posts should make us proud, but now seems a fine time to step back before the trade deadline whirlwind really hits. For those of us insisting the team would not return to elite status with Nash remaining a Sun (my own present sympathies), let's just consider the other possibility. Nash and Gortat stay. How do we return to elite status so soon?


Trade Deadline


Minus Nash and Gortat, the talent cupboard is so bare you almost want to write off the trade deadline. Hill, Dudley and Morris have solid trade value. I'd love to see the team copy a page from the Jazz handbook last year and make this move before anyone expected it, if not in March then before the draft.

PHX: Dudley, Morris + 2012 1st rd pick for Serge Ibaka + Nick Collison
Nash-Ibaka-Gortat would be a joy to watch. Offensive rebounding, you were missed.

OKC: Serge Ibaka + Nick Collison for Derrick Williams
They have so much promise, but now the payday problems loom. Harden and Ibaka are both up for fat contracts: one gets to stay, the other gets traded. Jeff Green knows all about this. But this is a pick-your-poison dilemma because Harden and Ibaka are linchpins on offense and defense, respectively. That wasn't the case with Green. So if defense wins championships, and the team looks so close to a championship, why trade Ibaka? Derrick Williams is not a bad answer. Most importantly stagger the paydays out, and ask him to grow into the PF role alongside Perkins.

MIN: Derrick Williams for Dudley, Morris + 2012 1st rd pick
This move would open up Kahn to so much renewed criticism. "Derrick Williams could have brought you Pau in return" and all that. But Minnesota needs dependable role players. We know who can hit the last shot. Give Love and Rubio some help. Derrick Williams should not be staying now that Love is secured for the foreseeable future. So why this trade? Dudley's all energy and would relish the chance to play alongside Rubio. Throw in a very promising PF backup and mid-lottery pick and this gets interesting. Rubio and Love are at least two years away from making playoff noise. Build for that day and resist the urge to go after an older talent like Pau.

Draft

Pass, see above. It's a stocked draft but Nash is 38 and the standards are set. Short timetable. "Elite" status. We wouldn't have time to develop young talent.

Free Agency

How do you drum up interest in a "setting" franchise? Show FAs you'll make an Ibaka trade splash and then sick Nash on them. Tell them the money stash will find the right hands, we're not Detroit-ing free agency. Talk about the 2012-13 roster:

Nash/? - Dragic, DJ Augustin
?/Redd - Gordon/Mayo/Courtney Lee/Marco Bellinelli
Hill/Childress? - Batum
Ibaka/Frye
Gortat/? - Jason Thompson/Lou

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