We all are very certain that Steve Nash and Marcin Gortat are stirring the flat, decaffeinated soda beverage that are the Phoenix Suns. Without the two, there is a very good chance this team could be 1-22 or 2-21, which could be good as far as draft positioning goes, but would kill us true fans hoping for a reason to watch this team this season.
The Suns have constructed a roster of one year deals in order to free up the Benjamins for this coming off-season. However, the Suns may not have much to spend on players other than Steve Nash. This puts the Suns in a position to make a big transaction and hopefully grab 2-3 players that can make a difference.
But I want to focus on the parts we have now. Who will be holdovers from this 2012 squad next season? That is, who will survive the trade deadline, waivers, or a sacking (as it applies to coaches). Blast off:
Current Suns: Who Will be Around in 2012-13?
- Marcin Gortat and Steve Nash: No brainer, obvious two choices. The Suns will not deal Nash unless he somehow gets into a war with the FO and asks to leave. But Steve is a pacifist, and everything we have heard from the FO and Alvin Gentry indicate if anything, he may be extended for 2 more years. While Gortat is probably the best trade asset the Suns have, he's finally the big man they've been searching for the past 20+ years. He goes nowhere unless the return is obscenely wonderful.
- Markieff Morris. He's having a fairly typical season for a rookie. Inconsistency, turnovers, confusion. But the fact the kid has been in the starting lineup as opposed to the D-Leagues like his brother tells us Gentry and the FO like this kid a lot. The fact that he can stay on the floor longer than Earl Clark ever did bodes well. It's also a commentary on how bad Channing Frye is playing and how undersized Hakim Warrick is. Like Gortat, you don't deal what could be a key piece of your core unless the return is unreal. And Morris hasn't been good enough to get an unreal offer, and it would be terribly unwise to toss him in as a sweetener in a smaller deal unless the return is a beast.
- Jared Dudley. You don't find many like him in the league. He's smart, he's capable of shooting 40+% from beyond the arc, and he scraps and scraps and never gives up. Last year I would have put him in the "with certainty" category, but I get the feeling that he could be had for the right price. Just one of those guys you want to see in a Purple and Orange forever, but hell, even Dan Majerle got dealt as did Larry Nance. (Just two off the top of my head). Bottom line, it's a business.
- Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, Channing Frye. The Suns have saved their amnesty choice, so it is possible that Chill or Hak get waived, but let's face it, these guys are getting paid way too much and performing way too poorly for them to get dealt unless the Suns take a bath in the deal. I still think Frye can turn it on and has value, but if his shot isn't falling, who wants a big man who doesn't have an inside game or rebound? (def not New York or Portland)
- Sebastian Telfair. I like what I've seen from him the past several games. I'd sign him up for two years. There, I said it. He's quick, tenacious, and his shot is improving. A stable coaching staff and consistent playing time could turn this kid into a viable backup PG. I mean he's not going to turn into CP3 or anything, but viable backup, perhaps.
Good as Gone
- Robin Lopez. No surprise here. Inconsistent play, the ugly double T (prompting AG to utter the "S" word in public), no offer of extension from the org. If he wasn't in his final year, I'd say he'd be buried on the bench still from the latest outburst, but he's probably auditioning for other teams.
- Shannon Brown. I'm reaching here a bit. The Brown experiment hasn't exactly worked for the Suns. He's averaging below career averages in nearly every category. He's been inconsistent and out of control for most of the season. Nevertheless, he's young, explosive and capable of scoring in bunches. Oh and he's on a one year deal. I could see him being a sweetener in part of a larger deal. May as well get a little something out of him while he's still here.
- Grant Hill. I'm 89% sure Hill is playing his last season. He's nursing knee injuries and fighting off father time. Like Nash, unless he wants to go, the FO won't ship him out this season, that would be plain disrespectful to the man.What I would love to see is Hill retiring a Sun, then moving up to the FO and restoring some sense and respectability to this franchise.
- Michael Redd. The Suns cheap, reclamation project has shown some signs of life. But he's not his old self and may never be again. Unless he all of a sudden starts playing like an All-Star, there won't be interest. And IF it were to happen, it's more likely the Suns would want him around for a playoff push. If there was one.
- Ronnie Price. He's an excellent defender, a high energy guy, a great locker room guy. Which is why he's valuable. Like consistent scorers, excellent defenders are difficult to find. He's cheap and dedicated, which is probably why the Suns would want to hang on to him. Still, he could be NutraSweet in a larger deal.
- Alvin Gentry. Everyone has an opinion on Gentry. Is this season his fault? Is he a coach best suited for a bunch of talented veterans? Are his rotation choices poor? How much of the Suns offensive woes can be attributed to Gentry? Are he and the FO getting along? I don't think there is any guarantee Gentry finishes this season as Suns coach and there's certainly no promise for next season. It is this writer's humble opinion that Gentry won't leave money on the table. The same can be said for the FO, who hopefully learned from the Terry Porter debacle.
- Elston Turner. The "defensive coordinator" of the Suns received plenty of credit at the outset of the season when the Suns ranked high atop the NBA in defense. But what has happened? Have the players tuned him out? Are they just not executing? How much of the Suns defensive trouble can be attributed to Turner?