In a couple of posts I wrote in 2010, here and here, we determined that the best way to build a championship team was to get top 5 players. But there aren't many available, are there? We've already got two in Nash and Hill - oh, I know, they're old, but Nash is still the top point guard in the league, and Hill has to be top five defensively at his position. Anyone who watches Suns games knows this. But the window is closing. Our odds of landing somebody in free-agency this coming summer who is the perfect fit are definitely in the single digits, if not the fractional realm. So, I got to thinking - what COULD we do to get Nash his title?
So, here's my proposal. I'm not sure it's the best way, I'm not even sure it's one I would advocate, but it should open the discussion up. Here it is - get Garnett and Ray Allen in free agency. Sign Garnett for 2 years at 7.5 mil/ year, Ray Allen for 6mil/ year, resign Nash at 9 mil, resign Hill for 6 mil. Pick up a good backup PG, about 5 mil.year Re-sign Redd for a mil or two. Keep all the contracts we have, including extending Lopez for 5 mil/year for two years. Make all the contracts a team option for the second year, if you want.
But, you say, they're OLD! Biblical old! Geologically old! Competing with dirt old! And you'd be right. But stay with me on this. It would require that we carry a complement of 14-15 players. I believe it would give us the best chance to win a title in the Nash era, and it would prepare us perfectly for the future. And who couldn't root for a starting lineup that is collectively 182 years old? Follow me over the jump.
Our starting lineup would be Gortat, Garnett, Hill, Allen, and Nash. Four former and current All-stars and a should be future All-star in Gortat. Wouldn't you pay some money to see that lineup? I know I would. They start, and play 7 minutes or so, full tilt boogie. Then, we bring Frye and Dudley off the bench, and sit Garnett and Allen. Now, we have the top offense (this year) on the floor, as far as plus/minus. They play the rest of the quarter, and into the second quarter. At some point, you sit Hill and Nash, later Gortat, keeping the balance and keeping our talented but OLD core fresh. You could get time for Lopez, or put Frye at backup C, get some time for Morris at PF, even play Warrick at the three. Redd can come in and play fast and hard for limited minutes Maybe some time for Chilly in there. You would always be able to keep some vets on the floor to prevent meltdowns- in fact, they would all be vets. The last 5 minutes of the second quarter, you have the starters back in there to keep them limber and to keep the game under control. Second half, pretty much the same thing. Provided we can get an effective backup PG, we could spot substitute and keep the minutes pretty low for the old guys, while getting some burn for the youngsters under the tutelage of this team of masters. We would still have these guys on the team - Warrick, Childress, Lopez, Redd, Morris, and the unnamed but very good backup PG. That's 13 players. We would need another backup PG in case of injury, and probably our first round pick. Our salary would be thus:
Backup PG $5,000,000
1st round $3,000,000
Yes, it's over the cap, but it would put us as the 8th in salary this year, and probably lower next year. Some clever GM'ing and use of exceptions could probably exempt us from the luxury tax. It would be a huge draw, so Sarver would be happy. It gives ESPN something to talk about. And, at the end of the 2 years, it leaves us clean, with only Childress (PO), Frye (PO), Dudley , Morris (TO), and our 2012 and 2013 draft picks (TO) on the books for probably about $23-24 mil. At which point, we could re-sign the players we want to keep, like Gortat, and anybody else who proved their worth. We could be players in free agency, and if, in the second year we sucked (a possibility because of injury or age) we could use the expiring contracts to load up on some talent or picks. If this plan doesn't work out, we have attractive expiring contracts to trade to a contender who needs a push to put them over the top. If Garnett gets hurt, we have Frye and Morris as backups. If Allen gets hurt, we have Redd and Duds to backup. If Gortat gets hurt, we have Frye and Rolo. If Hill gets hurt, we have Duds, Warrick, and Childress. If Nash gets hurt, we're screwed, probably, but that would be true in any case.
It would be a big team. It would be a fast team. It would be a great defensive team. It would be a very deep team. It could compete with LA and SA - c'mon, Allen vs. Kobe or Ginobli? It could compete with OKC and the Clippers. It could even match up favorably against Miami and Chicago and the younger, fast teams because we wouldn't have to play anybody big minutes (except Nash, probably). A decent backup PG could mitigate that, and prepare us well for the future, possibly with the 2012 pick. And I think I went on the high side of the salaries, just to make sure we could get Garnett and Allen - they might take less just for the chance at a ring. So might Hill and Nash. So might a good free agent PG - he would be assured a chance to take over the team at the end of the two years.
So, it's an interesting idea. I hate Garnett, I really do. But he plays the game hard, and while he's kind of a punk, we could use that. In basketball terms, he's a stand up guy, and always works hard. Allen is a high character guy, he has chemistry with Garnett, and would drop right into a Nash led team. Moving like he does for 15-20 minutes a game, only to be relieved by hustle guys like Duds, Redd, and Childress would wear out even younger teams. I know there are perils, but really, how else can we utilize the last year or two of Nash and Hill's tenure here? It's definitely worth a discussion, which is why I'm throwing it out - for the discussion value, more than anything. But, it could possibly get us two titiles in two years, if we got some luck, and leave us ready to rebuild quickly. It doesn't require us to make any trades, or give anything up. Worth a shot?
Talk amongst yourselves.