I'm from England and I've been a fan of the Suns since I first started playing and watching Basketball back in 1992. All of my friends at the time became instant Bulls fans - Jordan was pretty much the only player that was well known in the UK back then. Sure, the Jordan era Bulls were incredible, but after watching as many different teams as I could, the Suns easily became my favourite. Barkley, KJ and Majerle... Amazing to watch.
Over the years, there have been many times when my friends would make fun of the fact that I was still following the Suns, rather than another younger, more exciting team, and encouraged me to support someone else. I can't do it - Orange and Purple are intertwined into my basketball loving DNA - but that is not to say that I haven't been tempted to change allegiances during some of the darker times.
With the recent announcements of the departure of Nash and Hill, I felt sure that the darker times were set to return...
But then I actually thought about it for a little while.
When the Nash / Lakers news broke, I was upset. I may have even uttered the word 'Traitor' under my breath... That, of course is unfair, and was said as I was fearful about the future of the team.
Then, Hill joins the 'Other' L.A. team. More disappointment.
After things calmed down, I tried to take stock of the whole situation, and this is what I came up with (obviously it's only opinion, and it worth exactly what you paid for it...) :
The FO have made some interesting and well thought out moves already this off season. The S&T of Nash generated draft picks that will be very useful in the future. It was clear the Suns were going to struggle to add the talent that Nash wanted around him, so best to at least get something for him.
Hill was never really going to stay if Nash left and to be honest, seeing Hill play without Nash would only serve to remind us that his old partner was no longer there. Best to start fresh.
I'm really pleased that Dragic is back - the Brooks trade was a bad move, and I'm pleased to see it undone. I believe that Goran can be the floor leader that the Suns need, especially after (what I feel is) the very shrewd signing of Scola. These two play well together and will hopefully provide some much needed scoring. I think Gortat will be able to play the pick and roll game at least as well with Dragic as he did with Nash.
Beasley? Who knows? If he signs, then how he'll fit into the rotation is unclear to me, but I'd rather have him than not.
I'm hoping that we re-sign Redd and Brown - I loved what they did for us last year, and feel that Redd will get his legs back and Brown will get more consistent if we hang on to them - plus, there is not a lot of talent left in the FA market.
Frye made some strides towards improving his inside game last season, and if this continues, I feel he will become much more versatile - especially if his perimeter shooting continues to be patchy.
Dudley is a personal favourite, just for his attitude and hustle, and Morris will hopefully continue to grow into a solid player - he just needs to work on his handle and stop turning the ball over as much.
With the players that we already have, and the prospect of cap space to add more depth, I'm convinced that we'll make the playoffs this coming season. We're also in a position to get better next season too.
I'll miss Nash and Hill hugely, but am quietly optimistic about the 2012-13 Suns.
It doesn't matter what my friends say... I'll always be Purple and Orange!