From training camp in San Diego to the money-back guarantee game against Dallas, I was able to spend some time around the Phoenix Suns this season. While it was a privilege it was also eye-opening.
The Suns and head coach Alvin Gentry agreed to "mutually part ways" on Friday. Translation? Alvin was canned. But, if you look at the circumstances, the blame game goes a lot deeper than the Suns bench.
Of course, Gentry deserves some blame. In my opinion, he was too soft on these guys. 'Tough love' would've gotten a lot more out of this group, a la George Karl or Mike Woodson. Alvin recently took responsibility for Michael Beasley's struggles this season, saying that he "unfairly put the go-to guy label on him." Let's take that a step further...he should never given him the starting SF spot in the preseason. That may have just doomed the season. A guy like 'Beez' needs to be taught once and for all that you have to earn what you get in the NBA...nothing is given.
But wait, who approved the acquisition of Beasley this summer?
I blame ownership even more. Robert Sarver, by all accounts, is a great guy. But is he really committed to winning? I don't believe in the 'slow re-build' (aka: re-tooling). Instead of riding out Steve Nash's contract like they did, they should've ripped the band-aide and scrapped this team years ago. The NBA has no place for teams who win 25-35 games every year, never making the playoffs nor amassing any real assets (high draft picks/salary cap space).
In my opinion, Florida should be a microcosm for the league. You should be either a Miami (contender with star power) or an Orlando (a gutted team building from the bottom). All other franchises, like the Phoenix Suns, are just trying to keep the profits going while not winning anything of note. Eventually, their fans realize that.
Sarver saw the Beasley signing as a way of adding star talent at a role player price. Well, you get what you pay for. By accepting a guy like Michael into your locker room, you allowed for an inmate to run the asylum. Combine that with Alvin Gentry's buddy-buddy act, and you have the makings of a lost team.
I hope this summer the Suns do it right. They need to stop trading mediocre players for younger, draft busts (Wesley Johnson). Move every contract that goes past 2014 and acquire future draft picks. Do it right.
It'll be a rough couple of years, but it'll all be worth it.
Suns fans deserve a contender.