Like it has many times before, the trade deadline has been a major disappointment so far - which at this point should come as no surprise to super fans such as ourselves who dream of Kevin Love and wind up with a conditional 2nd round pick. So in the interest of entertaining myself (and maybe 6 or 7 of you) I decided to take a poorly edited look back at the previous 25 years of trade deadline deals made by our beloved Phoenix Suns.
Why 25 years? I don't know. Seemed like a good number. Also, for purposes of this article I stretched the definition of "trade deadline" to include the January and February months - effectively it was a shameless effort to get a few words in about the Suns 2001 blockbuster acquisition of Vinny Del Negro.
The 1988 Drug Excommunications
February 24, 1988
The Purpose: Edwards had been indicted by a grand jury on cocaine trafficking charges at the conclusion of the 1986-87 season. The charges were eventually dropped and Edwards returned to the team and his role as a starter but Jerry Colangelo clearly wanted to turn the page completely from a drug scandal that rocked the franchise.
The Fallout: Edwards helped the Pistons to the 1988 NBA Finals and played significant roles on their back to back NBA champions that followed. Ron Moore played 5 games for the Suns while in a somewhat cruel twist of irony Richard Dumas showed tantalizing ability during the spring of 1993 before succumbing to drug use that ruined his NBA career.
February 25, 1988
The Purpose: Humphries had been indicted by a grand jury on cocaine trafficking charges at the conclusion of the 1986-87 season. The charges were eventually dropped and Humphries returned to the team and his role as a starter but Jerry Colangelo clearly wanted to turn the page completely from a drug scandal that rocked the franchise. Yes that's the same two sentences as above with the last name changed.
The Fallout: Hodges played only 33 games for the Suns in a season and a half while Humphries helped on a few decent playoff Bucks teams. The trade did get the Suns the pick that snagged Andrew Lang though - Lang's Suns legacy involves being a third of the package that delivered Charles Barkley.
February 25, 1988
The Trade: Suns traded Larry Nance, Mike Sanders and a 1988 1st round draft pick (Randolph Keys was later selected) to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Tyrone Corbin, Kevin Johnson, Mark West, a 1988 1st round draft pick (Dan Majerle was later selected), a 1988 2nd round draft pick (Dean Garrett was later selected) and a 1989 2nd round draft pick (Greg Grant was later selected).
The Purpose: The Suns were a mess basically from top to bottom (drugs, man) and Larry Nance was one of their few viable assets. Being that Nance was a 29 year-old All-Star and the Suns needed a major reboot, a trade was made with Cleveland. Even though Kevin Johnson was a rookie and the 7th pick in the draft, the Cavs already had a budding All-Star point guard in Mark Price so losing one when the return was a star power forward was something they could get on board with. West, Corbin, and KJ were all rotation players for the Cavs but none was anything resembling a star.
The Fallout: Without getting hyperbolic - it completely and utterly changed the course of the Suns franchise. Immediately after the deal the Suns lost 9 straight games, after that they finished the season on a 11-10 run (pretty damn good for a team that would finish 28-54) but that was just the beginning. The team added Tom Chambers the next offseason, used the Cavs first round pick on Dan Majerle and became a 55-win Western Conference Finals team.
The trade wound up decent for the Cavs too - after making the playoffs just 1 time in 9 years they missed the playoffs just once in Larry Nance's 7 seasons with the team. They also got to eventually fleece the Suns for Dan Majerle.
Get A Rench(er) - February 22, 1996
The Purpose: Average teams (the Suns finished 41-41 while Miami finished 42-40) swap a rookie guard for a veteran guard. Since you probably don't know, remember, or care - Rencher was the rookie while Smith was the veteran. Really I feel like the Suns just wanted to end their 7 year drought of not making a February trade.
The Fallout: Rencher played 8 total minutes for the Suns and never played in the NBA again while Smith played 25 games for the Heat. I've still yet to see a Terrance Rencher throwback Suns jersey. If and when I do I'm anointing that person the best Suns fan on earth.
Towel Throwing Earns Ticket Out of Town - January 10, 1997
The Purpose: You cannot throw a towel at your head coach without drawing the ire of Jerry Colangelo. On January 5, 1997, Horry and the Suns were in Boston and during a timeout the mercurial (so many other words I'd like to type) forward chucked a towel in the face of Suns head coach Danny Ainge. That sealed his fate as he never played another game for the Suns.
The Fallout: I really wish that was the last we heard of Robert Horry. He was a Suns killer before the trade (winning two titles with Houston), a Suns killer while an actual Phoenix Sun, and a Suns killer after the trade (winning three titles with the Lakers and two with San Antonio). May his hips rot in hell.
Ceballos could still score but as you'll see below, he lasted just 13 months as a Sun.
Dennis Scott was Briefly a Sun - February 18, 1998
The Purpose: The Suns were in the middle of what would turn into a 56-win season behind a core of Jason Kidd (in his first full Suns season), Antonio McDyess, Cliff Robinson and Rex Chapman and were looking for a little additional shooting. Ceballos had seen his minutes sliced in his 2nd stint in Phoenix so he was deemed expendable.
The Fallout: Scott hit 44.9% of his threes in the remaining 29 games as a 17 minute per game player. The Suns got knocked out by the Spurs in the first playoff series for some dude named Duncan and Scott did not return the next season. Ceballos kicked around the league for a few more years including the 1999-2000 season where he averaged 16.6 points per game for Dallas.
Jerry Indulges His Favorite Pastime - January 23, 1999
The Purpose: This is kind of cheating since it was before the lockout shortened season even started but basically the purpose was Jerry Colangelo's unwavering and eternal love for mediocre centers. Perhaps Jerry was of the opinion that the real reason for the Bulls second three-peat wasn't Jordan, Pippen or Rodman - no, no, it was the 7 foot 2 Australian center.
The Fallout: The mediocre center continued to be mediocre but this time he did it on a mediocre team instead of a team with Michael Jordan. Phoenix did make the 2nd round in Longley's 2nd and final season with the team but that had a little more to do with Backcourt 2000 (seriously) than it did the friendly Aussie. The Suns passed on a few years of crazy Ron Artest (think the era where he was applying for jobs at Radio Shack instead of attacking fans or breaking our hearts) for that.
Who Is Ruben Garces? - January 26, 2001
The Purpose: If you lose Penny Hardaway for the season the only real option to replace him is 12 year veteran Vinny Del Negro. The Suns needed guard depth and had to give up a bunch of guys that don't play - including two you've probably never heard of.
The Fallout: Del Negro was used as part of a deep Suns bench during the regular season (14.6 minutes per game) but saw those minutes evaporate in the Suns 4 game playoff elimination at the hands of the Kings. Ruben Garces went on to win 4 MVPs for the Golden State Warriors. Really I just wanted to see if you were still reading.
Selling Low On Joe - February 20, 2002
The Purpose: The 2001-2002 season was a transition year for the Suns, Jason Kidd was traded the previous July and the team was in the midst of a season which would see them miss the playoffs for the first time since 1988. With a youth movement afoot they were able to deal two veterans to a playoff-bound Celtics team in exchange for a rookie Joe Johnson and a 1st round pick.
The Fallout: Where Boston was impatient with Johnson, the Suns youth movement was the perfect fit for him. It took until his 2nd full season in Phoenix but Johnson became a 17 point a game scorer and, once Steve Nash came in Johnson's 3rd full season, a lethal three point shooter. Obviously a divorce was forthcoming but this was a great trade for the Suns. Rogers and Delk were solid contributors for a Celtics team that made the Eastern Conference Finals.
Thanks Zeke! - January 5, 2004
The Trade: Suns traded Anfernee Hardaway, Stephon Marbury and Cezary Trybanski to the New York Knicks for Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Milos Vujanic, a 2004 1st round draft pick (Kirk Snyder was later selected) and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Gordon Hayward was later selected).
The Purpose: Isiah Thomas wanted to save the Suns from the moronic idea they had to give Stephon Marbury a four-year $76 million dollar extension that would run through 2009. Pretty much anything they got in exchange from getting out from under that would have been worth it - dumping Penny Hardaway's corpse and getting two first round picks was just an added Isiah bonus.
The Fallout: Phoenix got out from under a horrible contract and cleared enough cap space to install Steve Nash at the point guard position alongside Shawn Marion, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Joe Johnson during the next off-season. Isiah Thomas: patron saint of Seven Seconds or Less.
Why? - February 19, 2004
The Trade: Suns traded Tom Gugliotta, a 2004 1st round draft pick (Kirk Snyder was later selected), a 2005 2nd round draft pick (Alex Acker was later selected) and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Gordon Hayward was later selected) to the Utah Jazz for Keon Clark and Ben Handlogten.
The Purpose: I did not understand this trade when I wrote Never ORNG. I still don't understand it now. The Suns traded 3 draft picks and expiring contracts for Keon Clark - who never played in the NBA again.
The Fallout: The only relevant piece was the 2010 first round pick which became Gordon Hayward - a player about 40% of you guys are obsessed with. My own personal curiosity on this trade did lead to Paul Coro sharing a brief anecdote about him asking Mike D'Antoni in 2004 where Keon Clark was, D'Antoni's reply? "Mars." Great trade.
End of Something - January 3, 2005
The Purpose: Cabarkapa was the Suns first round pick (17th overall) in 2003 and was playing some decent basketball for a bad Suns team until Danny Fortson broke him - here's a completely unrelated clip of Suns star Stephon Marbury breaking down an aging Dallas point guard with no future for a dish to Zarko. The next season the Suns discovered that the aging Dallas point guard did have a future, got really good, and didn't have space for Zarko.
The Fallout: Cabarkapa left the NBA after the 2005-2006 season but the Suns managed to use that Dejuan Blair pick in a draft-day deal to get Goran Dragic. That worked out alright. In case you're curious about the Aaron Gray pick - keep reading.
Gearing Up For A Run - January 21, 2005
The Purpose: The Suns were a surprise contender who needed veteran punch off their bench - all due respect to Casey Jacobsen - so they looked for it in the person of 34 year-old swingman Jim Jackson. New Orleans was horrible (they finished 18-64) so they had no need for an old guy, they instead rolled the dice on the youth of Jacobsen, Lampe, and I guess Jackson Vroman.
The Fallout: Jackson produced better than Jacobson - including hitting 45.9% of his threes in the regular season - but really came in handy in the playoffs where he was forced to start 6 games after Joe Johnson got his face broken. Just for the wow factor - Joe Johnson shot 55.6% (20/36) from three in the playoffs while Jackson saw the position "slump" to 51.6% (32/62). Though Jackson departed after the season none of the players dealt to New Orleans gave the Suns buyer's remorse. The Gortat pick was traded to Orlando for cash in what I can only assume was a long-con to bring Vince Carter to Phoenix 5 years later.
Wahltah - February 8, 2005
The Purpose: Like the Jim Jackson trade the entire intent was veteran depth for a surprise title contender.
The Fallout: McCarty was one of the first of many to become a victim of Mike D'Antoni's veteran bench graveyard. He played 28 games for the Suns and even though he randomly scored 20 points in a blowout loss to the Rockets, that represented more than 20% of his total Suns point production.
It Was A Trade - January 26, 2006
The Purpose: Tskitishvili, the 5th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft was a major disappointment for the Nuggets but he played for Mike D'Antoni in Italy so it was pretty much - hey I wonder if I can get anything out of this guy I had as an 18-year old in Italy.
The Fallout: He couldn't.
A Grand Experiment - February 6, 2008
The Purpose: For the Suns it was pretty much a perfect storm of rumored locker room discord from the max-contract hungry Marion (who could have opted out of his contract after the 2007-08 season), a desire to try something new against their playoff-foil in San Antonio, and a need to try to keep up with the suddenly resurgent Lakers who had just scored a huge trade for Pau Gasol days earlier. Phoenix certainly had ambitious intentions. For Miami they were absolutely awful that season (worst record in the NBA to that point) and more than happy to dump an injured Shaq. Yes I realize I'm oversimplifying.
The Fallout: Well the trade was a stunner. Remember that time Shaq pointed to his ring finger the day after the trade? The Seven Seconds of Shaq Suns went from the best record in the West on the day of the trade to 6th place by the playoffs. In those playoffs they were wiped out by San Antonio in 5 games. The next season saw coaching changes, as the Suns went from D'Antoni to Porter and then to Gentry, injuries (the Gentry-led Suns with Nash, Stoudemire, O'Neal got exactly two games before Amar'e was lost for the season to his eye injury), and a 46-win season that wasn't enough to make the playoffs. Shaq was dealt to Cleveland that summer.
Marion did not opt out of his $17 million dollar contract for 2008-2009 and remained in Miami until he was traded to the Raptors in the Jermaine O'Neal trade. He joined the Mavericks as a free agent before the 2009-2010 season and helped them win a title in 2011.
Sources suggest Marcus Banks continued to exist.
Blanks'd - February 24, 2011
The Purpose: Phoenix was looking to add a little scoring punch off their bench while Houston was looking to wear a ski mask, pistol whip Lance Blanks, and take everything he had. I refuse to commit more words to this.
The Fallout: Dragic had been struggling in the 2010-11 season after his breakout playoff performance but he got back to business in Houston. After Kyle Lowry went down with an injury in Dragic's first full season as a Rocket, the Dragon started 28 games while averaging 18 points and 8 assists. You may have heard he since returned to Phoenix. Aaron Brooks was not good for the Suns, grabbed his junk in the direction of a referee and spent the lockout season in China. He's since returned to the Rockets because of course he has. Mirotic was passed around on draft day until he wound up on the Bulls and is considered a good NBA prospect.
Cutting Bassy Free - February 21, 2013
The Purpose: Bassy had fallen out of the Suns rotation in an effort to get 2012 lottery pick Kendall Marshall some minutes so Telfair was readily available for trade. The Raptors were on the fringes of the Eastern Conference playoff race and decided getting a serviceable backup point guard was worth the cost of a large Iranian man and a 2nd round pick.
The Fallout: Surprisingly, neither Telfair nor Haddadi spurred their teams to playoff glory. Toronto went 4-9 in the 13 games the former lottery pick played in while Haddadi did nothing more than offer entertainment for Bright Side of the Sun during blowouts and become the first Suns player to wear number 98. Research indicates the 2nd round pick - which was supposed to be the less favorable of the Kings/Raptors picks - was shuttled along to the Bucks in all that J.J. Redick, Eric Bledsoe, Jared Dudley business. I've decided this means Sebastian Telfair brought the Suns Eric Bledsoe - don't challenge the logic.
Twins! - February 21, 2013
The Purpose: For the Rockets it was a space clearing move as they were attempting to free up a bunch of money for the 2013 summer. For the Suns they got to see whether Wonder Twin powers could actually activate.
The Fallout: That along with a host of other moves gave the Rockets enough of their sought-after cap space to get Dwight Howard while Canaan (a guard out of Murray State) has played just 20 minutes this season. Marcus Morris has become a sometimes effective rotation player for the Suns who excels in taking the most difficult shot possible. Tragically this move ended the Suns career of Luke Zeller (released to make room for Marcus) - who one brilliant GM once referred to as the best shooter in the world.