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Going Gorilla: The art of striking out - the Phoenix Suns are struggling to seal the deal with star players

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The Suns summer reminds me of the old baseball poem, "Casey at the Bat". What does striking out this offseason mean for the Suns immediate future and is this actually symptomatic of a trend with long term implications?

Probably better off intentionally walking this guy.
Probably better off intentionally walking this guy.
Image provided by Dustin Watson

This summer could have been better. No LeBron. No Love. No glitzy free agent signing (IT just doesn't move the needle). No blockbuster trade. The Suns are even struggling to re-sign what might be it's most talented player...

I had really high hopes going into this offseason, but have had to temper my expectations.

Maybe that's the problem. I set my expectations too high. This reminded me of a fictional character, the Might Casey, that had very high expectations placed on him... and failed spectacularly.

Phoenix at the Bat

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Suns this past July

LeBron was just a dream, but they still gave it a try

He won rings with the Heat and the Cavs were his beginning

The chase became a two team race that Phoenix wasn't winning

There was no decision this time, instead James sent out a letter

Without the foofaraw and hubris it was received much better

Their advancements had been quashed, but the Suns were far from done

So it hardly even registered that this had been strike one


While the Suns were courting James they were busy on the side

For they were in love with Kevin and they would not be denied

Reports throughout the media, and even on this blog

Placed the Suns in the discussion, though they were an underdog

Klay Thompson seemed to be the key as rumors ran amok

But instead the Cavs were gifted with a windfall of good luck

Even though the Suns were stymied they still had things to do

At least they took a swing and hadn't just looked at strike two


It was time to dig their heels in and negotiate a deal

But things began to go awry with an ominous feel

Phoenix used the market to determine what was fair

While Bledsoe's agent, Rich Paul, said he really didn't care

It didn't matter that there wasn't a max offer sheet

There is still another option rather than admit defeat

If Eric takes the QO it won't leave a shred of doubt

That the Suns just couldn't meet the challenge - Phoenix has struck out


The Suns don't necessarily need to hang their heads on the way back to the dugout (except possibly for the Bledsoe imbroglio). At least the team took some cuts instead of just watching the pitches fly by.

Still, the missing swings are piling up. As I wrote about in a Going Gorilla post earlier this month, the largest contract the Suns have signed since 2006 was 5 years and $34 million to Josh Childress. That's getting pretty damn close to a decade. Why can't the Suns seal the deal?

In 2012 the Suns gave a max offer sheet to Eric Gordon, but that was (in one of the most miraculous strokes of luck in the history of mankind) matched by the New Orleans Pelicans (then Hornets).

Later that year Phoenix tried to enter the James Harden sweepstakes, but they just didn't have the assets to contend with Houston's offer. The team has been very transparent that they have been attempting to acquire the right combination of assets and financial flexibility to be competitive in these types of situations moving forward. The team has explicitly stated that they are hunting down a superstar.

They are still looking.

This summer the Suns were on a short list of teams in the hunt for Kevin Love, but even before the confluence of total bullshit luck circumstances sent Love to Cleveland the Suns had never been listed as a favorite. The Suns were mentioned in the LeBron James discussion, but never as a real option.

The Suns seem to be in the conversation in every deal surrounding a premiere player, but is that really a good thing?

Have the Suns arrived on the big stage, or is that just an endemic point of view? Is the team actually in contention for these star players, or is this just a situation that reeks of desperation as the Suns put together underwhelming bid after underwhelming bid...

What do you think?

It almost seems like "team X" can use Phoenix to set the baseline for the player they are trading and then wait for the better deals to roll in. I guess a team needs to at least try, but is there a possible negative backlash from being associated with every single rumor?

I'm just ready for the Suns to hit one out of the park. Instead I might have to wait while the Suns are linked to other deals in the future that are ultimately consummated by other teams.

Maybe I need to be patient... but maybe that line of thinking is specious. After all, what fans are more patient than those of Arizona sports teams? The Suns might not be able to get national credibility, but Phoenix is widely known as one of the most miserable sports cities in the country. I've known hardcore sports fans here that died being patient, waiting for a championship that never materialized. In a way, patience is for losers. Winners don't need any because they're too busy winning.

Is it better to be linked in too many deals than none? Sure.

But it would be even better to get one done.