As the Phoenix Suns embark on one of their most important weeks in recent memory in advance of the 2015 NBA trade deadline, we should take a look down memory lane to see how they have fared in recent seasons in terms of trades.
When General Manager Ryan McDonough was hired in April 2013, he inherited a team with two proven NBA starters (Goran Dragic, Marcin Gortat), a couple of young players with unrealized potential (Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris), a number of NBA-caliber mid-career role players (Jared Dudley, Luis Scola, P.J. Tucker) and handful of NBA hangers-on.
"We need to upgrade the roster," he said.
In the 22 months since then, McDonough and President Lon Babby have major a series of trades to improve the future and depth on the roster, but have only brought in one new starter to the team.
Among all the trades, the Suns have only acquired two long-term starters (ie. more than one year with the team) in the last several years - Marcin Gortat (acquired December 2010, started for 1.5 years) and Eric Bledsoe (1.5 years). In fact, they've traded away as many as they have acquired.
They have acquired more starters via the draft than trades, in fact. Starters Goran Dragic (2008), Markieff Morris (2011) and Alen Len (2013) were all Suns draft picks.
No Suns players acquired via trade have been full-time starters for more than two years since Jason Richardson - and he barely made it. Before that, it was Stephon Marbury. Before that, Jason Kidd.
Many other acquisitions have started and/or were major rotation players, but their starting stints were stopgaps until something better came along. Gortat could even fall in that group, since the Suns drafted Alex Len to replace him before he was traded for a magic bean after a year-and-a-half of starting.
No wonder Suns fans are skeptical that any trade consummated in the next week will bring immediate help.
Across the league, trade deadline acquisitions rarely last long with their new team.
Andrew Bogut comes to mind. He was acquired by Golden State as a "future" player because they acquired him while he was injured.
Back in 2004, it was Rasheed Wallace propelling the new era of Pistons basketball that led to four straight Eastern Conference Finals.
I'm sure I'm forgetting some major trade deadline deals in the past 10 years with long-term impact on a franchise, but the point is that you can count on one hand how many have long-term impact on a team.
Can the Suns bring in a long-term starter at the trade deadline in the next week?
The next week will likely culminate in the Suns doing what they do best: kicking the can down the road on that superstar acquisition while acquiring more tradable assets and, most importantly, balancing the roster.