The NBA's trade deadline is today at 1:00pm AZ time. Just a few short hours away. After today, teams are barred from trading any of their players until the season is over.
Lost in all this hubbub is that the Phoenix Suns season is NOT OVER YET. It may feel like the off season, what with no games for the past week+, but it's just a break in the schedule. They have 28 more games to play, beginning Friday night in Minnesota. They have a winning record, and at least momentarily have the 8th spot in the West playoff death race.
But everyone knew the Suns roster is a transient one. It wasn't built for a long run. Rather, the roster was built as an accumulation of assets.
The Phoenix Suns came into this trading season wanting to flip some of those assets for a "disgruntled star". They wanted to supplement their strong core of players who already know how to win games (77-59, a .566 winning percentage since opening day 2013) with a star who can put the team on his shoulders and carry them into the playoffs.
But along the way, the Suns were smacked in the face with their own "disgruntled star" in Goran Dragic.
Wait, what? Dragic wants a divorce from the Suns?
The league's reigning Most Improved Player, Dragic made third team All-NBA last year in a shared back court with Eric Bledsoe. But more than Bledsoe, it was coach Jeff Hornacek's system that propelled Dragic and nearly all of his teammates to career-best seasons.
Now Bledsoe is healthy and the Suns added yet another point guard (Isaiah Thomas) for injury insurance and backup purposes. What was a time share at point guard in 2013-14 has become a fragmented mess for Dragic this season. All are excellent NBA players who deserve 30+ minutes of playing time a night, but none of them want to share the playmaking duties with the others.
And that's a real problem that has suddenly exploded all over the team.
In the span of one week in Hawaii during the All-Star break, the Suns longest tenured point guard flipped from the team's most "team first" player to the team's most "me first" guy.
In one week.
A week ago, he was fighting the good fight, playing out of his preferred position as mostly a shooting guard - and sometimes small forward - so that the Suns could get their best players on the court at the same time. It has been a winning formula for the second year running to have at two point guards out there at once.
Last year, when the two were healthy, the Suns went 23-11. This year, when the three point guards are healthy, the Suns are 26-18, despite losing 5 of their past 6 games coming into the break.
But now the honeymoon is over. Dragic is fed up and wants a divorce.
What if the Suns can't accomodate him, though? And worse yet, what if the Suns don't trade anyone by 1:00pm today?
Can the Suns possibly skip the trade deadline entirely without divesting itself of at least one of these points guards?
As of Tuesday night, what's already a difficult situation became even more difficult. Now, everything centers around deciding who to trade: Dragic or Thomas or both. In any package, the other tradable players would have to be included for salary matching purposes. So you can't do smaller deals for Plumlee, Green, etc until the Dragic/Thomas situation is settled.
And we're only talking a few hours to get that done. It's quite possible every plan the Suns have today falls apart because the other team pulls out at the last moment.
Every team knows the Suns can't just do nothing. So the lowballing will continue all day long. The Suns will hold out as long as possible to get a few cents on the dollar. What if no one calls the other's bluff?
The rest of the season is quickly shaping up to be a tire fire if nothing happens today. Last week, we grumbled about technical fouls, chippiness and dissatisfaction among the Morris brothers, Gerald Green, Isaiah Thomas and most everyone else but Dragic. Now Dragic has joined the fray, leaving not one happy person in that locker room. Not one.
As you watch the clock tick by, pray the Suns do something today.
Hope that by 1:30 today, the Suns are down to no more than two starting-quality point guards.