08 August 2012
Heading into this offseason, the Suns franchise was at a crossroads. The front office could continue going down the path of being a marginal playoff team and have a roster made up of veterans at the ends of their careers or they could go the younger route and start to rebuild in order to be good for future years to come. Luckily for Suns fans, the organization decided to go with the latter rather than the former.
What a difference a year can make. At right around this time last year, the Suns had an older roster highlighted by Grant Hill and Steve Nash in their late 30's and Michael Redd in his early 30's, but with his best days clearly behind him. Their average age was right around 28.5, one of the highest in the league and an extremely poor number to have for a borderline playoff team.
Less than a year later, the Suns are still considered by even the biggest homer to be a borderline playoff, but after the departures of Hill, Nash and Redd and the infusion of some youngsters like Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall and Michael Beasley, Phoenix now has a much younger roster. If the current roster remains in tack heading into the season, the Suns average age is just over 26. Phoenix could get even younger if they decide to deal Channing Frye or maybe even Marcin Gortat before the trade deadline next year.
Going with a roster with less experience couldn't have been an easy decision for the Suns front office, especially with losing two guys like Hill and Nash. Despite both guys being in their late 30's, Hill and Nash are still playing at a very high level and were arguably the Suns two best players last season. Not to mention, there are no two better leaders in the league.
With going younger, there is a huge risk of course that the Suns will lose more games and less people will attend games at US Airways Center as a result of no Hill or Nash. It was a decision that needed to be made though. For too long the Suns have been pushing back their rebuilding project.
The nightmare began the offseason after the Suns lost to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Amar'e Stoudemire left Phoenix to join the Knicks in the Big Apple and instead of beginning the rebuilding process by possibly trading Nash, an organization with no general manager led by owner Robert Sarver decided that they were still contenders in the Western Conference and went out to trade for Hedo Turkoglu and signed Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick to long term deals to replace the productivity left by STAT's departure.
The first month and a half of that season was a complete disaster. The Suns were struggling to win games and Turkoglu was one of the main reasons why. He was having issues shooting the basketball and was clearly overmatched defensively playing at the power forward position.
Luckily after just a few short months, they were able to get rid of Turk's contract by sending him and Jason Richardson to Orlando for Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, a first round pick and $3 million. It was a trade that the Suns clearly have won. Phoenix was able to buy out the remaining years on Carter's and Pietrus' contracts at a discounted rate and Gortat has turned into one of the most underrated centers in the league.
However, the Suns were still stuck with Childress' and Warrick's bad deals up until this offseason. The Suns were able to get the seldom used Childress off the books due to the amnesty clause in the new CBA and for whatever reason, the Hornets wanted Warrick as part of the deal that sent Robin Lopez to New Orleans. The trade brought back youngster Wes Johnson and a future first round pick in return.
The three big goals heading into this offseason for the Suns front office was to add youth to the roster, acquire assets in order to be able to make possible moves down the line and create some long-term payroll flexibility. They have done all three by adding Dragic, Beasley, Marshall and Johnson to go along with a slew of draft picks. They also have enough money under the cap for next offseason to go out and sign a max contract guy.
James Harden, anyone?
|< Prev||Next >|