February 2009 - Posts

Breaking news today... Suns forward Amare Stoudemire underwent eye surgery to repair a torn retina and is expected to miss the next 8 weeks of Phoenix's NBA season.

This news likely derails any hope of the Suns catching back up in the Western Conference playoff race and making the playoffs.  With the new fast pace style initiated by Gentry, this will definitely set back the team immediately.

Why the surgery?
STAT dropped 42 pts on the Clippers Wednesday night and played in the 4th quarter.  He was apparently hit in the eye by the Clippers' Al Thornton, but continued playing.  There is also no mention of the injury in his post-conference interviews, etc.

"It's all about wanting to win,'' Stoudemire said. "Our performance tonight wasn't about the rumors wasn't about wanting to stay in Phoenix. It was about winning and getting this thing back on track. I've always stayed positive. My fans in Phoenix have always been supportive of me. It's been great so far.''

Suns brass appears to be supportive of the surgery, despite their likely regret for not trading him now.  Here is a quote from the team:

"We are very glad to hear that Amar’e should have a 100 percent recovery relative to his vision and his long-term prognosis is excellent," said Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr. "Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose him at this time. We are all very excited about the progress the team is making, but Amar’e’s health and the health of all our players is our number one concern."

I am still supportive of the team, despite this setback.  My fantasy roster is also going to take a killing, considering STAT was my 1st round pick :(

Posted by chowell | 2 comment(s)

Updated 2/16/09

The Phoenix Suns on Monday did what had been rumored since late last week - firing Terry Porter as head coach.  Assistant coach Alvin Gentry will replace Porter for the remainder of the season.

For Suns fans, the change at coach could signify a return to the run 'n gun team that we've been accustomed to seeing the past 5 yrs.  Gentry is the lone holdout in the coaching staff from the D'Antoni days and prefers the uptempo style that made the Suns so popular prior to this season.

It is still unclear if the team will try to make a move before the trade deadline, considering they've already changed the head coach, but anything is possible.  The team is facing some financial hardships next season, especially if they fail to make the playoffs this year and/or advance past the 1st round.  Amare Stoudemire has the most trade value and largest "on the books" contract, so moving him will reduce the long-term debt the team faces.

With Shaquille O'Neal's stellar (and nimble) play in Sunday's All-Star game, he may have elevated his trade value as well.  The Suns would be wise to listen to ANY offers for Shaq.  With $20+ million on the cap for next year, not to mention the remainder of this year's contract, he would give the team more immediate financial relief.  Of course, any trade would have to be equitable in terms of $ value, so the team would still likely be on the hook for this year, regardless of who they bring in, but would save money next year if one or more of those pick-up's contract expires at the end of this year.

Ultimately, what I think led to Porter's demise was the way he carried himself w/ the players and his choices for his coaching staff. Not to knock the assistants too much, but Dan Majerle had no prior experience and Bill Cartwright had gotten himself fired in Chicago, so it isn't like he had a staff w/ winning experience.  Yes, these guys won on the court as players, but they had no coaching experience that was meaningful. 

Porter was also too "friendly" to the existing players and/or lacked the backbone to make them play his way - or not play at all.  Defense was supposed to be the theme of this year's team, but they never really showed it.  If it was so important to the team, then Porter should've talked to GM Steve Kerr and requested to sit players who were not participating on the defensive side of the ball.  Granted, he shouldn't have to "ask" Kerr to do anything since he is the coach, but as a 1st year coach w/ an established group of players, he would've been off his rocker to bench Amare, Shaq or Nash w/out the GM's blessing.

Porter's short-term gig w/ the Suns is unfortunate, but best for the franchise in the long run.  The team was simply unresponsive to the changes Porter was suppose to have brought w/ him from the Pistons.  It was evident fairly early in the season that this situation was not going to work out (see J-Rich trade, etc.).

Original Post 2/13/09

Reports are abound this morning that current Phoenix Suns head coach Terry Porter is on his way out of the desert, despite only being employed by the Suns for a whopping 8 months.  The announcement of Porter being chosen as the Suns coach was in June of last year, so he's really served a limited role to-date.

The Suns are playing extremely inconsistenly - good one night, bad the next.  There are plenty of excuses being thrown around, from being in a new system, Shaq clogging the middle and poor defense.  I'm sure it is easily a combination of all of these things, as well as the pressure to win being thrust upon them by management, the media and us as fans.  They've been so good recently, that we expect them to win the same way they have in the past.

Suns Coaching Options

  • GM Steve Kerr has been rumored as a possible replacement for Porter.  Although Kerr has stated numerous times he has no interest in coaching, he may need to step in to help clean up the mess he has created by hiring Porter and trading for Shaq.  Of course, he could dig himself deeper, which would be a great excuse for Robert Sarver to go out and find someone else.
  • Assistant coach Alvin Gentry is also a possible candidate. Former coach (Pistons, etc.) and a leftover from the D'Antoni run & gun era that several of the remaining players still long for (e.g. Nash, Stoudemire).
  • Somebody else... Not sure who is available, but at this point, they need someone who will put their foot down and put these players in their place.
  • No change... Porter has only been coach for 8 months, during which point he inherited a roster unhappy w/ D'Antoni's departure, attempted to modify the way the team plays (not their strengths) and a trade of two key role players (Bell, Diaw).

If you watch the games, Terry Porter is a bum... and I don't mean that in a way that negatively, per say.  I don't see him yelling at players for mistakes, I don't see him even talking to the team or getting them excited.  He looks as depressed and unhappy on the bench as many of the players.

Btw... Did you see new Sun Jason Richardson pouting on the bench in the loss to the Cavs on Wednesday?  I thought this was an NCAA Champion, a competitor, a hustle guy.  In that game, he was neither.  He sat on the bench, covered his head w/ a towel and generally looked like he would like to be anywhere else but Cleveland (can't say I blame him however).

And of course, on top of the rumored coaching change, the Suns are also shopping anyone and everyone on the roster, aside from Steve NashAmare Stoudemire's name is the one that comes up most frequently in trade talks, but Kerr has indicated that they will evaluate any deals that are proposed.

Posted by chowell | with no comments
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Latest Amare Stoudemire Trade Rumors/Updates

2/18/09

With less than 24 hrs until the NBA's trading deadline ends tomorrow afternoon, the Suns appear to be standing pat, at least with regards to Amare Stoudemire.  After firing Terry Porter and returning to the fastbreak pace of old, PHX appears to be content w/ the core of players on the current roster.

I still believe the trade for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley will pay dividends down the road.  Both players bring energy and a positive attitude to a team that had finished last year on a sour note & started this year the same way. 

With nearly $30 million remaining on Shaq's contract, which ends after next year, I wouldn't be surprised to the see the Suns move him for a quicker, more youthful center who can run w/ the offense.  Of course, keeping Shaq would enable the Suns to play the half-court game against the Western super powers (Spurs, Lakers), but it also comes w/ a risk.

If you were Kerr, what moves would you make?

2/13/09

There was apparently a proposed trade w/ Memphis Grizzlies, to include Rudy Gay, Mike Conley Jr. and Hakim Warrick for Stoudemire (and possibly other inclusions).  The Memphis feeling is that the Suns are asking to much, so the deal was nixed.

Other possibilities include the Portland Trail Blazers, w/ names rumored to be Aldridge, Bayless and LaFrentz, and the Chicago Bulls w/ names rumored to be Tyrus Thomas, Noah and Hinrich.

Original Post, 2/6/09

Reports out this week indicate that the Phoenix Suns are shopping Amare Stoudemire, along w/ all other players except for Steve Nash.

Stoudemire has been less than superb this year, despite reaching the NBA All-Star Game as a starter in the Western Conference.  Unfortunately, the selection only adds to Amare's "big head" in terms of thinking he's the shit for whoever he's playing for.  And yes, he is the shit, but not enough... until he can play defense EVERY game, he will be a disappointment.  Offense is great, but you can't win if you're unable to stop the opponent... and the Suns have proved year after year that they cannot play defense when it counts.  As a core of this team, along w/ Nash, you would think STAT would step up and show everyone just how good he can be on a regular basis.  He's done it in flashes, no doubt, but he has a hard time putting it together in consecutive games.

The Suns in general are just lost... leading Sacramento by 50 in the 3rd quarter and then getting blown out by the Golden State Warriors.  Who is this team trying to be?  The Suns (Colangelo/D'Antoni) or the Spurs (Kerr/Porter)???   It is often unclear which identity the team prefers and/or plays best as.  At times, they look dominant playing slow w/ Shaq in the paint, but other times, they look like they don't know what the F they are doing.

Losing Amare would certainly suck, but if it means improving the team, you have to let Kerr do it.  Stoudemire is a max player, so the Suns are sure to get value in return for him (to match salaries).  The most interesting part of any trade, is if it makes PHX better this year or if it is a plan for the future.  Are they giving up already or making a move up the conference rankings?

Either way, I hope the Suns make a good choice.  They have a lot riding on Amare, but could also go several steps back if they move him (or other players).  The rematch against the Warriors tonight and the upcoming road trip against the East's best will go a long way in determining how the Suns roster shapes up at the end of the season.

Posted by chowell | 8 comment(s)
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The Suns demolished the Kings Monday night in an easy victory, 129-81.  This was the largest margin of victory at the Suns arena.  PHX was up by 50 pts at the end of the 3rd quarter, so the starters did not need to play the 4th and the bench maintained the lead until the end.

PHX was led by Jason Richardson (24), Amare (25) and Hill (14) points, respectively.  We dominated on the boards for once, 59-35 - not even close.  No Suns player had more than 9 rebounds, so it was a total team effort.

The team had reportedly participated in several closed-door meetings over the weekend after a demoralizing home loss to the (weak) Chicago Bulls.  Not sure what was said, but the effort displayed tonight showed that the players mean business.  Let's just hope this is the start of a turnaround and not just a one-game fluke.

Posted by chowell | with no comments
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