Fresh off missing the playoffs for the first time in years, GM Steve Kerr and the Suns have officially made Alvin Gentry the head coach for at least the next two seasons. There is an option for a 3rd year, but he'll have to prove himself worthy to get that.
Not a bad move for Phoenix, considering the coaching talent pool available - seriously, is there a single coach you would take over Gentry? Didn't think so.
They keep the core group of guys happy, because Gentry will maintain the run 'n gun that has been so popular. Good move by management for the fans and the players IMHO. At the same time, I'm not sure Gentry can get this team any further than they are now. Shaq is old, Nash is solid if you can keep his minutes down, Amare plays 3/4 of the time (hard), J-Rich is decent, Barbosa is streaky and the bench isn't too good. Grant Hill and Matt Barnes are solid, but that is the extent of the team - 7 guys. Look at Cleveland, Denver and the Lakers - deep benches capable of stepping in and holding court. These are the front-runners for the NBA title this year and the Suns will have to make some moves to shore up the bench if they hope to contend next year.
Good to have a decision early on as well... last year waiting until the summer was a grinder.
The NBA has been awarding players, coaches and executives over the past couple weeks for their accomplishments to basketball this season. Among the winners, include many first timers, but we should get use to the fact that they won, because we will be seeing a lot more of them in the coming seasons.
2008-09 NBA Award Winners
MVP - Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Rookie of the Year - Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Defensive Player of the Year - Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Coach of the Year - Mike Brown, Cleveland Cavaliers
Executive of the Year - Mark Warkentien, Denver Nuggets
Really no surprises in any of these announcements. Lebron James was the best player from February on - bar none. Derrick Rose jumped out to an early lead for Rookie of the Year and never looked back. Dwight Howard has been a beast defensively all season, leading the league in both blocks and rebounds. Mike Brown led the Cavs to the best record in the NBA, so no alternatives there. The Nuggets' executive responsible for dispatching Allen Iverson and bringing Chauncey Billups back home deserves his award as well... just as the Pistons which player they'd rather have.
Howard and James, especially, figure to be listed on a yearly basis in the respective categories they won in this year. Rose may surprise people in a couple years and compete for the MVP, but is otherwise done winning season awards.