Fan's rant, open letter to team management, etc... The Phoenix Suns owe Steve Nash an opportunity to get something more out of his career than busting his as* for a .500 level team. Right now, the Phoenix Suns could trade Steve Nash to a number of NBA teams that would be able to provide some valuable players in return. Wait until the summer and let him walk away... get nothing. Oh, you want to save cap room for free agents in the summer? Who exactly do you think you can get? Dwight Howard isn't coming to Phoenix. Deron Williams isn't coming to Phoenix. With those two superstars off the table, who can Phoenix expect to sign that will make any difference for 2012-13? "We'll trade Nash if he asks for a trade"... OK guess what?? Nash is a gentleman w/ honor, loyalty & too much pride to ask for that. Be the "bigger man" here and pull the trigger to get him out of Phoenix. One more week to prove we are a team other players will respect and want to play for. Will they step up???
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I've been thoroughly disgusted by the NBA and player's union's inability to come to a compromise and get the season started. Not only did they each have 2 years to plan for this situation, neither side appears willing to bend on the issues that are important to making it a financial stable game again. This is not a win-win situation now - it's a lose-lose for both the NBA & the players. The players' rep is tarnished because you're all being exceptionally greedy and protecting their own interests. Can't say I wouldn't do the same thing, but at the same time, many of them are overpaid.

The owners are at fault in this situation just like the players are; if they don't want to pay outrageous salaries to no-name players (Eddy Curry, Jerome James) then they don't have to. In some cases, the owners need to pay for their mistakes in negotiating these poor contracts. There's just no way that a player like Curry/James should make what the top players are making - these are players just collecting checks.

What needs to happen:

- Players need to accept a revenue split no greater than 50/50. They are already the highest paid athletes in professional sports (on avg.).
- Contracts need shorter lengths.
- Contracts should not be guaranteed. Switch to a signing bonus model (or similar) like the NFL has so that players that who dog it after a new contract can get cut.
- Players need to shut up about # of practices, etc. Most of them play on a daily basis already so practices should be anytime/anywhere the coach demands.
- A salary cap is needed to prevent 3+ superstar players from corroborating to join super-teams. If they want to join a super-team; make it hurt them in the wallet.
- A heavy luxury tax should be applied to teams who exceed the salary cap. The proposal for additional taxes for multi-year offenders is also a great idea.
- Superstar rookies should be able to acquire a new contract/salary for All-Star appearances, MVP's, etc. without waiting until their 1st contract is over.

Until they reach a resolution, there will be no Suns trades, no free agent signings, no Steve Nash news... Nothing!

In addition to the players and owners losing money, as well as us fans missing out on our favorite sport, there are others who are being affected by the lack of games, such as: concessions workers, parking attendants, security guards, marketing departments, janitorial/cleaning crews, food & toiletry supply companies, online basketball odds makers, team writers, apparel suppliers and hundreds of other trickle-down businesses and individuals who support the NBA.

These are the real story of the NBA lockout... Not the owners & players.

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I've been a die-hard Phoenix Suns fan since I moved the valley back in 1997 & continuing today - through the days of Jason Kidd, Stephon Marbury, Shawn Marion, Antonio McDyess, etc. Despite my strong interest even back then, it paled in comparison to how I felt about the run 'n gun Suns of the current era w/ Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Something about that team drew my interest and had me watching games, reading articles and it even inspired me to start this blog.

I now feel that I know what it was that inspired me... Amare Stoudemire.

Amare Stoudemire - Phoenix Suns 

It took only a few weeks of the 2010-11 NBA season to come to this conclusion, but it's based upon the following thought processes:

  • Amare was completely raw coming out of high school in Florida and as a fan we all got to see him grow into maturity. Sure, there were some stumbling blocks, but he's a perennial All-NBA Power Forward candidate at this point in his career. 
  • Stoudemire played without regard. What I mean by this is that he didn't care who he was playing against, how reputable they were or how good they were supposed to be. Amare wanted to prove he belonged in the NBA by his dominating play - much like Blake Griffin in doing in LA right now. Amare wanted those moments more than others & challenged himself to improve his play in those situations. We all know about his deficiencies as well so before you comment/complain here that he wasn't that good, I'm already clear on those points.
  • STAT had the power.. Reckless on the fast break, spinning away from his defender, elevating in the lane - Stoudemire's dunks were a thing of beauty.
  • I find myself following the Knicks progress - not as much as I follow PHX still, but I pretty much ignored NY previously. I want to see if they are winning, if Amare is putting forth his maximum effort (as was questioned as his time in Phoenix) and see if Stoudemire can, in fact survive w/out Steve Nash. So far, it looks like Amare is who we saw in a Suns uniform - highlight reel material, 2x Player of the Week honors (already), 2 separate 5-game winning streaks & a winning record.
  • I don't feel the energy or motivation to post new articles & analysis about the Suns as frequently on the blog. The Suns are currently a mid-level team that might make the playoffs if they keep Nash around for the entire season. I'm also not a band-wagon fan - I support the team & players still and will continue to do so regardless of who is on the team or how good their record is.
  • The Suns management team decided not to provide a fully guaranteed contract to Amare in the off-season, while NY was willing - and I actually agree w/ this decision & the thought processes behind it. It's still early to determine how good of a move that was long-term (over 5 full seasons), but Stoudemire was worth the max contract the Knicks gave him. They messed up by guaranteeing it all too, but they got Amare Stoudemire and we did not.

I still love the Suns, but my interest has wavered a bit this season. Sure, Steve Nash and Grant Hill are still there, but it's just not the same.

I miss this... I am an Amare Stoudemire fan.

Amare Stoudemire - New York Knicks

Amare Illustration - Dustin WatsonThe Phoenix Suns have officially downgraded their 2010-11 roster - expect an announcement any minute. While Grant Hill and Channing Frye were retained, one of the biggest free agents of the 2010 summer has officially declared his new destination. Undoubtedly, the team is downgrading after reaching the Western Conference Finals and coming within a hussle-shot by Ron Artest of taking a series lead over the Lakers.

Amare was our guilty pleasure - the highlight reel player we love; but he was also our Achilles heel. Sadly, Stoudemire's journey w/ the Suns has ended and he begins a new chapter in NY.

In what had become a love/hate relationship w/ Amare Stoudemire in Phoenix over the years, Suns management put their foot down on the max deal they were willing to bid for Amare, but the New York Knicks provided the max 5-yr deal that ultimately cost the Suns. Whether you liked Amare or hated him, his impact on the team was unmistakable - he made them a better team.

Hakeem Warrick is a cheap replacement for Amare, but he's not going to put up the same numbers night in & night out. Expect some inconsistency from day one, but really, is that so much different than we experienced w/ Stoudemire?

I have no hatred or negative feelings towards STAT as he begins a new life in New York - in fact, I will continue following his career and cheer for him. He seems to have really matured the last few years and leaves a class-act in my opinion. He said Phoenix was his #1 choice if they wanted him, but it's obvious that this was not the case - Phoenix only wanted to guarantee a 3-yr max deal. The Knicks panicked over LeBron's indecision and made the first big move and perhaps they overpaid for Stoudemire, but considering it is NY and Eddy Curry is making $11.2 million, Amare is a steal. 

All the best Amare on your new team & personal goals.

Grant Hill - Phoenix Suns

Good news for the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, as forward Grant Hill exercised his player option for another year with the team. His salary is minimal at $3.2 million, but he's probably made enough on prior contracts that money wasn't really an issue for him.

In his 3rd year w/ the Suns ($3m salary), Hill helped lead Phoenix to the Western Conference Finals and within 2 wins of the NBA Finals. He routinely had the toughest defensive assignments (e.g. Roy, Bryant, Parker/Ginobili) throughout the playoffs and did a great job all things considered.

The 2010-11 season will be Grant's 4th w/ Phoenix and surprisingly at the tail-end of his career, Hill has played the most games in any 3-yr span since 95-97' when he was w/ the Detroit Pistons. Credit the Suns training staff for getting Grant back to playing shape & keeping him healthy - they have a nack for these things.

It remains to be seen how the Suns team will look next season since there are many factors up in the air - mostly Amare Stoudemire's contract & potential new NBA destination upcoming. I'm really not surprised to see Hill extend his time here w/ the Suns as I know he and Steve Nash have a great friendship and a lot of respect for each other. Playing w/ Nash is probably the main reason Grant is coming back - other teams could certainly offer him more money to compete for a championship.

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The Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs look to battle once again starting tonight in a best of 7 playoff series. The Spurs have gotten the best of Phoenix over the past decade, but we're hopeful that this is our year to exact our revenge.

Vulnerable in several areas and certainly aging quickly, the Spurs are not the same team from 2, 3 or 4 years ago. Tim Duncan is still playing solid, but his overall contributions have declined (or slowed). Tony Parker is coming off the bench, but not for any really good reason - he's still a Suns killer w/ the ball in his hands. Manu Ginobili is arguably the biggest threat to Phoenix advancing to the Western Conference Finals; how Manu goes, so do the Spurs. San Antonio has several role players who contribute in their own unique way, but overall they are weaker than previous teams. George Hill and Dajuan Blair represent the n00bs for SA, but the Suns should be wary of veterans Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess - both know how to play in the postseason.

For the Suns, they will need to control the tempo of the game and not bend to San Antonio's slow and deliberate style of play. They must also avoid getting their heads in the wrong places, as that could have a negative impact on the outcome. Yesterday is the past and they need to move forward as a new unit, one that has not faced the Spurs in the playoffs yet. Only a handful of players remain from the teams that battled (& cheated) in games' past so a lot of the series will depend on the performance of the newcomers.

Jason Richardson has been critical to the Suns 2nd half surge, as has Amare Stoudemire. Not to be overlooked, are Grant Hill, Jared Dudley and a slew of bench players who have been making a name for themselves and maintaining the uptempo style dictated by coach Gentry. The Suns are deeper than San Antonio and the bench will be counted on heavily to live up to their expectations.

Look for the games to be won by the team that controls the boards, gets offensive rebounds and gets to the line most frequently. If the Spurs are aggressive in getting to the free throw line, the Suns will need to counter and match them foul for foul. Stoudemire and Collins (or Frye) will need to rebound consistently in order to get 2nd chance points and points in the paint. Overall field goal shooting will likely also play a role, but the aforementioned requirements for winning will be most critical IMHO.

Prediction: Suns in 6 games

A must-see NBA highlight last night, the Suns' Amare Stoudemire dunks on Anthony Tolliver of the Golden State Warriors:

Amare's dunk was quickly dubbed the "Throwdown in Oaktown" and many are suggesting it's the best dunk of his career.  I'm not sure you could go that far this early - it's definitely one of the best in recent memory, but the timeliness itself has an affect on people's opinion. 

The dunk made Sportscenter's Top 10 plays last night and will surely be a YouTube hit as people wake up this morning to see last night's game results.

Let us know how you think Amare's dunk ranks among his all time greats.

In a public service announcement (PSA), Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash encourages people to conserve energy by observing Earth Hour.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 – Two-time NBA MVP and Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash has recently shown his support for WWF’s Earth Hour by filming a video that encourages people around the world to join him in turning off their lights for Earth Hour on Saturday, March 27th at 8:30 pm. He joins fellow celebrity supporters, NFL great Tom Brady, his wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen and pop-star Leona Lewis in raising awareness toward Earth Hour, the global call to action on climate change.

Read more about this event here:

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With all the hype surrounding Amare Stoudemire and whether or not he would be traded before Thursday's deadline, most assumed that STAT would be wearing another team's jersey to start his next game. Stoudemire played (& played well) last night @ home in a win for the Suns (vs. Atlanta) - this continues a streak of Amare scoring over 20 pts (now 9 straight games).

Even w/ his name being mentioned in trades w/ the Cavs & Heat for the past few weeks - he still remains a Sun & he's handled everything w/ extreme professionalism. He really has grown up Suns fans.

Despite all the trade rumors, however, Steve Kerr and the Suns thought they were better off holding on to Amare for the rest of the season. There were no moves that would've made the team better this year or in the future. Sure, they probably could've gotten a small amount of cap relief, but they would have essentially being saying to fans - "we quit". A quitting philosophy wouldn't bode well w/ fans or the current roster, including 2-time MVP Steve Nash. The Suns are competitive and capable of beating anyone in this league, w/ the possible exception of the Lakers - there's really no reason to think they can't get into the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs or further. Assuming each round is worth a couple extra million dollars to the team, they should make enough to help cover the salaries & decide over the summer what to do.

Phoenix has been a bit of a roll lately w/ the core unit of guys on the roster - this recent surge had to influence Kerr's decision to some degree. They are currently 6th in the West, which considering the talent some of the other teams have, is really not all that bad. The Top 3 positions are already set - Lakers, Nuggets & Mavs (in 4th, but will move back up). At least 7 other teams are vying for the next 5 playoff spots and projected seedings change almost on a nightly basis.

There's no telling what the summer will bring for Amare Stoudemire or the Suns, but Amare trade rumors are sure to pick up steam again once the NBA Finals are over. There are a handful of teams w/ a lot of money to spend so Stoudemire will have numerous lucrative options to pursue. The Suns could re-sign him also, but since they aren't looking to give him a max deal for the # of years Amare & his agent are looking for, it's quite possible he will be playing elsewhere in the 2010-2011 season.

Here's one fan who is glad the team didn't trade Amare, but is also hopeful they re-sign him during the offseason as well. I think he fits well w/ the team's playing style & would be sorely missed if he went elsewhere.

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The Phoenix Suns are coming off of two embarrassing losses in a row to the NY Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively.  In both games, the Suns simply looked like a team that didn't have much energy and/or were kind of on auto-pilot.  Against Cleveland, they looked tentative, avoiding Shaq & LeBron James defensively as if they had H1N1.  The game vs. New York was unexpected and really should have been a Win for Phoenix.  Former coach Mike D'Antoni certainly got the best of his former team (again).

The defense is the most glaring change in the Suns recently - they just haven't had the same intensity as they did when the season started.  No individual player is responsible for the change, but they need to get back to shutting teams down in the 4th quarter.  Against NY & Cleveland, however, they needed some defensive stops in the 1st & 2nd quarters to prevent getting down by so many points.

Phoenix finished their road trip at 2-2 and still own one of the league's best records, so there's no reason to panic right now.  Hopefully the two blowouts were a rarity and the team returns to its winning ways immediately.  They can ill afford to lose too many games in what is anticipated to be a very competitive playoff race in the Western Conference.  As many as 10 teams are currently capable of getting into the 8 available slots.

Leandro Barbosa has been slowed by injury so the bench is a little more barren (in scoring) than before, but that's no excuse for getting their a** handed to them the past 2 games.  The other role players should have stepped up & filled the void left by Barbosa.  This isn't to say that the starters were playing well either - they are the one's that fell behind early in the games after-all.

The Phoenix Suns entered a new era on Wednesday night some would say... lowered expecations era.  While the team is still exciting to watch and can play with virtually any team on a given night, many NBA analysts are writing the Suns off as a likely playoff team, but nothing more.  That's all fine & dandy, but the season is long, players get traded and really, anything is possible.  I'm not writing this team off until they're a) out of playoff contention or b) eliminated in the playoffs.  I expect good things out of the new squad and believe the Western Conference is open for opportunity (save for San Antonio & the Lakers).

Facing the LA Clippers in the season opener, the Suns got a chance to compete (for real) against a pretty decent team.  This was no exhibition or match-up where the teams would rest their best players; this was the real deal & PHX came to play.  Trailing for much of the game, the Suns needed a valiant 4th quarter to pull out the victory, led by their clutch shots and surprisingly effective defense down the stretch. Final score - 109-107

Coming into the game, I expected the Clippers to dominate Phoenix on the boards, but the Suns were close at half and finished w/ a 36-35 advantage over a formidable front line for L.A. (Camby & Kaman).  Grant Hill led all players w/ 13 rebounds, while Jared Dudley grabbed 7 & rookie Earl Clark 5 for the Suns.

Steve Nash was his reserved through most of the game, but came on when it counted (typical Nash). Without Shaq in the paint clogging up his path, Steve was more free to dribble penetrate and keep the Clippers' on their toes.  His amazing under-hand scoop layup to clinch the game was superb & vintage Nash, but his previous shots were just as important as the clincher.

Amare Stoudemire made a great play defensively to close out the game (yes, read it again) on Eric Gordon. While the play was somewhat questionable, STAT really did what he needed to disrupt the shot w/out causing the foul and giving Gordon 3 FT's.  Stoudemire didn't dominate the game, but anytime you're going up against Camby/Kaman, I think that's to be expected a little bit.  They are tough challenge in the post.

And while Nash excelled and probably saved the game, it was another NBA veteran who I think deserves the game ball - Grant Hill.  Grant helped set the pace early by getting on the boards, scoring and showing hustle to inspire his team. 

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Highlights from the Suns annual outdoor preseason game:

Just a preseason game, but the highlights don't show Phoenix too favorably. They are regularly out of position and being caught off guard on defense. I would hope we're better than Golden State overall at season's end, but we couldn't take care of this one. They probably could have one easily, had Steve Nash (1-6 FG), Earl Clark (4-16 FG), Leandro Barbosa (2-8 FG) and others just hit their shots. The Suns shot 40.4% FG on the game - that's not going to win many. Golden State only shot 42.2%, but was 43.8% 3FG shooting and 84.4% from the stripe (PHX shot 69.2%).

Solid outing from Suns' rookie Earl Clark, although a 25% FG shooting game is not going get him a lot of minutes come the regular season. He finished w/ 10 pts and 6 rbs off the bench, including 2-2 on his FT's.

Looks like the Warriors starters dominated the glass, w/ Anthony Randolph and Andris Biedrins pulling down 13 & 15 rebounds, respectively. This compares to the Suns entire starting frontcourt of Hill, Frye and Stoudemire (19 total rebounds). Warriors guard (& rookie) Stephen Curry almost out-rebounded every starter for PHX (Curry had 7) - to be fair, he did play the 2nd most minutes of anyone in the game (Anthony Morrow played 2 more minutes).

The Warriors are a team in semi-friction mode. G/F Stephen Jackson is being a royal pain in the a**, demanding a trade and otherwise backstabbing his own team during games. After racking up 5 fouls and quite a few turnovers in only 10 minutes of action the other night, the team has suspended him for conduct detrimental to the team.

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The Phoenix Suns, already short on reliable players in the post, will lose 2nd year center Robin Lopez for 6-8 weeks due to a foot injury.

Lopez broke his fifth metatarsal—the long bone on the outside of his foot that connects to the little toe—in the second half of the team’s intrasquad scrimmage Saturday in San Diego. Team officials say the procedure to insert a screw in Lopez’s foot will be performed Tuesday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. Source: Yahoo Sports (AP)

The loss of Lopez may force the Suns to play Amare Stoudemire more at center, despite the ongoing feeling (from Amare) that he's a power forward.  He is best suited as a center though - that is where he's had the most success due to the mismatches in speed & athleticism he possesses. Additionally, the Suns latest acquisition, Channing Frye, will likely see the most increased playing time w/ Lopez out. Still, the Suns may opt to start Amare at the 5 & Frye at the 4.  Suns' rookie Earl Clark may also be required to contribute more from the get-go, instead of coming into the rotation slowly like Phoenix would prefer.

Not to suggest "releasers" remorse, but considering they paid Ben Wallace anyway, they probably should've hung on to him as an emergency (at the very least).  Not sure which big men are available at the moment, but Phoenix should look to shore up that position sooner rather than later.

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The 14th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Earl Clark, officially signed a contract w/ your Phoenix Suns last Friday.

An established big-game performer, the 21-year-old Clark averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds and shot 56.8 percent from the field in NCAA Tournament games during his final two seasons at Louisville.

Clark adds versatility and athleticism off the bench, but it is unclear how well he'll perform in the NBA. He will be a welcome sight off the Suns' bench, however, as their lack of draft picks over the last 3-4 yrs has left us watching the same players over & over again.  Some new blood will be good for the team.

Rumors are that Clark will not play in the summer league, although the exact reasoning isn't exactly clear.  He would certainly benefit from the experience that the summer league provides, although the pre-season will provide him ample time to get use to the pro game.

Other Phoenix Suns News

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