Steve Nash wants to stay in Phoenix

Eliminated from the playoffs, it’s time for the Phoenix Suns to look forward to next season. For his part, Steve Nash says that he would like to stay

After missing the playoffs, Nash could decline an extension if he is unhappy with the offer or the off-season plan. He wants to play four more seasons.

“My first priority is to sit down and listen to Steve and (Suns Managing Partner) Robert (Sarver) and hear what their wish is and what their plan is for the team,” Nash said. “I can be a part of us revamping here.

“I’m under the impression they want to talk an extension, and I do, too. Hopefully we can find ourselves in a position where we can revamp and be back in the playoffs and hopefully be a contender. Hopefully I’ll be a part of the plan.”

Nash, 35, still is a special offensive player. If he maintains his fifth consecutive 50 percent field-goal shooting season in the final two games, Nash would become the first player in NBA history to record three seasons in which he shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range and 90 percent from the free-throw line. Nash went from averaging 13.8 points under Porter to 19.1 once interim Alvin Gentry restored the team’s Nash-and-dash style. Nash’s assist-to-turnover ratio went from 2.6 -to 1 to 3.7 -to 1.

I have been critical of the Suns’ brass — namely Steve Kerr — all season long.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Are the Suns thinking about trading Amare?

ESPN’s Chad Ford said that they are in his chat yesterday.

Jason (Culver City CA) [via mobile]: What are the chances of Amare Stoudemire getting traded before the deadline?

Chad Ford: Last week I said 10 percent. But I think that was low. The more people I talk to in the league, the more I think it’s something in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 percent. Steve Kerr and Robert Sarver are taking a hard look at the team right now. If they decide to blow it up, Stoudemire will be the first to go.

Let’s see, you’re thinking about blowing the team up and your first move is to trade away your 26 year-old All-Pro forward/center? This is nonsensical. Why not trade away Shaq, who is 36 and due to make $20 million next season? Or Steve Nash, who is 34 and has just one more year on his contract?

Why would you trade away your best player, especially when he’s only 26?

I criticized Steve Kerr’s decision to break up that Suns team that was a couple of bench-clearing suspensions away from upending the eventual-champion Spurs in the 2007 playoffs. His first move as GM was to trade Rudy Fernandez to the Blazers for cash considerations. Then there was the Marion-Shaq trade, which forced Mike D’Antoni out, because he doesn’t know how to coach a slow-it-down team. Seemingly every move Kerr makes backfires.

The Suns are now 26-20, they’ve lost seven of their last 11 games and are hanging on to the #8 seed in the West. They are a shell of that exciting team that we saw in those playoffs two years ago and if Carlos Boozer can come back strong for the Jazz, Phoenix is in serious danger of missing the postseason altogether.

Now they’re thinking about trading away their best player, who is only 26 and entering the prime of his career.

That’s just great.

Suns’ makeover a work in progress

Steve Kerr took over as GM of the Suns in the summer of 2007 and his first move was to trade the rights to Rudy Fernandez to the Blazers for cash considerations. Obviously, with Fernandez on the short list of serious Rookie of the Year contenders, this was a bad, bad move. He came out of that draft with University of Wisconsin standout Alando Tucker, who has only played 48 total minutes in a season and change.

He then traded Kurt Thomas and two future first round picks to the Seattle Supersonics in a straight salary dump. The next move was his biggest — he traded Shawn Marion to the Heat for Shaquille O’Neal.

At the time, I thought it was a mistake to break up that Suns team that was a couple of bench-clearing infractions away from upending the Spurs in the 2007 playoffs. No matter how much of a distraction Shawn Marion was at the time — and as I remember, the Matrix was a pretty good citizen for most of 2007 — he was essential to the success of Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo attack.

Those Suns were fun to watch and, more importantly, they were damn good. They made the Western Conference Finals in 2006 and lost to the eventual champs in the aforementioned 2007 playoffs. Who’s to say that one more season wouldn’t have made the difference?

Steve Kerr, that’s who.

Kerr is well-liked and well-respected. I always enjoyed listening to his color commentary and found him to be quite knowledgeable. But in one and a half seasons running the Suns, I am not impressed with his skills as a GM. Sure, there’s a chance that Shaq finds the Fountain of Youth and, as Roland Lazenby of HoopsHype writes, this team will be suddenly able to put it all together in time for a serious playoff run, but right now they look like a mediocre team with a bunch of good players whose best years are far behind them.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine this Suns team, still led by Mike D’Antoni, with Marion instead of O’Neal, and Rudy Fernandez filling the wing. Is that better or worse than what we’re watching now?

2008 NBA Preview: #7 Phoenix Suns

Offseason Movement: The Suns signed Matt Barnes to a one-year contract. Barnes had a nice season for the Warriors two years ago (averaging 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds), but fell out of favor in Golden State and saw his minutes cut. He’s a decent three-point shooter (37% in ’06-’07) and is otherwise an energy guy with a pretty good handle. The team drafted Robin Lopez, the more defensive-minded of the Lopez twins from Stanford. (You know, Sideshow Bob.) He may be the future at center once Shaq hangs ‘em up.
Keep Your Eye On: Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq’s scoring numbers have been in a freefall since the ’04-’05 season. At that point in his career, he was averaging 22.9 points and 10.4 rebounds. In 28 games with the Suns, he averaged 12.9 points and 10.6 boards. Clearly, Shaq can still rebound when he wants to. He shot 61% from the field with the Suns, but his blocks have slipped from 2.3 four seasons ago to 1.2 last season. If he is committed mentally and physically, there’s no reason that he can’t play 60-70 games at a 15/10 clip. If the Suns can get to the playoffs with everyone healthy, they’ll be a factor. If Shaq is out of shape and the knees start to bother him, the Suns season is pretty much over.
The Big Question: Will trading away Marion ultimately pay off?
GM Steve Kerr took a big risk last season when he traded Shawn Marion to the Heat for Shaq. Two years ago, the Suns were a couple of bench-clearing infractions away from upending the eventual-champion Spurs. The franchise could have kept that group together, but Marion was an offseason headache and Kerr ultimately decided to take a couple of aspirin last year. We’ll never know what would have happened had he kept that group together, but it did seem like the window was closing as the Marion drama affected the team’s chemistry.
Outlook: Cautiously optimistic. If we’re talking about getting to the Finals, the Suns are one of those teams that needs everything to break the right way. The team should benefit from a half-season and a training camp with Shaq, and if he, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire can all stay relatively healthy, the team has the juice to go a long way in the West. But Nash is 34 and Shaq is 36, so chances are one will miss significant time, and that can’t overlap with the playoffs. The Suns have spent the last few years giving away most of their draft picks, so they are pretty much “all in” this season. If they don’t make a serious run, Kerr might decide to blow the team up and start over with Stoudemire as his centerpiece.

Related Posts