The Suns made me look bad by failing to reach the playoffs. I've had their backs all season, writing multiple times that not only will they reach the postseason, but they'll also be a dangerous underdog once they get there. Good thing I'm not paid by my accuracy rate. At least I hope not.
There are many reasons the Suns are taking an early vacation, too many for me to get into. But I'm not a 'focus on the problem' kind of guy. I like solutions.
It starts by thanking Steve Nash for all the memories over the last eight years and moving on. This isn't an easy decision, but it's the right one - for both sides.
Nash wants to make another deep playoff run or two before retiring, and the Suns aren't headed in that direction. Now that I mention it, it's hard to tell which direction the Suns are heading. They have a ton of cap space this offseason, but so do several other teams. Besides, who do the Suns have now that would attract a big name free agent?
I think they're better off taking their chances in the draft, and signing their potential point guard of the future. Goran Dragic is an unrestricted free agent who'll be looking for a starting gig somewhere. I'm also a big fan of Jazz shooting guard C.J. Miles, whom I believe could thrive here. It would also be a good idea to put in an offer on Blazers restricted free agent forward Nicolas Batum. That should still leave enough space to target Utah center Al Jefferson or power forward Paul Millsap; both will be free agents next summer.
Offering Michael Redd a three-year deal (with a team option) would benefit both parties. The Suns could use his scoring off the bench and positive influence on the younger players. Redd knows he'd be in good hands with the training staff here.
Shannon Brown won't have any trouble finding a place to land, nor should Sebastian Telfair. Those two guys deserve a ton of credit for the second halves they had, but are little more than stop-gaps for a franchise in need of rebuilding. It's time to look forward. Dragic proved with the Rockets this season he's ready to be a floor general for the foreseeable future. Miles is only 25 and still has a ton of potential. Those two alone would be a good start.
The Suns could also stand to upgrade their front court. Marcin Gortat is under contract for two more seasons, and although he faded down the stretch, he's still serviceable. How about going after Kris Humphries? Before you start booing me like you probably did him this season, Humphries averages 11 rebounds (4th in the league), to go along with 14 points per game. Don't tell me the Suns couldn't use those boards. Plus, he's only 27. What might make it tough to sign Humphries is how much money he'll probably want. He's making eight million dollars this season and may command at least 10 million-a-year this summer. If that's too expensive, Jordan Hill (I'm trying to make some friends in Arizona) would be a low-risk, high-reward option.
It may also be a good idea to gauge other team's interest in Channing Frye and Jared Dudley. A package deal could net the Suns an extra draft pick or cap space. Either is fine.
On a personal note…Nash has made watching Suns basketball entertaining for me since I arrived in the Valley (with no fanfare) four years ago. The last two years, he even put them in a position to go somewhere they had no business even sniffing (playoffs).
Steve, do yourself a favor and go somewhere where you can still be playing in May and June. You deserve it.