Gambo: Update from Italy
It's about 7:30 p.m. now and my dinner reservation at a Florence steakhouse is just not going to happen. None of the five girls that are with me on this trip - my wife, three daughters and one daughter's friend -- wants to get out of bed right now. So it might be some late night gelato for dinner. Amazing how much gelato the Italians eat. There are gelato shops on every corner and you always see people eating it all day long.
We made the 1 1/2 hour train ride from Rome to Florence today. The train was very very nice with comfortable moving/tilted seats and a table in front of you. Saw some of the Italian countryside -- I can definitely see myself spending more time, maybe a lot of time here, after I retire. Who knows maybe 6 months in Italy, 6 in Arizona. Wishful thinking now but I do realize why we are the only Gambadoro's to leave Italy and come to the United States. Italy is so awesome that no one wants to leave. Florence is the home of Michael Angelo, Leonardo Davinci and Galileo.
Tomorrow we have a full day tour to see all of the artwork and history of the city. We walked the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge with all the jewelery shops on the bridge and saw an old 15th century church -- Chiesa di S. Frediano in Cestello. Not much else today as everyone is tired. I will say that I absolutely love the hotel we are staying in although I wouldn't really call it a hotel -- it has 8 rooms -- and we have two right next to each other. The place is the Ponte Vecchio Suites and the woman working today is from North Carolina but moved here 35 years ago. There are no phones in the rooms, no bellhops to carry your bags and no staff at night -- you have a key to get you in and out of the building. But the rooms are absolutely spacious, gorgeous, with a kitchen, awesome bathroom with spa tub./...no wonder the five women i'm with don't want to leave the hotel room right now.
There are so many little stores everywhere so shopping in Florence is a must -- and many of the stores are on the bottom of apartment buildings and houses with plants on every windowsill. I imagine the store owners just close up shop and walk up the stairs to their homes.
I have been told that the food here is much different than Rome and that the bread is special because they use no salt to bake it. I will find out tomorrow. The food in Rome was sensational, I can't wait to eat here. I should be eating right now but those damn women I'm with.......
Here are some quick thoughts on the Suns -- I am all for the Suns starting over and rebuilding. The Shaq trade saves them money and that was the main intention. They were going to be so far over the cap this season and the Shaq trade saves them a ton (10 million or more) so I completely understand it. They were getting salary relief by moving Shaq and may be able to add a piece later (Von Wafer?).
They were not going to get quality young talent and a top pick for a 37 year old center making 20 million no matter how good he did last year. Plus Shaq needs to be motivated to play and if the Suns are rebuilding they weren't going to get much from him this year. They did try to get Cleveland's first rounder and seemed to have to settle for the second round pick in 2010.
Sasha Pavlovic is being bought out, although before I left I heard some rumblings that they could cut him and bring him back at a much lower salary. Ben Wallace may retire and he may not. If Tyson Chandler is healthy I would make that move for Wallace's contract If not then Robin Lopez is the Suns starting center.
I was the one who busted open the Amare to Golden State trade scenarios last year so it is no surprise to me that they have been revisited. But the trade the Suns were working on last year included the young and talented Anthony Randolph, this one doesn't. I have said all along if you can trade Amare for the right pieces then go ahead and do it, if you can't then don't.
Andres Biedrins, Brandon Wright, Marco Bellinelli and Kelenna Azubuike is a decent deal for both teams. Those players are expendable to Golden State so it's not a great trade, but it does the primary job of helping the Suns acquire some more young talent and starting over. The Suns have no intention of resigning Amare to a long-term deal and with his history of injury plagued seasons, it makes sense to move him now.
Getting newly drafted Steph Curry or Randolph would make it a great trade but that's not going to happen or so it seems. If Stoudemire and Shaq are traded then why not just complete the trifecta and move Steve Nash for some more young talent and a first-round pick next year. Nash won't want to play on this team and I don't see why they want to add two more years onto his contract anyway. If you are starting over then start over. Nash will be unhappy here with all the youth so move him while you can.
Earl Clark is a decent draft choice, he can play some defense and may turn into something special. Only time will tell. Like I said a million times it is time to rebuild and if they move Amare and Nash then they are doing just that. And I for one, am all for it because this expensive team constructed the way it was, was going nowhere. And don't forget that salary cap space will be available next year plus good young talent are assets that other teams covet so that opens up some options for down the road as well. Also with Dudley, Amundson, Clark, Biedrins and Hill the Suns are going to be able to play some defense....Now scoring could be a problem.