And so it begins.
The Phoenix Suns are in the process of rebuilding their basketball team. Although I continue to proffer the belief they have been rebuilding since the Terry Porter hire, the trading of Shaq to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a player that may retire, a player that will be bought out and a 2nd round pick in 2010’s NBA draft should be a warning to all the citizens of Planet Orange: the meteor is here.
Shaquille O’Neal’s salary was prohibitive, a metaphorical noose around the necks of Suns ownership. The Suns will save over $10 million dollars by removing Shaq from the books. He was everything the Suns thought he would be and everything the Suns thought he was got him traded. Old, overpaid and being a defensive liability is no way to go through a rebuilding phase when you know you’re not headed anywhere.
And that’s why the Suns moved him. If the Suns aren’t going anywhere with Shaq, why would they keep him? To sell tickets, you say? All the tickets and tea in China will not keep the Suns from paying a huge luxury tax with Shaq while still missing the playoffs. And this certain knowledge, this fait accompli, is why Shaq was moved.
It will not stop with Shaq; it should not stop with Shaq.
Rumors persist in regard to Amare Stoudemire and his future with the Suns. The Sun Tzu disciple appears to be headed out of town. (S)tanding (T)all (A)nd (T)alented is an appropriate acronym for a player that will be coveted by some teams but buyer beware: (S)un (T)zu (A)bhorred (T)orpidity.
Amare is slow and sluggish on the defensive end of the floor and I’m not talking about his physical prowess. And although it’s not like Amare is dumb – he is not – he is mentally dull when defending and that does not appear to be changing. Add this together with a player that wants max-money and you have the perfect storm for a “talent-dump.” The Suns do not appear to be interested in giving Stoudemire a long-term deal because of his knees, because of his eye-surgery, because of his immaturity and because of his aforementioned torpidity. STAT and his TATS appear to be a palindrome of Suns history.
The Suns MUST get something of value for STAT. He is the most talented asset the Suns possess and, therefore, the key to the Suns competing in the Western Conference in the future. What those pieces are remains in the hands of the creators of Planet Orange. Only they know what is being bantered about behind close doors but, make no mistake, those “pieces” will comprise the planet’s core for the next five-years.
It will not stop with Amare; it should not stop with Amare.
The Suns should move Steve Nash as well and complete the trajectory of change. Declivitous though it may be, Nash without Amare does not compute. Why would the Suns sign an aging Steve Nash to a 2 or 3-year contract when the rest of the planet is exploding?
Better still, why would Steve Nash want to play for a team that is committed to change when that alteration will have a direct affect on his “good night, quietly?”
If the Suns move Amare Stoudemire, they must move Steve Nash and complete the overhaul. Shaq was a salary dump. Amare will be a talent dump and Steve Nash would be a resistance-is-futile-dump. An old Shaquille O’Neal, a disengaged Amare Stoudemire and an aging Steve Nash that misses the post-season is not where the Suns want to be.
It’s time to brake out the backhoe and begin the task at hand: rebuilding this team. It’s time to create a new Plan-It Orange.