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In Valley sports, what a difference a year makes

I distinctly remember, on the 4th of July 2012, sitting at the Amazing Spider Man when my phone blew up with news of Steve Nash being traded to the Lakers. Oh, and the Suns were in hot pursuit of Michael Beasley.

That night, me and 48,000 of my closest friends enjoyed (if by enjoyed you mean lustily booing the home team, then yes, we enjoyed it) a Diamondbacks game in which they lost to the Padres and, in the process, were swept and fell three games below .500.

Oh and we were a month away from a Cardinals training camp featuring a rip roarin’ QB battle between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton.

It was a banner holiday.

A year later I can’t help but to look back and smile.

The Coyotes are staying, at least for now. It took four long years and four long hours of City Council…blah blah blah…but the Desert Dogs were finally able to mark their territory. Now, the grand experiment is about to begin.

Can hockey thrive in this town when an ownership group is committed to making it thrive? I hope that IceArizona has the resources necessary, both financially and creatively, to make this deal a win-win rather than lose-lose. Their last-minute concessions and agreements were game-changers and if they demonstrate that kind of verve moving forward, we might actually be onto something.

The Coyotes exist in a perpetual state of breath-holding though and unfortunately this deal alleviates only a little of that. Today it’s okay to breathe. Five years from now? We’ll see.

The Suns, meanwhile, took a bold step Tuesday in acquiring Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers. Tuesday, I went on a mini-rant, urging the Suns to do nothing this offseason because there was nothing worth doing.

In that regard the Suns are like my wife; doesn’t listen to a word I say but I love her anyway.

Truth is this is a fantastic deal for the Suns. Acquiring Eric Bledsoe — a rising young player whom Chris Paul has said needs his own team — for Jared Dudley and a second round pick is larcenous. No salary cap space has been sacrificed for the future as Caron Butler’s $8 million comes off the books in a year.

As for the popular Dudley, I liked him more as a person than a player. Giving him up to make this deal is more than worth it.

It jams up the backcourt a bit with Goran Dragic, though many teams are moving toward two point-guard lineups. They’ll have to decide how much of their cap space they want to devote to Bledsoe. And there’s that little matter that now the Suns are too good to be bad, and while that is dismissed by many as a weak argument, I find validity in it.

But if this is the kind of decision making and deal making we can expect from Ryan McDonough, the Suns found themselves a keeper of a GM.

The Cardinals are less than a month from training camp. The Flagstaff decision doesn’t excite me, but the Carson Palmer decision does. It ensures an August of anticipation and not one of slogging through preseason games searching under rocks for quarterbacks that don’t exist.

Plus, the Cardinals just donated $100,000 to the Arizona 100 Club in response to the horrible Yarnell tragedy. That’s the kind of move that endears a team to a community beyond words.

The D-backs? Well…they’re still in first. How, I’m not quite sure, but there they are.

Despite the fact they’ve gone 14-19 since May 27th, they’ve managed to pick up a game and a half in the standings since then. We’ll find out if Kirk Gibson and Kevin Towers have the skill and the duct tape to hold this thing together in the second half.