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The Suns will miss the party again if changes aren’t made

It’s always a bit of a kick to the gut when your NBA team
doesn’t qualify for the postseason.

After all, the NBA Playoffs aren’t exactly the most
exclusive party — more than half the league gets an

Pressing your nose against the glass to snoop on what’s
happening inside that party for two years in a row is
downright depressing.

That’s the boat the Phoenix Suns find themselves in —
dressed-up (for them) with nowhere to go.

It’s not as if the Suns are a social pariah that would
never considered for an invitation to the party — that
role is reserved for the booger-eating Charlotte Bobcats.
No, the Suns are right on the cusp of inclusion, and like
a slightly awkward teenager, they just need to tweak
their look a little bit.

The good news is, the Suns have money to spend at the mall
to freshen up their appearance in hopes of catching the
eye of the party’s host. The bad news is, most of the
stores they want to shop at have a very limited selection
of clothing left on the racks. This year’s crop of
unrestricted free agents isn’t exactly awe-inspiring.

The Suns organization is in a strange position. They’ve
potentially got $28 million of cap space to use when free
agency starts in early July. But, according to team
president Lon Babby, they’re also armed with a sense of
responsibility to do the right thing.

I understand the sentiment. Phoenix doesn’t want to spend
money just to spend money. They’ve done that in the past,
and that strategy has them on the hook for over $30
million to Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick.

But as a sports fan, when was the last time you bragged to
a buddy about your team’s fiscal responsibility?

“I know your team is having a parade today to celebrate
their championship, but my team’s got cap space, so suck

Yeah, that’s never happened.

Babby met with the media Wednesday and talked about the
state of the Suns moving forward. He mentioned that the
Suns will likely
match any offer tendered to restricted free agent Robin
Lopez. Babby talked about how he’d love to see Grant Hill
back in Phoenix…again.

And of course there’s the seemingly never-ending Steve
discussion. Will he be back or will he sign elsewhere and
chase a championship in some other team’s uniform in the
twilight of his career?

Babby said if it’s a win-win for both Nash and the Suns,
it’s something they’ll pursue.

The bigger issue is, do any of the above re-signings make
the Phoenix Suns a better basketball team closer to
winning a championship? The resoundingly clear answer is

Lopez is a backup center who plays spotty minutes, has a
limited offensive game and has battled foul trouble his
entire career.

Hill is pushing forty, and his remarkable run of health in
Phoenix after an injury-ravaged six-season stint in
Orlando showed signs of ending during the 2011-12

And Nash is in his late-30s, and despite playing for an
offensively-challenged team, put up almost two less shots
per game
this season than any year since 1999-2000. Coincidence?
Maybe. But more likely, Nash is losing his ability to
free himself for easy field goal attempts.

In other words, the Suns can’t show up next school year
wearing the same 9-dollar jeans and rocking the same nerdy
hairstyle and expect to get an invite to the big bash.

As hard as it will be, it’s time to empty the closet,
throw all of those clothes into a big plastic bag and
leave it by the curb.

Steve and Grant, thanks for the memories and thanks for
being great representatives of Phoenix and ambassadors of
the game.

The Suns are faced with a decision: have a pocket full of
money and stay home on Friday night watching reruns of
America’s Funniest Home Videos or reinvention.

I say it’s time to head to the mall and drop some coin on
a new look. The party awaits.