Green: If you want to win, Robert Sarver, you must trade Steve Nash
Dear Robert Sarver,
You can’t win.
No, no, I’m not talking about your basketball team. Your Suns, we’ve learned, are not able to win enough to be relevant. In fact, they’ve lost so much that mediocrity is something to strive for.
What I mean when I say you can’t win, sir, is in terms of public perception. After all, it’s tough being an owner.
Back in the day you were thought to be cheap even though the team’s salary ranked near the top of the NBA and you were consistently paying the luxury tax. Sure, you sold some draft picks but whatever; you were still paying a lot in player salaries. The team was winning games and competing for championships so it was all good.
But you weren’t loved, and I’m sure that hurt.
Things slowly started to get worse and now, without winning to fall back on, the fans are starting to revolt. So I’m here to offer you a solution, a way to get back in the fans’ good graces.
You, Robert Sarver, should sign off on trading Steve Nash.
I know, I know, you’re afraid of what fan reaction to the move would be. Steve is the face of the franchise, a two-time MVP and still playing at a very high level. Furthermore, you’re not likely to receive much in value, thus the chances of “winning the press conference” are rather slim.
The problem for you is that as of right now, with the team struggling to gain traction and morale slipping, the general perception is of how you are holding one Steve Nash hostage. No, he has not requested to be dealt; that’s just not his style. And yeah, he has always maintained that having fun and enjoying his teammates means more than chasing a ring, but can you honestly say the 36-year-old is having fun these days?
Watching the games, talking to the guys, it is obvious that nobody is having much fun right now; losing tends to have that kind of effect.
Unfortunately every move that you made in the off-season has hindered any chance of improving things, as the long term deals to mediocre role players has left the Suns roster void of legitimate talent and tradable assets. So, knowing things will not get better, it is time to recognize Nash is not getting younger and it would be best, for both parties, to go their separate ways.
What are you going to get for Nash? Honestly, that’s not really important. The only way you can trade Steve and come away looking like the good guy is to send him to a contender. Now, I’m not saying you take back another team’s trash. Rather, accept the expiring contracts and draft picks, maybe a young mid-level type player and leave the negotiating table knowing you allowed your star to enjoy the game he so badly needs during this rough time in his life.
Of course, doing so will cause the team to be much, much worse than it already is. Yes, it will be Sacramento Kings kind of bad. Oh wait, the Suns already lost to that squad. Well, the point is the team will struggle to score points and attract fans, but if you’ve been to the US Airways Center of late (and I know you have) then you’ve had to have seen the product on the floor and the lack of spectators there to watch.
Now I’m warning you, Robert (can I call you that?), the backlash from fans will be strong. I’ve seen plenty of people say they will never watch another game if Steve Nash isn’t on the team. Of course, those people fail to realize #13 will not play forever, so even without a trade I wonder what they’d all do when he retires. But I digress.
Mr. Sarver, this season has not turned out how you had hoped or planned. I understand how hard it will be to admit that not only has this season turned out to be a failure, but that it is finally time to move on from arguably the most successful era in franchise history. All you’ve ever known since buying the team is winning, and trading Steve Nash will ensure that the Phoenix Suns will have very little success over the next couple of seasons.
But at least you would afford Steve the opportunity to play for a contender and possibly win a championship. Keep him in the Valley and nobody wins, trade Steve Nash and you both could come out ahead.