Eddie Johnson: Suns front office is championship-focused, not just playoffs-focused

Jan 6, 2014, 11:50 PM | Updated: 11:51 pm
LISTEN: Eddie Johnson, Suns Commentator

Having tasted glory before, the Phoenix Suns have high standards.

They’ve made the playoffs in five of their last 10 seasons, making the Western Conference Finals in three. And over the last 25 years, the organization has secured a playoff berth 19 times, while once making the NBA Finals.

So, despite their three-season playoff drought, yet another postseason isn’t the only aim of the Suns front office, at least according to former player and current analyst Eddie Johnson.

“The Phoenix Suns annually have always been a playoff team,” he told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta. “They’ve always made the good run, they’ve always had the opportunity, they’ve always had the quote-unquote star player — all those things.

“The mindset of our (team) officials, I believe, is, ‘What can we do to put ourselves in position to eventually compete for an NBA Championship?’ And not just settle for a playoff berth.”

With rumors of a trade for a superstar now swirling more and more viciously, such an aim, Johnson says, should be kept in mind.

The Suns have four first round picks in the 2014 NBA draft and two in 2015, which has them in enviable shape to deal for an available star. But, Johnson warned, don’t expect president of basketball operations Lon Babby and general manager Ryan McDonough to make a deal just for the sake of capitalizing on a hot start. Instead, the team may well look to gradually complete their rebuild, rather than act hastily.

“You should always take your time,” he went on.

“If someone’s trying to send you someone, you should always do your research.”

If another team is offering a player, Johnson believes the Suns ought to look long and hard as to why he is being shopped. An impulsive move to the contrary, he said, would squander the Suns’ incredible wealth of future picks and young assets.

“With that mindset, I would think it’s build for the future continually and set yourself up to have an opportunity to get some good free agents without compromising the salary cap,” Johnson explained.

“I like the direction the Suns are going in. This team right here, I’m telling you, is a couple of pieces away from really contending.”

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