It seemed like every day the Phoenix Suns were popping up in the rumor mills. Shawn Marion’s name floated around most often even though Amare appeared to come the closest to actually being traded. In the end, the Suns managed to pick up Grant Hill and trade Kurt Thomas for a bag of balls.
Steve Nash can’t be too happy. With two or three years of dominant play left in his creaky body, Nash had to be salivating at the idea of playing along side Kevin Garnett. In terms of offensive skills KG and Amare are pretty comparable with Amare perhaps holding a slight edge. I say perhaps because while Amare has become a dominant offensive forward, he has had the overwhelming advantage of playing with Steve Nash. Sorry Troy Hudson. That said, KG is clearly the superior defensive player and overall leader. KG is the better all around player and a hall of famer.
The deal should have been done. If Kevin McHale was willing to take Al Jefferson, he had to be willing to take Amare, the Suns two number one picks, and role players. Steve Kerr, on the hand, did have a dilemma. Kerr is justified in thinking that the Suns can win a title without KG while holding onto a young franchise forward in Amare Stoudemire. The Suns arguably got jobbed in their second round series against the Spurs. If that series had turned out differently, the KG to Phoenix rumors would never have started. KG’s salary also would have pushed the Suns into luxury tax land. Suns owner Robert Sarver was not about to let that happen.
The problem is the Suns did not win the title last year and KG would have improved the Suns. You can’t tell me that a Nash, KG, Marion combo would not be the overwhelming favorites to win the Finals.
Okay, so no KG, but did the Suns find a backup point guard? No. Marcus Banks returns with Leandro Barbosa. As great a player as Nash is, he is getting old and needs some rest. Banks is just horrible and never will be any good. I don’t care if he averages 40 points a game in the summer league. I do like Barbosa, but he needs to be a starter and he looks more comfortable at the 2. All Nash needs is a steady backup point guard who can give him extended periods of rest in the regular season and perhaps 5-10 minutes a game in the playoffs.
Thirdly, after months of trade talk, Shawn Marion is back with the team. You have to wonder how the trade talks affected him. Marion wants to be the star but has been overtaken the last few years by Nash and Amare. When asked about the trade rumors, he has been saying all the right things, but you have to wonder how upset he really is. Marion needs to be at the top of his game for the Suns to have a chance at upending the Spurs and Jazz.
With all that said, I still like Phoenix’s chances in the West. They will battle with Utah, San Antonio and Dallas for the West. Depending on playoff seeding and perhaps a little luck, the Suns could win the title next season. I just think they could have separated themselves from the pack with the KG trade and the addition of a couple of role players. I hope Steve Nash gets a ring, but Suns management hasn’t made things any easier for him.