Tuesday , Sep , 15 , 2009 Oly Sandor

Robert Sarver and Phoenix Suns could learn from Earl Clark’s five-year plan

Still, there’s no need to knock Clark’s confidence; at least the lottery pick has a five-year plan. Can the same be said for his employers, the Phoenix Suns? Other than the always dependable Grant Hill and Steve Nash, this once proud organization is riddled with uncertainty and dysfunction. Since buying the team, Robert Sarver has made quite an impression on the NBA landscape -and most of it hasn’t been positive …

Robert Sarver and Phoenix Suns could learn from Earl Clark's five-year planBreaking NBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News:
“Five years down the road I expect to be an All-Star in this league. I know I’m capable of it. It’s just hard work and determination.” (Earl Clark, Phoenix Suns quote courtesy of insidehoops.com)

My Quick Reaction: It could happen.

After all, Clark, with his athleticism and skill, could develop into the type of swing, who regularly appears at David Stern’s February get together. Of course, several promising rookies have called their shot and fallen short of expectations.

Still, there’s no need to knock Clark’s confidence; at least the lottery pick has a five-year plan.  Can the same be said for his employer, the Phoenix Suns? Other than the always dependable Grant Hill and Steve Nash, this once proud organization is riddled with uncertainty and dysfunction.

Since buying the team, owner Robert Sarver has made quite an impression on the NBA landscape -and most of it hasn’t been positive. Mark Cuban aside, he has become one of the league’s most visible owners, cheering ‘enthusiastically’ from his courtside seats.

But Sarver, never a big spender when times were good, has seen his banking and real estate portfolio crumble due to the economic downturn. With his core businesses floundering, it would be no surprise if Sarver has to sells the Suns.

Right now, saving money is the priority. Basketball has taken a backseat to the bottom line. For instance, talented first round draft picks, Rudy Fernandez and Rajon Rondo, were given away.

More recently, Shaquille O’Neal was dealt to Cleveland for Sasha Pavlovic and Ben Wallace. Phoenix bought-out both players, pocketed the cap savings, and has little interest in re-investing that money in new talent. 

Uncertain finances have also made it difficult for Phoenix to sign or trade Amare Stoudemire. GM Steve Kerr can’t open the vault and offer up a lucrative ‘max’ deal because the team’s vault is empty.

Making a trade will also be difficult. On the one hand, Kerr can’t get back equal value because Sarver wants to avoid taking on big ticket salaries. On the other hand, Sun-nation won’t let the club wrap Stoudemire in a bow and just give him away for expiring contracts and prospects.

All summer, the club and player have been unable to move forward. Not surprisingly, their standoff has caused further turmoil, duress, and uncertainty in Phoenix.  

Clark could be right and, with hard work, become an All-Star in five years. Almost everything else about the Suns’ future is unknown. 

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