Is This the End of the Suns?
Amare’s reportedly on the block. Also, the Jameer tickle down, WNBA math and Flight gets to come to Phoenix.
The Phoenix Suns’ brass is finally figuring out what all of us knew all along: trading for Shaquille O’Neal and firing Mike D’Antoni was a [pretty bad idea->http://www.hoopsvibe.com/nba/overdribbling/consider-this-steve-kerr-ar47249.html]. Reportedly, they’re having a fire sale. The only person who is untouchable, strangely, is Steve Nash. Nothing against Nash, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and his undisputed status as the NBA’s best point guard has degenerated into an argument about whether he’s even top five.
The one player who the Suns should make untouchable, the guy who is only 26 and has all of the physical tools you could want your power forward to have, is Amare Stoudemire. Sure, his past numbers were a bit inflated by the style of play and a top-notch point guard, but the athelticism is still there, as is the mid-range jumpshot.
Of course, the rumors are that he’s one of the loudest dissenters in a locker room full of disgruntled players. The Suns were once the league’s poster child for all that was right with the game, excluding defense, of course, and now there are thoughts of breaking them up, wasting Shaq’s All-Star year, and starting over. Good luck with that, guys. By the way, maybe all of this means that Steve Kerr should lose his job. Just saying…
Nelson’s Domino Effect
It probably isn’t as fun for Keith Bogans as it was a month or so ago. He was the starting guard on an upstart team that was turning the heads of everyone in the league. Then he lost his starting spot to a rookie. No problem, the team’s still winning and there’s playing time to be had. Then Jameer Nelson goes down with a shoulder injury. At least there are still two All-Stars on the team, so it can’t get too bad, right?
Well, now Bogans will have to pack his things and move to Milwaukee. He was traded along with cash to the Bucks for Tyronn Lue. The good news is that the Bucks currently hold the East’s last playoff spot. The bad news is that the Bucks are still a losing team. The worse news is that they’re without Michael Redd for the rest of the season and Andrew Bogut for two months. The worser news is that he’ll be living in Milwaukee.
As for Orlando, I guess they think Lue solves their problems at point guard. That or Lue was the cheapest option available. I suspect it’s the latter, but their statement that Lue is "a veteran point guard who fits in well with [the Magic’s] system" could really be what they’re thinking. Of course their assertion that Lue "adds needed depth at that [point guard] position" is a clue that they just had to get a body into the lineup. Because "needed depth" doesn’t seem to quite fit when your roster only has one point guard on it.
As for Nelson, it seems almost certain that he will have season-ending surgery to repair the torn labrum in his right shoulder. His teammates and even the team’s owner are of the opinion that he should should it down and Nelson should be as well. As good as the Magic are/were playing, this was not going to be a championship season. So he should go under the knife, rehab, and try this thing again next year.
Nelson’s All-Star spot is vacant no more. Against my advisement, David Stern selected Ray Allen as a replacement All-Star. It’s not a bad selection, but I still would have given the spot to Mo Williams. So, if you’re counting at home, that’ll be three players from the Magic (technically, anyway), three Celtics and one Cavalier. Cleveland– despite having the second-best record in the entire league (they’re down only a half game to the Lakers)– has the same number of All-Stars as Toronto, Indiana and New Jersey. Those three teams, to put it delicately, aren’t very good. But hey, if the League likes it, I love it.
Other Odds and Ends
Elton Brand, after reports that his shoulder was healing just fine, is actually done for the season. He averaged nearly 14 points and nine rebounds for them. Not bad averages until you factor in that $80 million contract he signed in the offseason. Of course the Sixers, whose play had improved without him in the lineup, will probably get better now that they can play without having to worry about throwing the ball in to the post.
This is sure to add to the sentiment around here that I’m a sexist pig, but here’s a pretty interesting piece that points out some interesting facts about the WNBA. The salary cap in the NBA’s little sister league is $803,000. This is less than the league minimum for a three-year NBA veteran by about $20,000. So an average Joe riding the bench in the league makes more than the Sparks. This same article also notes that if you multiplied the WNBA’s salary cap by 13 teams, you’d get about $10.5 million. Stephon Marbury will make more than twice that amount for doing whatever it is that he does instead of playing for the Knicks.
Gilbert Arenas, everyone’s favorite crazy point guard, is shooting around and playing some one-on-one in the Wizards practices. I know they’re taking it slow with him, but it just makes you think that Washington is in full tank mode. You also wonder how many of their injured and sick would be participating if their season hadn’t lost meaning a couple of months ago.
To the delight of many, James White will be in the house during All-Star Weekend to participate in the Slam Dunk Competition. It’s not that Slam Dunk Competition, but at least someone in the house should do something that we’ll all be talking about the next day. If you’ve been living on another planet and don’t know why people are excited about this, here you go. Kids love the dunks.