The date is July 2nd, 2004 and it was announced that Dallas Mavericks free agent guard Steve Nash had agreed to a 5 year deal with the Phoenix Suns, an up and coming team loaded with youth and potential.
Later that year Steve Nash won his first of 2 NBA MVP’s and helped construct a unique up-tempo, high octane offensive system that would later be dubbed “7 seconds or less”.
The Suns made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals where they lost to eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs. The series went to shambles faster than Phoenix may have anticipated with a severe injury to red hot shooting guard Joe Johnson.
But all was not lost in Phoenix. A team loaded with superstar talent such as Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and Joe Johnson.
But 2005 would mark the first event of many to come in the world of the Phoenix Suns. Instead of standing firm in their stance to match any contract offer to scorer Joe Johnson the Suns let him walk to the Atlanta Hawks citing it was more important for them to maintain “team chemistry”.
The Suns would surprisingly counter-act the loss of Johnson with the trading for Boris Diaw (a part of the sign and trade deal with Atlanta for Johnson) and signing of defensive specialist Rajah Bell.
In the 2007-07 season Phoenix lost to the Spurs in the 2nd round in what many call the “David Stern Screwjob”. The Suns headed into 2008 feeling as though the window was closing.
So Phoenix did what Phoenix always does, makes dumb front office and personnel decisions.
In 2008 they sent a disgruntled Shawn Marion to Miami in a trade to bring a broken down, problematic, post player to Phoenix. Yes, Phoenix who for years was a few wins from a trip to the NBA Finals due to their up-tempo pace traded one of their best defensive and offensive threats….for a low post player.
The experiment failed. It cost coach Mike D’Antoni his job and left the thinking in the Phoenix Front Office’s incapable hands. They hired Terry Porter to lead a more defensive minded, half court orientated Suns squad.
That didn’t last long. Nash became frustrated, Shaq was barely in shape and Amare Stoudemire suffered another horrific injury. Once again the Suns proved they could certainly out-dumb themselves.
Failure to sign any good free agents, failure to resign their stars and failure to give their fan base a consistent product on the floor. They failed to keep a strongly built team together.
In 2010 the Suns had multiple trade offers for soon to be free agent Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire had made it clear he was going to test the market. Teams such as the Knicks were vocal they were willing to throw max dollars to get marquee players in New York. Despite all of this, the Suns scoffed at all trade request.
Packages that included the likes of Jeff Green, Andre Igoudala, Rudy Gay, Oj Mayo and more all denied. Instead of coming away with something for Stoudemire, the Suns took the high road of idiocy and was left with nothing.
Who can blame Stoudemire for leaving? A team that buffed free agent signings (Marcus Banks for example) failed to take care of their own superior talent (Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion) and a team who made moves that set the team back (Shaquille O’Neal trade).
Below are some of the draft picks by the Suns that they either traded away for hunks of cash or just dumped to the curb.
2007 Rudy Fernandez
2006 Rajon Rondo
2005 Nate Robinson
2004 Luol Deng
A team that could have been stacked and primed to keep winning championships. It would have looked like this:
Starters: Nash, Johnson, Deng, Marion, Stoudemire
Reserves: Rondo, Fernandez, Dudley, Bell, Lopez
It’s sickening to see a team implode such as Phoenix.They say hindsight is 20/20 which is true, but the Suns lack foresight.
Bottom line instead of Suns’ fans celebrating championship runs we are all left with a bitter taste in our mouths of “what could of been” and “what should have been”.
Special Thanks to Terry Porter, Steve Kerr, Robert Sarver, Shaquille O’Neal and any other Front Office idiots who operate the Phoenix Franchise