(Programming Note: If you're tired of rosterbation stories, scroll down to Ray's excellent Klay Thompson preview below. Drafting at #13 just might be the only that happens in the next 48 hours.)
OK, well that's that. Phoenix Suns' President Lon Babby has completely shut down the Gortat and Nash rumors. This is what I've been waiting to hear, and was surprised not to hear it yesterday in the press conference. Thanks Paul!
Does that mean the Suns' dealings are done? Likely no.
Does that mean the Suns are stuck in "playoff bubble" mode for the next 2-3 years? Likely yes.
I don't want Marcin Gortat or Steve Nash traded either. I love those guys, and finding quality replacements at C and PG is near-impossible. But we all have to admit that if you're not willing to trade fringe all-star talent for the promise of a better future, then you're stuck in no-man's land.
The Timberwolves are dangling a future star at the #2 spot in Derrick Williams. Sure, this draft is weak, but only 6 guys pulled out of the draft that were considered lottery talent. Even if you consider ALL six would be better than Williams, that's a #8 talent. The man is 6'9", 250 pounds, led his team to the
NCAA championship game Elite Eight, rebounds, blocks, runs the floor and shoots 3s with perfect, repeatable form. Oh and he's a great kid with great character.
Minnesota's problem is that they already have Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at his position. So they're trying to parlay this rare talent into a proven Center (or other veteran all-star-level big man). No harm there. Not working so far, though.
Minnesota's other problem is that they are a seive of information leaks. Every single thing they do, it hits twitter in milliseconds. And that's likely pissing off a LOT of people who would prefer their touchy stars not be bothered with maybes and could-bes. They've offered the #2 in exchange for at least Gasol, Bynum, Bogut, Gortat and Nash.
Hell, I've seen tweets from several multi-year-tweeting media types saying that Minny has offered the #2 to a dozen teams for their best players. So far, no bites. On Thursday night though? Who knows what will happen. LA, Phoenix and Milwaukee have already categorically shot down these rumors. But who else might pop up in the next day?
So, the Suns are NOT trading Gortat, Nash, Carter (releasing for 4 mill), Brooks or Hill (the latter two not signed for 2011). Hakim Warrick and Josh Childress contracts are too bad to trade as talent, and Gani Lawal, Garret Siler and Zabian Dowdell would only be half-mil salary fillers at best.
The Suns' tradeable assets now are:
1) Robin Lopez - young, 7'1", 260 lb C who played will in 2009-2010
2) Mikael Pietrus - expiring $5.3 mil
3) Jared Dudley - team player, cheap contract
4) #13 in 2011 draft
5) First-round pick in 2012 or 2013
6) $5.7 mill TPE (Amare)
7) $1.8 mil TPE (Clark)
And Coro even said the other day that the TPEs are unlikely to be used. Not the type of treasure-trove that nets a franchise player.
Don't be disappointed when the Suns only end up with a rookie at the #13 pick tomorrow. Best-case scenario seems to be to acquire another pick (with Lopez and/or Pietrus) so we have 2 rookies beg for playing time next season.