There is a level of natural chemistry and camaraderie that you simply do not mess with...
When all the smoke and dust settled the Phoenix Suns opted to make the move to retain chemistry, flexibility, and the current roster that is responsible for the most surprising story in the NBA this season. In the end the Suns (32-21) did not have to make a move even though they had some cards in their hands.
The Emeka Okafor Card was a solid one to have, but in the end if there wasn't a great move to make did the team lose anything by not playing that card?
Obviously the answer is no all the while talking heads and radio hosts will have to fill time slots or airwaves with trade banter about the team that did not make a move with one if the better "assets" this season. They will question the team and float out their arm-chair GM theories that are golden and would have made the team an instant title contender, because of course they will. Why not? That is their job. Objectivity does not waste any precious moments in the world of sports.
Nearly every year the San Antonio Spurs and other wise contenders look around, ponder options, and maybe tweak things every so slightly. We saw that this year with the Nando De Colo trade that brought them back Austin Daye.
Those teams don't fret with the idea of the "big move" that steals the headlines. Rarely do those headlines pave the streets of a Championship Parade.
Over the off-season the Suns did their subtle tweaking by adding Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Ish Smith, and drafting Archie Goodwin. They made their splash landing Eric Bledsoe for a veteran role player and a pick. Like a thief in the night Ryan McDonough moved experience for youth and draft picks while forming one of the ten best teams in the NBA 53 games through this season. He was questioned then and proved to be ahead of us all. Again, he will be questioned, but this time for the lack of a move when he had more in his arsenal to work with this time.
This is not a video game.
NBA General Managers do not trade two 76 ratings for an 82, then trade the 82 with a pick for a 90, and then become a virtual contender off the couch.
What McDonough did was brave and in all likelihood the correct course. He sat down in the make believe fire the media created when he easily could have stood up. As a first year General Manager one of the hardest things to do is not make every move that presents itself as a potential season changing play. Look through history, even just recent history, first year or inexperienced General Managers like to swing big and often come up with nothing but air.
Sitting back with the sixth best team in the toughest conference in the NBA right now was the right decision. Especially with Eric Bledsoe potentially around the corner from a return to action.
The Thunder, Clippers, Trail Blazers, Suns, and Mavericks did nothing while the Spurs, Rockets, and Warriors made very subtle adjustments to their rotation. Who were the most active? The Bucks, 76ers, Kings, Bobcats, and Nets... There is a theme there.
Time will tell if the Suns made the right decision on sitting down and doing nothing, but I am trusting the guy that turned a 25 win roster into a playoff contender in less than a calendar year.
Reports and rumors are out there saying the Detroit Pistons are willing to trade Josh Smith. Would he be a good fit for the Phoenix Suns?
There's just a few hours left in the 2014 NBA trade deadline and you better believe smarter people than you and I are sitting in an office on Jefferson Ave. thinking long and hard about stuff like this. But hey, we don't get paid to make decisions. We just have fun thinking about them before they happen and opining on them after.
First, the report from Detroit:
Honestly, I can see Josh Smith having value to several NBA teams as a power forward who isn't asked to bear much of the scoring load (Charlotte, Houston, Cleveland, etc.), but at this point the best path forward for the Detroit Pistons is anything that gets them a do-over of its disastrous decision to sign Smith to play small forward alongside young bigs Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
Smith was just signed to a $54m, four-year contract by Joe Dumars this summer. He obviously isn't a good fit with their other bigs and is miscast as a full time small forward. Who knew!?!
The Suns clearly have the assets to make a run at him and I won't get into the salary cap stuff, but let's just assume it's doable. I'm confident it is and don't feel like playing Trade Machine Wizard. That's not the point here.
The question is about fit.
Josh Smith is both a flawed and incredibly skilled basketball player. As power forward in Atlanta he played at a fringe all-star level. He's super athletic. Plays great defense. Passes the ball and can run and finish.
He gets into trouble when he has to space the floor and when he takes bad mid and long range shots.
But I have to tell you, the idea of Josh playing the four with the Suns Slash Brothers backcourt is intriguing to me. He's still only 28-years-old and would cost $13m/yr for three more seasons. If Smith, Bledsoe and Dragic are your core and you have the role players and picks the Suns have...well, like I said I'm intrigued.
Imagine Frye, Smith, Tucker, Dragic and Bledsoe on the floor. FAST. DEFENSE. SPACING. PASSING. TOUGH. It doesn't work quite as well with Plumlee due to the spacing issues but both Miles and Len have potential to at least stretch to 15 feet and you can play Smith at the three against guys like Durant and LeBron with Frye on the floor for spacing. There's a lot of options here and a much better fit than in Detroit.
Obviously, from the Suns side you don't want to give up too much and honestly, I'd rather have Thad Young in that role if possible.
But guys with Smith's talent don't fall off trees and certainly not at the price the Pistons would likely be asking.
What do you think?