What are we going to do? (AP Photo/Matt York)

At the all-star break, the Phoenix Suns sit right about where we expected when the season started - a little under .500 with a handful of 'shoulda coulda' games in the loss column. We all know the Suns' biggest problem is a lack of overall talent. The fans know it. Opposing teams know it. The Suns' front office knows it. Even the untalented players themselves know it.

But that's not the worst part. To know it is one thing. To accept it, to talk about it with the media is quite another. Rather than saying "we're talented enough, we just didn't execute", the players discuss their own limitations in a way that's generally reserved for beat writers and bloggers.

"We are not a very talented team," Nash says, which was echoed by at least Channing Frye recently.

At least head coach Alvin Gentry has so far refused to play that card. He talks of hustle and effort as the difference between wins and losses, and he's right to an extent. I can count on more than one hand how many times this team has lost because they didn't work as hard as their opponent.

But this roster is not built to win games on hustle. Their two best players almost 40 years old. Their middling players are, in their late 20s, already past their "hustling" prime. The only midseason addition to the team is a guy in his 30s who was never a hustle guy to begin with. No, this team is not built to win on hustle.

So why in the world is the front office sitting on its hands?

They have a plan, they say. Sarver and Babby have said it before, and said it again recently. They don't want to blow it up because their research shows it takes 8-10 years to get back to the top once you've blown it up.

Instead, they want to remain competitive and retool on the fly. And that this summer will mark the start of that retooling, when they find $30 million burning a hole in their pockets (possibly more if they decide to eat Childress and Warrick's contracts via amnesty and release, respectively).

This is more money than the Suns have been free to spend since Sarver's first summer as Suns owner in 2004, and that one turned out quite well. But the difference between 2004 and 2012 is striking.

In 2004, the Suns were spending money to supplement a young core of Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Joe Johnson and Leandro Barbosa - none older than 24 and all with individual NBA awards in their future.

This time, the draft and free agency period is supplementing a middling core of Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris. Only Morris is young by NBA standards and he doesn't project to win any individual NBA awards in his future. But those three guys are good pieces to a larger puzzle. Either the Suns' puzzle or someone else's.

Of course, the Suns front office knows this. To get back to the top, they have to infuse a lot of talent. They know it. You know it. The players know it.

There is no present with this current group of players. And there is no future with this current group of players. There is only purgatory. No wonder they're not winning games on hustle. Guys only hustle when they believe in something bigger than themselves.

So I ask again, why is the front office sitting on its hands?

I understand, and wholeheartedly agree with, the plan to keep everyone on 1-year contracts for maximum offseason flexibility.

And I understand, and somewhat agree with, the plan to win as many games this season as possible without compromising the main plan.

But when you know your bench is not cutting it, to the point where every single non-starter has been 'DNP - coach's decision' at some point, why not scour the waiver wire, D-league rosters and the end of other NBA rosters for a diamond in the rough? What can it possibly hurt?

Jeremy Lin was available to every NBA team a month ago. Gustavo Ayon was available in December. Wesley Mathews was discovered this way a couple years ago. Sundiata Gaines, Reggie Williams, Anthony Tolliver as well. These guys aren't going to make you a long-term winner, but why not try them out just in case? This season could be about feel-good stories for a handful of guys who just need that chance. Could they do any worse than Brown, Telfair or Price?

With two weeks until the trading deadline and eight weeks until the end of the season, the Suns front office needs to make a decision and run with it. Hard.

There is no long-term value to keeping this roster exactly as it is through the end of the season. There's nothing more to learn about any of the players who will be let go this summer.

They are who we thought they were: not a very talented bunch.

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As progress reports are sent home and students are evaluated, the Phoenix Suns are playing the part of the third-grader racing to the mailbox after school to hide the bad news from his...

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The people still love him...

You would think that Steve Nash had a mortal lock on the top spot in SB Nation Arizona's weekly player power rankings for the Phoenix Suns. That's not the case, however, as Nash has been relegated to the number two spot. OMGOSH!!!

Phoenix Suns Player Power Rankings, Week 9: Marcin Gortat At The Top - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
The All-Star Game and break led to less games for the Phoenix, but the best players of the week are still no surprise. Now after the (hopefully) restful break, the Suns can get hot. As of the end of the week, here are this week's Suns player power rankings, of course with their previous week's ranking in parenthesis.

This version of the ranking covers the Wizards and Warriors games. You can guess who took over the top spot but I'll give you a hint: Nose.

What do you think?


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Steve Nash, NBA All-Star and subject of plenty of trade rumors.

Steve Nash has said he doesn't want to leave the Phoenix Suns. The Phoenix Suns say they have no intention of trading Steve Nash. So, when we see reports that the Orlando Magic are going to come after Nash at the trade deadline we can surely dismiss that as yet another NBA trade rumor destined to go nowhere.

Here's the latest rumor:

NBA Rumors: Steve Nash to be "Aggressively" Pursued by Orlando Magic, According to Report - Orlando Pinstriped Post
The Orlando Magic will "aggressively" try to acquire Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash prior to the NBA trading deadline on March 15th, reports Jarrod Rudolph of RealGM, citing "multiple sources." Rudolph says he's "not sure" what Orlando could offer Phoenix in order to entice it to part with its franchise player.

Now that we've established the Magic really want Nash and that the Suns won't trade Nash, let's go to the next level and discuss what kind of offer Orlando would have to make to blow Phoenix out of the water. In other words, what's an offer that Lon Babby can't refuse.

The obvious piece from Orlando is Jameer Nelson. Nelson is having a bad year but is a former All-Star. You can look up the numbers yourself. Nelson is making $7.8m this year and has a player option for $7.8m next year.

Maybe in a different environment, especially one that features point guards, Nelson could revive his career and if not, the contract isn't bad.

Nelson for Nash straight up ain't enough though so here's the kickers to make this a deal Lon Babby can't refuse.

Ryan Anderson for Channing Frye: Anderson and Frye are essentially the same player. They are both stretch four's who aren't great defenders. Anderson is having a better season so far but most importantly, swapping these guys saves the Suns a ton of money.

Frye will make $6.4m next year and has a player option for $6.8m in 2014/15. Anderson will be an RFA after this season so that gives the Suns more salary flexibility.

Nelson and Anderson for Nash and Frye...is that enough?

No.

Frye is a proven player who's starting to play well and while Andreson is nice, if the Suns were going to keep him it would probably end up costing about what they are paying Frye.

But throw in a swap for J.J. Redick who's $6.2m for next season isn't even guaranteed for Josh Childress and his remaining $21m over the next three years and now we are talking.

The Suns are saving a ton of money in a deal like this and getting control of a better player in Reddick and a better deal in Anderson and Nelson is exactly the kind of care-taker point guard you need while you rebuild.

Would the Magic do a deal for Frye, Childress and Nash that costs them Nelson, Redick and Anderson? I seriously doubt it, but if Otis Smith is calling me looking for Nash, that's the answer he gets.

By the way, just to be PERFECTLY clear, this is all just idle speculation. I've not heard anything or talked to anyone about this. This is just good, clean Monday morning rosterbation.

The chances of this happening are slim to none in my opinion but that shouldn't stop us, right?

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