Reporting live from US Airways Center where the NBA lockout has been lifted and the Phoenix Suns are back in business. None other than two-time MVP Steve Nash is in the building along with teammates Zabian Dowdell and Robin Lopez.
No one has any idea what the players will do while they are here but we are staking out the hallway to talk to them when they leave. Members of the coaching staff have been spotted as well but apparently the coaches and players are not allowed to interact and we've NOT seen ANYONE breaking ANY rules.
Seriously, no rule breaking going on here.
WE ARE NOT KIDDING OR BEING SARCASTIC.
No one knows what other members of the team might show up today. It's believed that Jared Dudley and Channing Frye aren't in town yet and no one's heard from Marcin Gortat who could be at his home in Florida or he could be in Poland. He also could be in New Zealand for all we know.
Stay tuned for more breaking news as players ARRIVE TO THE BUILDING.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 12/01/11 12:17 PM MST ]
Here's video of Nash talking. There's more not on video. Story to come...stay tuned.
Phoenix Suns basketball player Steve Nash arrives at USAirways Center in Phoenix early Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. The league still hopes to open training camps and free agency next Friday, leaving both sides scrambling to get business finished in time.(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
With all due respect to my buddy Seth Pollack, the Suns' free agency plans for 2012 are alive and well. Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Deron Williams might be off the market by then due to sign-and-trade and extend-and-trade restrictions, cleanly outlined by Seth in yesterday's SBNationAZ article.
But here's the reason 2012 and 2013 will be very good to teams with a lot of cap room and a good, functional nucleus of role players that needs a star or two (ie. the Phoenix Suns):
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS from the loaded 2008 and 2009 drafts!
Think about at least 2 of those stars playing alongside Duds, Frye and the Polish Hammer for years to come.
Those guys (not including the #1 pick in each of those drafts) are your top restricted free agents in the next 2 summers. Teams with real cap space can sign these young stars to front-loaded contracts and force their original team to give them away, just like the Suns had to do with Joe Johnson a few years ago. He's been to multiple all-star games since then.
Next summer, the Suns have enough money under the cap to steal TWO of that first group away. They can front-load a massive offer or two to restricted free agents. Young stars around which to build a new contender.
Yes, some of those guys will sign extensions by next summer and be off the market. But the Thunder, for example, cannot keep Ibaka, Harden AND Westbrook after already re-signing Durant to a max contract. The new CBA only allows one max-contract extension per team, on rookie or veteran extensions.
Let's pick on the Thunder even more. Next summer, let's say on July 1 the Suns make big restricted FA offers to both Ibaka AND Westbrook at the same time. The Thunder couldn't possibly match both. BOOM, there's a star. If the Thunder match on Ibaka, then only 3 days into free agency BOOM the Suns drop a max offer to Kevin Love, who might no longer be in love with Minnesota. Or, if the Thunder match on Westbrook, BOOM the Suns drop a max offer on Eric Gordon whose Clipper team is saving their max extension for Blake Griffin. Or the Suns grab one Thunder star next summer, and wait a year for James Harden or Jrue Holiday.
There's your future contender, regardless of whether the Suns limp through the seasons at 20 wins or 30 wins, as long as they don't tie up any cap space this summer on more middling players.
Restricted free-agent offers are the future and the Suns will have the most room of anybody.