The Suns officially announced their 2014 NBA preseason schedule today. Here's a look.

Today, the Phoenix Suns officially announced their 2014 NBA Preseason schedule.  The preseason will begin October 8th with a home opener against the Flamengo, an international opponent and the champions of Novo Basquete Brasil.

The Suns will play seven preseason games in all, with three of them at home, and the other four on the road...including the last three in a row.

In addition, all of the games will be played against Western Conference opponents, save for the opening game against Flamengo.

The final preseason game will be played on October 24th, on the road, against the Utah Jazz.

Here is the complete schedule below, according to the Suns press release:

Date Time (AZ) Opponent Location
Wed, Oct 8th 7 p.m. Flamengo (Brazil) U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix
Fri, Oct 10th 7 p.m. Denver Nuggets U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix
Mon, Oct 13th 5 p.m. Houston Rockets Toyota Center, Houston
Thu, Oct 16th 7 p.m. San Antonio Spurs U.S. Airways Center, Phoenix
Tue, Oct 21st 7 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers Honda Center, Anaheim
Wed, Oct 22nd 7:30 p.m. Los Angeles Clippers Staples Center, Los Angeles
Fri, Oct 24th 6 p.m. Utah Jazz EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City
The Phoenix Suns announced a seven-game preseason schedule on Monday that begins against Brazilian team Flamengo and also includes six Western Conference opponents. Jeff Horancek’s crew opens...

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Last year, Suns GM Ryan McDonough (seemingly) traded down in the Luis Scola trade. This year, he is likely looking to trade up. But how often do trade ups pan out?

Outside of the Eric Bledsoe contract drama, it has been a relatively quiet offseason for the Phoenix Suns, especially compared to last summer.  At this time a year ago, Ryan McDonough had already landed Eric Bledsoe at the expense of Jared Dudley, and shipped Luis Scola off to the Indiana Pacers for Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, and a draft pick (Bogdan Bogdanovich).  By the end of the offseason, McDonough had made four trades, including a trade with Washington that eventually boiled down to Marcin Gortat for a draft pick (Tyler Ennis).

So why has McMiracle been so quiet this summer?  Last year, he had the advantage of coming into a situation where he wasn't attached to his players; he didn't waste any time cleaning house with the waste that was the 2012-2013 Phoenix Suns team.  Now, McDonough has spent a year with this team that he has constructed.  These are his assets, and he is not going to let them go in a trade for naught.  It's likely that he is biding his time, waiting for the opportunity to trade up.

By trading up, I mean sending out multiple players for one clearly better player.  An example that most Suns fans should be familiar with is the Charles Barkley trade.  Phoenix sent the Philadelphia 76ers Tim Perry, Andrew Lang, and future Suns coach Jeff Hornacek in exchange for Sir Charles.  Phoenix absolutely fleeced Philly, with Barkley winning the MVP that season, taking Phoenix to the Promised Land, and ultimately becoming one of the best Suns in franchise history.  This is the best case scenario for a trade up; The Suns converted three decent players (all of which were starters in the previous season) to a better player that significantly improved the team.

But does trading up always work out?  Let's take a look at some examples over the last few years.

Trade ups over the last three years

I tried to stick to trades that are clearly trade ups, with actual players being traded, not just draft picks.  So, for instance, the Steve Nash trade did not make this list since the Lakers didn't actually send out any of their players, and hence did not trade up, so to speak.  It gets dicey when you start playing the hypothetical game with how draft picks could have turned out, so we'll stick to what we know.  Three team trades are fair game, so long as they follow the few-guys-out-one-guy-in rule.  Some of these trades included other players coming in for the team trading up, but only if they are an afterthought of the trade (e.g. Lazar Howard in the James Harden trade. Sorry Lazar).

Andrea Bargnani to New York, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, 2016 first round draft pick, 2014 and 2017 second round draft picks to Toronto (2013). This is a trade up in theory, although it's difficult to associate Bargnani with trading up.  This is probably the biggest fail of a trade up on the list.  New York regressed (2012-13 record: 54-28, 2013-14 record: 37-45) , and Bargs did very Bargs-y stuff. Loss.

Andre Igoudala to Golden State (sign and trade), Andris Biedri?š, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, draft picks, cash to Utah (2013). This was a three team trade with Denver that involved some other parts, but this is the real meat of the trade. The trade was also a sign and trade for Iggy, but Golden State had to give up a lot for it, so I included it.  We've yet to see if those draft picks will come back to haunt the Warriors, but in the short term, I think it's safe to say this was a successful trade up.  The Warriors won 51 games with Igoudala last season, who helped shore up the defense (jumped from 14th best Def Rtg in 12-13 to 4th best in 13-14) and gave the team another ball handler. Win.

Luis Scola to Indiana, Gerald Green, Miles Plumlee, draft pick (Bogdanovich) to Phoenix (2013). Here's McMiracle at his finest.  At the time, this seemed like a pretty good trade for both teams.  As it turns out, however, Phoenix won this trade by a longshot, with Green and Plumlee becoming important cogs for the Suns.  Scola improved Indiana's bench, but he was overall underwhelming, especially for what the Pacers gave up for him.  Loss.

Brandon Jennings to Detroit (sign and trade), Brandon Knight, Khris Middleton, and Viacheslav Kravtsov to Milwaukee (2013). The Brandon trade is difficult to judge.  Jennings is the better of the Brandons, but their stats are comparable. Knight is also younger and is still on a rookie deal.  Detroit had the exact same record in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, so it's difficult to say that Jennings makes the team much better.  This has potential to change, but right now I can't really justify calling this one a win. Loss.

Rudy Gay (Hamed Haddadi also part of deal) to Toronto, Ed Davis, Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince, draft pick to Memphis, Jose Calderon to Detroit (2013). Gay was involved in just about every trade rumor in 2013, including one with the Suns.  Gay threw up contested long 2 after contested long 2 in TDOT, and eventually got shipped out 11 months later. Loss.

Joe Johnson to Brooklyn, DeShawn Stevenson, Johan Petro, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, draft picks to Atlanta (2012). Brooklyn gave up a boat load for Johnson, but the pay off huge.  Teaming Johnson and Deron Williams together in backcourt transformed Brooklyn from bottom-feeders to a top four Eastern Conference team. Win.

James Harden (Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Hayward also part of deal) to Houston, Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, draft picks to Oklahoma City (2012). This was highway robbery; Darryl Morrey took advantage of the contract disputes between James Harden and the Thunder, and came away with the All-Star he had long coveted. Harden ended the Rocket's four year playoff drought, and made the All-NBA third team.  Win.

Andrew Bogut (and Stephen Jackson) to Golden State, Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown to Milwaukee (2012). Since Jax was immediately traded to the Spurs, Bogut was the center piece here.  Bogut gave Golden State their defensive anchor, renovating one of the league's worst defenses into a pretty good one when he's healthy. Win.

Gerald Wallace to New Jersey, Mehmet Okur, Shawne Williams, draft pick (2012). Call me a hater, but I don't think Wallace and his 7.7 ppg on 39% shooting was the reason for Brooklyn's turn around in 2013.  Loss.

Chris Paul (and draft picks) to L.A. ClippersEric GordonChris KamanAl-Farouq Aminu, draft pick to New Orleans (2011). I don't think I need to spend too much time on this one.  Clearly a win.


Those are the best examples of trade ups I could come up with over the last three years.  There were five successful trade ups, and five that didn't pan out.  What does that tell us?  Well, trading up is something of a crapshoot.  Sometimes it works out, but only when a team knows exactly what it needs.  Take a look at the successful trades; they all involve either a star player, or in the case of the Golden State trades, qualified defenders who play within their roles.  In the unsuccessful trade ups, the trade up players were all second tier guys.

The take away here is that trade ups are really only worth it if the trade up team is swinging for the fences for a big name player. Trade ups for a player that only makes the team marginally better tend to be riskier.  Of course, the big name trade ups don't come around that often.  No team is going to part with a star unless he is somehow disgruntled with his current team, or vice-versa, or if a team thinks they are going to lose a player to free agency for nothing.  Timing is everything with trade ups, and McDonough knows this. So don't fret over the lack of trades this summer; opportunities will present themselves (remember, the Harden trade went down three days before the season started in 2012).  McDonough hustled Indiana last year. He doesn't want to be on the receiving end of a swindling, and won't make any trades that only have the potential to make the team marginally better.  If he is going to trade up, it will likely be a swing for the fences.  In McDonough, we trust.

Should the Suns look to trade up?

  1026 votes | Results

The Madhouse is back at its regularly scheduled day and time.  Sorry for the irregular posts.  I won't let it happen again!  Feel free to get busy beating the dead horse that is the Eric Bledsoe story or talk about how much you love your favorite restaurant.  Almost anything goes in the Madhouse!

Slovenia loses to Greece 71:79.

Well, as Goran Dragic predicted yesterday, this game against Greece proved to be a test for the Slovenian team. And though there were some bright moments, Slovenia still lost. They trailed almost the entire game. At on point they were down by 16 but somehow managed to get back within 2. Obviously there is a big difference when Dragi? is on the floor versus when he is resting. It felt like every time he left the Greeks went on a run. If you want more details on the game you should read this recap and if you want more numbers I will leave a link to the stats here.

In case you only care about Dragon stats:

Personally I think a few more fouls could have been called in that 4th quarter. Specifically, on that Edo Muri? drive, where his hand was clearly hurt and he had to leave the game. Tomorrow we have another game, the Dragon will be resting and we will be playing the home team Lithuania, who by the way came in 2nd at last years Eurobasket. They did loose to France by 4 more points so at least we got that going for us. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks Erazem Lorbek returns, Goran Dragi? finds his European 3pt shot (or just takes longer 3s) and everyone starts putting in the same effort/energy as Zoran Dragi?.

Only quotes from Zoki and Coach today:

Zoran Dragi?: We played very badly. Like with New Zealand we started dim, without any real energy, but though we managed to pull through in that first game, this opponent was of considerably higher quality and didn't let us close again. You could see we were missing some height, that's why we need to do a better job of closing the space under the basket and be more alert on defense. Coach Zdovc was rightly upset, because we weren't playing defense. We're aware that this part of the game is very important for us. If we're not firm on defense, it will be hard to win at the World Cup.

Jure Zdovc: For me Greece has long been a favourite for reaching a high place at the world cup. They have a very good team with diverse players, experienced, strong and especially smart. Considering they lost by so much to Lithuania yesterday, I expected they would be well prepared for us and highly motivated. I was interested to see how my players would react to a team like this, but we started the game very badly, dimly and unprofessionally. I used a lot of energy to wake up the players, though that is not my job. I have to be leading the game and not convincing the players to play seriously. This is starting to concern me, since it's always the same individuals. Still, we managed to find a rhythm and get closer, but we played too many bad minutes before to make a turnaround. When Goran Dragi? sits our game drops, but we have to follow instructions from Phoenix and keep to the 25 minute limitation. In the following games we will have to play firmly from the first minute on and control the game as well as the opponent.

*note that though he says they have to follow Suns instructions, Goran played more than 25 minutes, again.

And now, because polls are fun:

When will the Dragon find his European 3pt shot? (2/11 in last 2 games)

  46 votes | Results

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