On a roster that requires every point, rebound — every contribution really — because of its lack of star power, the loss of Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill to a knee injury is painful for...

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Expect to see this again next season. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

In a rare schedule quirk during a grueling season full of 6-in-8s, 4-in-5s and 3-in-3s, the Suns enjoy their third consecutive non-game-day of the season.

The team is practicing and cryo-therapying and Cellebrini-ing, getting ready to make a final playoff push without the services of Grant Hill. Yesterday, Gentry said that Shannon Brown (19 ppg in 4 starts) will start and Josh Childress will get some minutes. While I applaud the Childress minutes, I do think he'd be more effective with the starters as a "scraps" guy than with the bench. If Brown is starting in Hill's place, then we're looking at just another "who me?" guy on the second unit when the shot-clock is inevitably running out. At least Chill can post up, occasionally.

There has been a lot of angst among Suns fans over the last couple of days while national media have drooled like Big Baby Davis did a couple years ago after making a big shot in the playoffs.

Nash said, without prodding, that he wants the Suns to improve a good deal this summer before committing to return. And then he said, after a lot of prodding, that he wouldn't ignore LeBron's James' phone call.

Suns fans freaked out. "OMG Nash is gone!" "We're DooOOOOoooMMMED!"

Personally, I felt a sense of calm and contentment wash over me. My heartbeat slowed and I exhaled long and deep.

The Suns will be okay. In fact, the Suns will be better than okay. Nash will be back in orange-and-purple and the Suns will be a solid playoff team again next season.

First off, let's put Nash's comments into context.

Anyone who's been on BSotS all season knows that most Suns fans want the front office to bring in more talent. Even the most optimistic fans of the current roster would agree that the Suns would be better served with a big-time scorer in the lineup, even if it means having Duds or Frye coming off the bench.

So why the angst when Nash says the same thing?

"If you look at our team, we don't have a 20-point-a-game scorer or a go-to guy," Nash said to Paul Coro yesterday. "It'd be great if we can get that. If not, we're going to have to do it by committee and try to sign (the best) players as we can. I think that's why the club made this summer the summer that they created cap space and flexibility."

Are we, as fans, going to jump ship and root for another team just because we wish the talent on the team was better? No. So why assume Nash is jumping ship?

In fact, I think his quotes are saying the exact opposite. To me, he sounds invested in the franchise. He sounds like a guy who wants the Suns to win a lot of games again, rather than a guy who is looking to join another team. I love that!

But even if you don't agree with me, even if you read those quotes and listen to those interviews and decide that Nash is basically outta here, there is a bigger takeaway from his comments that you can stick in your back pocket and carry around with you.

Nash was unequivocal about the fact that the Suns are going to spend long-awaited cap money this summer to improve the talent on the team for the 2012-13 season.

"We're a team that is in transition, so I thought everybody knew we were waiting for the summer to improve the team."

Smile, Suns fans!

This is a guy who talks to the front office a LOT more than we do.

This is a guy who could have asked to be traded many times over the last few years, and especially over the last few months, but instead decided that he wanted to stay.

This is a guy that the Suns' front office has unrelentingly said they want to keep around.

So for Steve Nash to say "I thought everyone knew we were waiting for the summer to improve the team," even after a couple of days to re-think his initial words and soften his assumptions, then you can be sure that the Suns front office is a part of that "we" that Nash speaks of.

Those are the comments of a player who has reassurances from Babby, Blanks and Sarver that the Suns will be better next season and that this offseason will be a big one.

Exactly HOW and WHO, I have no idea.

What I do know are two things:

  • the Suns front office is ready to spend at least a good chunk of the $30 million in cap space this summer, if the opportunity presents itself.
  • the Suns are not likely to overpay. Since Babby and Blanks came aboard, the Suns have only offered smart contracts. Everyone signed or picked up since September 2010 has been a smart, safe contract.

I'll give you this quote again:

"If you look at our team, we don't have a 20-point-a-game scorer or a go-to guy," Nash said to Paul Coro yesterday. "It'd be great if we can get that. If not, we're going to have to do it by committee and try to sign (the best) players as we can. I think that's why the club made this summer the summer that they created cap space and flexibility."

Nash knows there's no all-star out there waiting to be signed. He knows it's a process. He is using "we" a lot.

And that makes me smile.

Don't expect Aaron Brooks back this season

Over on suns.com, Suns General Manager Lance Blanks wrote a blog about his visit to China to see Aaron Brooks, currently a restricted free agent for the Suns. In the blog, there is no mention of Brooks returning to the Suns in the next few days. In fact, Blanks specifically mentions the opposite.

"...[Brooks] is eager to get back home to the States, see his family and begin his off season training to prepare himself for a return to NBA."

Brooks cannot sign with any NBA team other than the Suns until this season is over. If the Suns do not sign him for the last three to four weeks of the season, then he remains a restricted free agent during the offseason. If he signs an offer from another team over the summer, the Suns have a right to match that offer to keep him.

It's just another BB in the barrel. If Nash leaves for another team, Brooks is a serviceable point guard until someone better is found. In his only full season as a starter (with Houston), he averaged more than 19 points and six assists per game and won the Most Improved Player award.

Then he asked for "starter money," got a long-term ankle injury, lost his starting job to Kyle Lowry, developed a bad attitude and got shipped to Phoenix where he barely played behind Nash.

He is little, skinny, doesn't play a lick of defense and doesn't "see the floor" particularly well.

But he was a legitimate NBA starter for 1.5 of his first two seasons in the NBA. His career record in a starting role is 68-49, and he led his team to the playoffs each year he finished as a starter. If Nash leaves this summer and the Suns strike out on Deron Williams, Brooks is a viable starting point guard.

Better to keep his rights over the summer.


There is no question the Phoenix Suns botched the Summer of 2010 after Amare Stoudemire decided to take his talents to the Big Apple. However, it is looking more and more like Phoenix made the right...

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The good news was the squads trailing the Suns all lost. Meanwhile the WC leaders held steady with the Rockets gaining ground and the Jazz temporarily falling out of the playoff mix. But the Suns lost a half game from the 7th and 8th spots with both Denver and Houston winning.

Denver Nuggets (8) 99 Charlotte Bobcats 88

Denver Stiffs:

But give the Nuggets credit in two key areas tonight: rebounding and ball distribution. The Nuggets pulled down 49 rebounds, 5.5 above their average, and dished out 29 assists, also 5.5 above their average. And all this despite not breaking the century mark in scoring. Comparatively, the Bobcats grabbed just 34 team rebounds and dished out 26 assists.

The Nuggets must find whatever mojo they had in Chicago and recreate it soon, or we'll be resorting to rooting for Western Conference teams to lose just to get Denver into the playoffs for the ninth consecutive season.


Dallas Mavericks (5) 100 Orlando Magic 98

From Mavs Moneyball: DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK

DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK Delonte West DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK

DIRK DIRK Jason Terry DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK DIRK


Houston Rockets (7) 99 Memphis Grizzlies (6) 89

Goran Dragic scored a season-high 25 points and dished out seven assists, Courtney Lee poured in 17 points and Marcus Camby grabbed 16 rebounds and blocked a season-best six shots as the Rockets used a sizzling 52.1-percent shooting effort to defeat the Grizzlies 98-89


Boston Celtics 100 Minnesota Timberwolves (10) 79

The Celtics were led by none other than Kevin Garnett, who played his first 12 seasons in Minnesota before moving to Boston. He scored 24 points against his former team while Paul Pierce added 21. Avery Bradley chipped in 17 while Brandon Bass added 12. The Timberwolves were led by Kevin Love, who scored 22 points while Luke Ridnour added 15 and Derrick williams chipped in 14.

The Timberwolves have now lost two of their last three games, giving them a record of 25-28, which puts them in 11th place in the Western Conference and in fourth place in the North West Division.


Sacramento Kings 104 Utah Jazz (9) 103

NBA.COM: DeMarcus Cousins was unstoppable, scoring 27 points while collecting 14 rebounds. Marcus Thornton complemented him nicely from the outside, scoring 26 points and draining three 3-pointers.

The Jazz shot 52 free throws and had an 81.1 percentage in foul shots through three quarters. But they missed too many during the crucial fourth quarter, going 8-for-15 from the free-throw line in the final period. Jefferson had three of the seven misses.


LA Clippers (4) 98 Portland Trailblazers (11) 97

BLAZERSEDGE: Without All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, the Portland Trail Blazers had no fear against the Los Angeles Clippers tonight. On ESPN, the Blazers gave the Clips all they could handle. This was an A+ game in terms of entertainment value, everything ESPN dreams of.

The Blazers were led by a nearly-shocking JJ Hickson, finishing with 29 points and 13 rebounds. He was supported by Nicolas Batum (18 points, 6 rebounds), Wesley Matthews (12 points), Jamal Crawford (14 points, 3 assists) and Raymond "I need a new contract!" Felton (9 points, 8 assists).

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PHOENIX — Steve Nash created quite the national stir yesterday, when a Dove Men’s Care promotional media blitz ended in what appeared to be a bold statement to the Phoenix Suns’...

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