It's Time. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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It's Time. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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To lift the curtain and step behind it, that is everything. And why this hesitation and delay? Because we do not know what things look behind it.

-Goethe

Time to bite the bullet. Pull the plug. Look to the future. Put the muzzle in our mouths and...

Trade Steve Nash and Grant Hill to a contender for the biggest return on investment.

This season is lost, the window is closed. The only thing left for us true purple blooded Suns fans is pain and misery. At least for a season or two.

Offseason

The 2010 off season acquisitions of Josh Childress, Hedo Turkoglu, and Hakim Warrick and the resigning of Channing Frye was anticlimactic in most respects, but in hindsight were strong business moves. Sarver was hedging his bets by picking up 3 players with the unlikely potential to pick up the slack left by Amare Stoudemire's departure. And if the deals didn't work out, the men were all tradeable-that is, they all had reasonable contracts and market value. At the time we heard words to describe the signings as "adding depth, talent, and flexibility." Guys like myself bought into the talent part and hoped for the best as far as chemistry. But I (we) were wrong. Hedo didn't fit, Chill got hurt, and Warrick proved a one trick pony. The good news is that Hedo and his awful contract are gone, and both Warrick and Childress are decent NBA role players that could be tossed into any deal or dealt by themselves.

Flexibility may be a very vital role in life for anyone. But in a corporation it is critical. Flexible business model, flexible parts of the machine, the ability to change while remaining profitable. This is rebuilding, Suns style. For now anyway.

Present

The Suns, as they stand right now are a snake-bitten squad. Lacking confidence, expectations smashed, new faces and brains trying to fit into the system. It is all too much to handle. Too much for Alvin Gentry and his staff, too much for Nash to quarterback, too much for fans with high expectations to weather.

We crave a big 4 to fill Amare's spot, but that is only one small piece of the jigsaw. A big is certainly needed, but another trade enshrouded with expectations of positive change is impossible. As we have seen this season, change smacks consistency in the face. Change is the opposite of continuity, and the result of a lack of both consistency and continuity breeds uncertainty. Things could work, or things could not. 50/50, man. But we have all seen the result of rolling the dice with the our last hundred bucks, praying for the jackpot. Vegas always wins.

The lineups have changed, the roles have changed, the personnel have changed. In the meantime losses have been mounting. Not just "hey we played hard but couldn't pull it out..." but also the type of soul crushing losses that leave a team looking for answers where there are none. We hear quotes like "we need to work at it...we need some time."  Work is good. Blood, sweat, tears. Sure. But it doesn't always make one a winner.

Orlando Trade

The Suns dealt Jason Richardson, Earl Clark, and Hedo Turkoglu to the Orlando Magic for Marcin Gortat, Mikael Pietrus, a first, and Vince Carter. Again the Suns FO obtained value and flexibility. Vince Carter is only taking up space until he can be dealt or his contract runs out. In return good ol' Bob is once again hedging. Robin Lopez has returned form injuries and proven confused, docile, and obviously ineffective. Will he return to prime 2010 form where he proved vital in parts of the season when he wasn't injured? We can only hope so. Marcin Gortat may be a lot of things, and motivated is one of them. That along with intelligent and athletic usually produces a quality big man in the NBA. Pietrus may be a chukker, but he is young, cheap, and has the right attitude. Most 2's are streaky.Most quality 2's have size. Pietrus fits the mold, and most importantly he is young and could be molded into a 3. He is what he is right now, but it doesn't mean he cannot change. They key is he as potential, is motivated, and is coachable.

Aside.....

Last week before the 76ers game, there was an air of excitement and possibility as Vince Carter was to play his first game in a Suns uniform. Hell, some people were even breaking out the bearded one's old nickname, Vinsanity. The era of Vinsanity. How, 2001 is that? But in his office before the game, Alvin Gentry accidentally waxed nostalgic for Amare Stoudemire and Jason Richardson as he spoke about last year's run into the WC Finals. It was enough to make one take melancholy notice, swallow hard, and for a moment, come close to shedding a a couple of purple and orange tears. Last year was so very special. Do you remember it? Up and down and up and down then finally up. We heard little from the pundits and national media about how storied the season was for the Phoenix Suns. If a book called ":07 Or Less" could be published, so could a novel about the Suns v. 2009-10. What would you call it?

Future

The good news for us fans is that the Suns have a nice group of young core players. Jared Dudley is a gamer that brings 110% effort every night. Goran Dragic, although inconsistent, is an athletic, quality NBA talent who has an excellent attitude and has shown signs of dominance in clutch situations . Marcin Gortat is an above average, hard nosed, NBA big man with a chip on his shoulder and some skills. Channing Frye is serviceable, wants to be in the desert, and has multiple dimensions to his game. Mikael Pietrus is also a youngish, serviceable player who can D it up and hit from deep. Robin Lopez needs to decide if he is healthy or not, if he wants to play basketball or not. Right now, he still has trade value although he has played mostly awful this season. The Suns FO should be open to trading him for a decent return. Hell, no one on this squad should be untradeable.

With two first rounders in the upcoming draft the Suns could pick up some young, quality, cheap talent. Dealing Hill, Nash and Carter could yield at least another 1st rounder and or a decent 4 or PG. Who? Let the masses rosterbate together, I never learned how to effectively rosterbate.

Conclusion

The problem now is that of expectations and hope. After last season's improbable deep playoff run along with Amare Stoudemire's departure, we hoped for the best despite realizing we had lost a very huge reason for our team's success. The Suns went through ups and downs like crazy before settling in when it mattered. The squad never quit on a game, the team always had a chance to win. The perfect balance of age, athleticism, and most importantly, chemistry had been struck. And With Steve Nash on your squad, you don't quit, you always have a shot to pull out a W.

Of course Nash is still in town but his supporting cast is vastly different than last year's. We fans want to believe with Nash around there will always be a chance of turning around a game or, a whole season for that matter. However, it cannot happen. Will not happen. This team cannot stop anyone in the league, regardless of how simple the defensive schemes are constructed. Without Jason Richardson around the offense has sputtered. There is no go to man. It's Nash and Hill versus the world....On any given night this team can hang with the best team in the league for 3 quarters but inevitably lose. The mental toughness needed to stay focused and close out the opponent is gone.

If Nash was a superhero, he would be Batman. His sidekick would be Grant Hill as Robin. The dynamic duo are solid. The only problem is they have zero help from the Justice League. At some point you need a Superman, along with some support from Aquaman, Green Lantern, Apache Chief. Screw the Wonder Twins though. Form of a bucket of water? BS, this is the NBA.

Steve and Grant are suffering. Nash and Hill are saying the right things, thus illustrating how exceptional they are as human beings as well as athletes. They do not quit on their teammates or their fans. They are desperately attempting to rid the boat of accumulating water from the giant hole in the bow. But the hole is too big, the ship is all but sunk, Titanic style. For all of their blood, sweat, tears, sacrifice, and effort it's time to do for them what they will never ask for. 

It is time to let go of the delusion that the Suns can turn this season around. It is time to let go of the past, look forward to the future. 

Trade them, begin again.

Why it May Not Happen

Money. There is zero draw to a Suns game without Nash and Hill around. Maybe penny beer night would bring 'em out to the arena. The loss of revenue in ticket and jersey sales is probably unappetizing to Mr. Sarver and Co. But fans don't care about that. Fans care about W's. Fans care about a title. Neither of which are going to occur as this team is presently constructed.

Fans love to crucify the rich owners for trading their beloved players away, or not offering guys enough cash to stick around. But in this case, trading away the two most beloved assets on the team is the only answer. Eventually the draw will lessen, regardless of whether Nash and Hill are around. Losing will do that. Thus, keeping them around while the team is losing is doing no one any good. Any fan who has eyes and respect for what these two men have done for the franchise will understand what needs to be done.

Poll
Should the Suns Deal Nash and Hill?

  1957 votes | Results


I had some time while on a flight today so I transcribed the post game audio from last night's Suns win over the Cavs. I was hoping something in there would jump out and turn into a story -- that usually happens. But this time, I got nothing.

But since I transcribed all the quotes, here they are. Feel free to completely ignore them but I will give 10 Internet Points to anyone that comes up with a credible post game story idea out of this mess.

 

Dudley

"I thought we were struggling on the boards like usual. J.J. (Hickson) is so athletic. They brought in the Cookie Monster, that big dude I don't even know his name, he was huge. They played well, we could have done something better but hey we got it tonight."

"What we take away is momentum. It starts a little streak. We take away that we keep grinding out and keep believing we can get wins and hey, it's a long season. Hopefully, we can keep it going."

"What they did on defense today was switch towards the end. That's what New York did the whole game. This team, Byron Scott, kind of like the LA, Miami, the opposite wing helps on the role so I have a chance to catch and shoot. Early on, I tried to do a one dribble pump fake and wasn't really getting a rhythm so I let it fly."

"I thought we kept out man in front. It's not a great shooting team so we tried to make them shoot from the outside. I thought we scrapped a little more in the second half. First quarter was pretty bad and you can't guard against turnovers. I thought we turned the ball over a little too much first quarter and we calmed that down."

"It wasn't really a packed crowd out there on a Sunday night versus Cleveland. I thought for the most part once we hit threes and started getting it going, I thought the crowd started getting into it and that helped us get this win."

Nash

"At times this month we got paralysis and kind of dropped out heads. Tonight, we fought through those moments where we could have given in a little bit and really stayed with it."

"It was one of those games were we just had to find a way to win it and now we can move on and try and gain something from it. But we're struggling, we're mentally struggling and we're not playing up to our capabilities yet. We've not found a rhythm or confidence. Sometimes you have to fight through it and win these games."

"Like tonight, a team like tonight, if we question ourselves at all we can lose to anybody. So we found a way to hang in there. It's a mentality that allowed us to win. "

Jared was sick today. Lead us in everything. He's a winner. He comes out and gives us everything.

"We don't have any fours so if Hakim comes out and plays well it gives us a four and it gives our team balance."

"At time we needed a little more rebounding, defense, hustle at that position. We find a way to score. We just need a little more presence at times. When he comes and plays with energy, he makes up for his lack of size and can really be a huge factor."

Were you frustrated in the first quarter?

"Frustration's been mounting for about three months. It's hard. This is very difficult. Just trying to fight through it every day and stay positive is a challenge. Sometimes you have to take a step back and gain a perspective but when you get back out there the fire burns and the frustration is there."

"We've just got to keep working. Who knows what the future holds but we can't stop working."

Carter

"We were able to buckle down, get stops and limit their second chance points, particularly late in the game. They were getting a lot in the first half. I think we did a better job, particularly the guards, trying to keep them off the boards. Even their guards, their smaller guards, were still getting rebounds. I think we did a better job of being a little more aggressive on the defensive end."

"I was trying to post up whoever was trying to guard me down there really. Just trying to make plays, just trying to get easy baskets, just trying to get myself going. It was there, coach told me to we wanted to take advantage of that and force them to double team and get some shots for our guys or myself if it was there so it kind of opened things up for us."

"This is something we are definitely capable of. Hopefully, this makes us want more. We moved the ball well, guys shot the ball with confidence tonight regardless if we missed a few. That's the way we have to approach it."

It was the same offense, we just hit shots. We got stops when we need them and got in transition. Moved ball and made plays

"We knew it was going to be grind, regardless. If you don't knock them out early, you give them life, they're going to be right in the game. We know they're trying to get a win and wherever they go next they're going to still try and get a win. If you don't jump on a team like that early, it's just going to be a dog fight. I think they were trying to do the same to us, just trying to keep our losing streak going if you would. You can feel they were trying to come out and throw the first punch. We were able to sustain it and find a way to get a win in the fourth."


PHOENIX —  For the Phoenix Suns’ offense to work effectively, spacing has to be near perfect. Over the past six years, the Suns’ pick-and-roll offense created that spacing as Amare...

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PHOENIX — There were minimal smiles and zero cheers of celebration in the Phoenix Suns locker room after their 108-100 win over the Cavaliers on Sunday night. But for a team with a 21.2 win...

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Get well soon, Grant. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

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Get well soon, Grant. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

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A win is a win, yes? Even when Manny Harris scorches you for 27 points? Even when your squad turns the ball over 20 times. Add it to the W column, move on.

Tonight the Suns pulled away late in the 4th against the Cavaliers, (losers of 18 of their last 19 games, without 5 players from their usual rotation) for  a 108-100 victory.

Five different Suns scored in double figures, led by Steve Nash's 20 points, 17 assists and 7 rebounds, who won despite losing Grant Hill to a knee injury early on. The Suns scored 30 points in the 3rd, the first time in 20 consecutive quarters.

Props:

  • Robin Lopez looked strong with 15/6 and 3 blocks. He played the PNR well with Nash  and was active on D.
  • Channing Frye was effective at the 4 with 16/12 to go with 3 blocks 2 assists and 2 steals.
  • Nash 3 rebounds short of a triple double. He's an All-Star, still.
  • Vinsane goes for 19/7/3 and a key 3 in the 4th to put the Suns up for good.
  • Dudz gets my game ball. He comes out ready to fight every single night. On this evening he was fighting off an illness but still managed to play 43 minutes off the pine to hit 5 3's and drop 21 points and 7 rebounds.

Stay tuned for more from our man on the scene, Seth for quotes, notes, and much much more.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 01/09/11 9:27 PM MST ]

Phoenix Suns Eke Out Win Over Cleveland Cavaliers - SB Nation Arizona
"Frustration's been mounting for about three months. It's hard, this is very difficult. Just trying to fight though it and stay positive every day is a challenge. Sometimes you have to take a step back to gain perspective but when you get out there, the fire burns and the frustration is there." - Nash

More in that recap about Warrick and his continued role in the rotation.

Audio:

Here's a fun little side note....

While Robin was talking to the media, Pietrus stood behind the scrum and was joshing him by mimicking Robin's mumble voice. Even after it was over and Robin was walking out, MP kept at it while talking to us. Robin looked back as he was walking out and gave him and pretty nasty look. Robin didn't seem to see the humor in it - although it was kind of funny.

Oh, and also on the lighter side, Jared Dudley called Samardo Samuels, "Cookie Monster". 

"They brought the Cookie Monster in, that big dude. I don't even know his name, I mean he was huge."

Game Notes

1st Qtr

  • Hickson faces up and drives and scores on Robin...ugh
  • Nash drives and dishes to Frye who bobbles the pass out of bounds...ugh...ugh
  • Vince posting up Manny Harris...that's good
  • Twice now, Hill has lost his footing completely just completely slipped and fell. Is the floor that bad or does he need stick-um on his soles?
  • Game Opns pumping in fake "D-Fense" chants which sound totally fake
  • Horrible transition defense from Suns..and again
  • Hill down hard holding knee...walked off on his own to locker room
  • Cavs up 13-10
  • Cavs up 18-10...Suns look flat and kind of lost again. Intensity level just isn't there. Not playing like a desperate team
  • JJ Hickson out for Samuels..phew, that guy was killing Suns
  • Manny Harris with 8 points. I seriously have to look up his name when I saw it just said M. Harris on the box score online
  • Gorilla birthday w/ lots of other mascots...would be more fun if the Suns weren't sucking right now
  • Nash with 3 turnovers. Hill with three as well but two were result of slipping on the floor
  • Intensity picking up a bit after timeout
  • Warrick in for Lopez. Interesting
  • Refs letting them play today. I don't mind but just so obvious how inconsistent officiating is from game to game
  • Nash/Warrick pick and roll sets up Frye three. 23-22, Cavs
  • Nice block by Frye...that's his 2nd of the game
  • Good ball movement to get Dudley an open 10-foot shot...he missed it but still good work
  • 26-26

2nd Qtr

  • This crowd is dead
  • Gortat in w/ 2nd unit w/ Warrick. Spacing is going to suck
  • Gentry timeout...he's pissed about defense
  • Dragic tweak his knee after landing on a jump shot. Fouls and asks out of the game. Nash in
  • This Warrick/Gortat front line is going to be painful to watch. Both guys have missed wide open mid-range shots. Suns at 28 points with 7:50 to go in the 2nd
  • Warrick intercepts the pass but gives it right back
  • 38-34, Cavs. It's really hard to comprehend how bad this Suns team is right now
  • Suns at least starting to look pissed off out there...that's something
  • Robin's got his shot on tonight...that's nice, someone has to. He does look engaged on both ends
  • Suns offense now going through Frye and Lopez in the post
  • Now Carter in the post
  • You know, I said the Suns were basically giving up this season in my immediate reaction to the trade. Even I didn't think it would be this bad
  • 3rd foul on Carter, MP in
  • 48-50. I honestly have no idea how the Suns have 48 points. Robin w/ 12, Frye w/ 10
  • 52-51

3rd Qtr

  • Manny Harris picks up his second foul...a couple more and the Suns can get that scoring machine of the floor
  • Suns up 60-58. Yippie!
  • When JRich missed a corner three, I was surprised. When Vince hits a corner three, I'm surprised
  • Wow, Cavs 18-3 in first half on fast break points
  • Nash has made some really bad passes
  • You know, I have not seen a single LeBron James jersey at this game. Where did all the Cavs fans go?
  • Carter with 16...another post move against Manny Harris. Need to keep going at that
  • 20 points for Manny wearing # 6 for the Cavs. LeBron James wears #6 for the Heat. Just pointing that out
  • Dragic in at 5:00 min mark along w/ Gortat, Frye, MP and JD. 74-71 Suns
  • Suns get JD open for a three. 79-71
  • Pietrus was slow on that rotation and ran right by the Cavs player as if he was just saying hi. Good defender? Not that time
  • Gortat pushes people just because he can
  • Cavs go on a 10-2 run since Nash went out
  • 81-81

4th Qtr

  • Looks like the Suns will break the 100 mark tonight barring a complete offensive collapse
  • And time out Gentry as Cavs come out and drop a quick 5-0 run on the Suns. That's now 15-2 for the Cavs against Dragic and the bench unit. I guess the mascots dunking didn't fire them up
  • It's come down to Robin Lopez being the guy to cheer the Suns up after Dragic traveled
  • Manny Harris blew right by Vince Carter as if he was standing still. He was standing still at the time. He's still Manny Harris so he blew the lay up w/ some help by Robin's defense
  • JD and GD hit back-to-back threes to tie game at 86. Crowd now pretending to care
  • Nash back in for Carter, Dragic stays on the floor w/ Nash
  • Frye wins the tips and knocks to Nash who tips it to Alonzo Gee (who plays for the other team)
  • Nash hits a three when Cavs go under screen
  • T-shirt toss being used to bribe fans into showing signs of life. It's working of course
  • Vince Carter proving that just because you pass the ball doesn't mean you are good passer. Drive the lane and his kick pass to the open corner was so off that Suns weren't able to get shot off
  • Warrick in for Lopez with 3:38. 95-95. Interesting
  • Gentry's pissed about that charge call on Warrick but it looked legit to me
  • Carter with a big three to earn some free tacos for these poor, hungry fans
  • Dudley to the line shooting two after a run out on the missed Cavs three. Dudley 1-1. 102-96, 1:20
  • Nice rebound by Carter
  • Cavs switch Jamison on to Nash. Nash shoots over him while Warrick takes a charge on the other end. That should do it. 104-96, 47 sec. Suns ball


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