The Phoenix Suns introduce forward Hedo Turkoglu, center, of Turkey (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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The Phoenix Suns introduce forward Hedo Turkoglu, center, of Turkey (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Once again, the national media is not in love with the Phoenix Suns' summer moves.

Surprised? Hardly.

Here's something to remember about summer moves, though: the teams who have the "best" summer fit into 2 categories: (a) they had the longest way to go, or (b) they were already good, and somehow added even more big "names" to their rotation.

So does a great summer portend a great NBA season? Hardly.

Let's go to the tape.

First, let's recall last offseason.

Do you remember who got the highest marks last offseason, according to the mother ship (who did not widely differ from any other prognosticators)?

 

  1. San Antonio Spurs - for adding McDyess, Jefferson and Blair to an already loaded team
  2. Orlando Magic - for adding Vince Carter, Matt Barnes and several other role players to an already loaded team
  3. LA Clippers - for replacing Zach Randolph with Blake Griffin and Rasual Butler
  4. Detroit Pistons - for adding Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, the summer's second and third best free agents (behind Hedo Turkoglu)
  5. Washington Wizards - for adding Mike Miller and Randy Foye (and predicting a healthy synergistic comeback from Gilbert Arenas)
  6. Boston Celtics - for adding Rasheed Wallace and Marquis Daniels to an already loaded team
  7. Dallas Mavericks - for adding Shawn Marion, Drew Gooden and Tim Thomas to an already loaded team
  8. Toronto Raptors - for adding Hedo Turkoglu amongst a 90% roster turnover in an effort to appease Chris Bosh
Did ANY of these teams exceed their previous season because of these new additions?  ANY of them?

The Spurs, Magic, Mavericks and Raptors all finished worse than the year before, in terms of playoffs. The Spurs even went down hard to a team that previously couldn't beat them! (ouch, huh?)

The Celtics made it back to the Finals, but Rasheed was a shadow of his former self and Daniels was out of the rotation in lieue of Nate Robinson (ouch again).

And here's the Suns writeup from last fall (out of all 30 NBA teams):

22. Phoenix Suns

 

Key additions: Channing FryeEarl Clark

Key subtractions: Shaquille O'NealMatt Barnes

In limbo: Stromile Swift (U)

Phoenix GM Steve Kerr broke up one of the most enjoyable teams in NBA history to get O'Neal in 2008. But within about a year, the Suns went from title contender to lottery team. Last month, the Suns gave Shaq away for cap relief.

It appeared the team was beginning to embark on a major rebuilding project. However, there have been more recent signs that the Suns are still trying to compete. Talks of an Amare Stoudemire trade have cooled considerably; they signed Grant Hill and Frye; and they agreed to a contract extension with Steve Nash.

Still, do the Suns have enough to make a serious run in the West? With the Lakers still looking dominant, the Nuggets still a threat, and the Spurs and Mavs vastly improved, it's going to be harder than ever.




And then here's this year's grade (out of only the 15 Western Conference teams):

14. Phoenix Suns

 

 

Key additions: Hedo Turkoglu (trade), Josh Childress (trade),Channing Frye (re-signed), Hakim Warrick (trade), Lon Babby (president), Lance Blanks (GM)

Key subtractions: Amare StoudemireLeandro Barbosa, Steve Kerr

After one last run in the playoffs for the always fun Suns, the sun began to set on Phoenix this summer. Steve Nash, the heart and soul of the Suns, is still plugging away at age 36. But the rest of his teammates have, one by one, left the team. Of the original run-and-gun Suns, he's the only remaining member.

The biggest defection of the summer came when Stoudemire bolted the team for the Knicks. If you've followed the Suns at all the past couple of years, you saw this coming, but when it finally went down, it still stung a little.

GM Steve Kerr also left the team, leading to an awkward situation where owner Robert Sarver used an NBA agent, Lon Babby, to help him navigate the summer free-agent waters without a GM. In the process, one of Babby's clients, Turkoglu, and one of his former clients, JChildress, landed in Phoenix and Barbosa was shipped off to Toronto. When the summer was over, Sarver hired Babby as the team's new president.

Babby is a respected agent and has been a voice of reason over the years, but his first moves this summer didn't wow anyone. Turkoglu is a good fit in the Suns' system but he's grossly overpaid with four years, $40 million left on his contract. Childress is super versatile, but was he worth a six-year, $33.5 million contract? And did I mention that he and Turkoglu both play the same position as another Babby client -- Grant Hill?

Meanwhile the Suns are very thin up front. Frye turned one good season shooting the ball off the bench into a starting gig and $30 million. The team also paid Hakim Warrick $12.75 million over three years to help back him up. Third-year big man Robin Lopez is the team's only true physical presence in the middle.

Gentry and Nash will still figure out how to get the most out of this squad and maybe even sneak the team into the playoffs -- but the direction the Suns are heading is clear and it won't be long until darkness covers the land of the sun.

Grade: D+


So, does it matter that the mother ship rates the Suns' offseason 14th out of 15 teams this year?

No, it doesn't.

What matters is what happens on the court. Bring on the season!




Some people think that Steve Nash (and Grant Hill) have found the fountain of youth in Phoenix. Sure, Nash just put up the kind of numbers that no 36-year-old point guard ever has while leading his...

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Thanks to everybody who voted on the last edition featuring the Barley Tie by Nike.  In case you missed it check it out.

This edition features a baseball cap that I have seen crop up on ebay with suspicious regularity.  Made by GCC (who?), I can only guess that some warehouse in LA had these stashed for well over ten years and can now hawk them to teenagers as "retro."  As if wearing purple and orange on your head doesn't draw enough attention, this hat uses the fire and flame motif on a white background.  In case you can't tell that those are flames on your head there is the basketball cliche "ON FIRE" stitched on the back in red/black '80s metal band font.  What goes best with a hat that has a flame design along the edge?  Purple air holes, thats what!  The bill is yet another color and reminds people who stand 1 foot or higher above you and can't see the other two Suns logos that this is a "SUNS." hat.  It's adjustable too, so you can grow an afro or just have an annoying piece of plastic dig into your skull.

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This is the worst Suns hat ever made.  I can imagine this for sale at a gas station in 1997 next to NASCAR and pro wrestling items.  The only thing busier then the design is the sweat shop from where it was made.  But what do I know?  Vote below and by all means explain your vote if you disagree.

Poll
How would you rate this '90s Suns hat?

  429 votes | Results


Lon Babby Talks About John Treloar And Lack Of Experience In Suns Front Office


Professor Chad Ford was not kind on the Phoenix Suns in his evaluation of their offseason. Ford gave the Suns a D+ for their summer and ranked them ahead of only the Denver Nuggets in the West;...

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