The NBA has been regarded as a trendy league by many, more interesting to the younger demographic, and appealing to the masses that want to be entertained. Over the years internally the league has set many trends.

Whether that is with dynasties like the early 1960's Boston Celtics or with fashion like Russell Westbrook's fish lures T-Shirt at the 2012 NBA Finals; trends are set and followed for years or generations.

One of the more recent trends seemingly was started when LeBron James decided to join forces with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat. They did not create this trend, but rather perfected it.

That trend was set a few years prior with the blockbuster trades of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to the Boston Celtics for a package of talent that allowed the disgruntled star the opportunity to land on a winner. It seemed as if loyalty was going to be the downfall of a brilliant career for Garnett, but after wading through four losing seasons, seven straight losses in the first round, and no direction for the future Garnett finally had enough to make the decision to move on.

In recent years there have been numerous stars that have threatened to jump ship, but only after a handful of years of service, much different than Garnett.

All of those teams faced the same decision as the Minnesota Timberwolves with Garnett and brought back package deals of talent for their disgruntled star. Garnett and the Wolves did not invent this system, but they were a part of the recent plunge into superstar trading and teaming up to make on-court replications of The Avengers sent out to defend their cities sending the rest of the NBA into a black hole in space.

Superstar talents such as Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and most recently, Dwight Howard, have delivered ransom notes to their teams a la Garnett six years ago.

The Garnett trade was years in the making as the Celtics were transitioning from the Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker Era to the next wave. Those two had a run that came close several times, but never cultivated the type of winning that the Pierce-Garnett-Allen trio would. It took type, three years specifically, to build the required assets to make this type of move as well as the right circumstances.

"When teams have maybe a disgruntled superstar, what are they looking for in return? Well, they're looking for picks, that's what they want," Phoenix Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough stated.

Over the three year window from 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 the Celtics shrewdly acquired assets that resembled a youth movement and rebuilding process. The team won 102 games over that stretch and drafted six attractive first round picks filled with potential, athleticism, and versatility.

Instead of going full fledge rebuild the circumstances presented themselves to Danny Ainge to flip three of those young talents (Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, and Gerald Green), two first round picks, and cash for Garnett.


That move was made possible due to long-term planning and a rare, unique situation presenting itself. The team had struggled for years, but had a star in Paul Pierce.

Jefferson had just come off his third season in the NBA, at 23 years old, and was poised to be a double-double machine (16.0 and 11.0) going forward with his size, strength, and skill in the paint. He was the centerpiece in this move as a player that had a modest chance of replacing the star power of Garnett.

Add to that a 22 year old Green; athletic, high-flying, and filled with potential that would allow him to rival Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady as they were on their way out of their individual primes. Gomes was steady, an additional asset added, and a piece to add to the transition for the Timberwolves.

The picks wound up to being false hope as they turned into Wayne Ellington (2009) and Jonny Flynn (2009).

Throw in Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff to make the trade financially achievable, then you have a transcendent move that shakes the basketball world to its core.

Circumstance played a major role in the move happening as the Celtics also built up other assets to land former All-Star Ray Allen on draft night. The combination of Allen and Pierce were enough to sway Garnett into allowing the trade and moving on from the team he had been the face of for 12 years.

Making a defining move like this takes years of strategy, planning, circumstance, and luck. Obviously lots and lots of luck.

Winning only 102 games in three seasons also means losing 144 games and acquiring six Top 25 picks and other assets along the way. A three year strategy of building up young assets is tough to watch, but can have a payout that is immeasurable as seen in Boston.


Translating that from Green and Yellow Prestige with a Championship to Purple and Orange might be a complex game of connect the dots, but the dots are starting to form. It took the Celtics three years and 144 losses to build the assets that allowed the right circumstance to turn into the perfect storm for them.

In a sense the Suns just wrapped up season number three with 132 losses (lockout shortened 2011-2012 season included) and just now they are building assets on the roster.

The Suns are four years removed at the start of this season from a trip to the Western Conference Finals; a boxout from a Game 7 in Los Angeles where they could have been in the Finals against those same Celtics.

They were recently very good and as a franchise have always been consistently competitive with the rest of the league. Since then the team has stripped away the roster and eroded the competitive gear that they have always had. That is a necessary evil as the Celtics were five years removed from a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals before their massive overhaul.

Today the Suns are seemingly putting themselves in a similar situation with The Deputy (Ryan McDonough) stepping into his former boss The Sheriff (Danny Ainge) job in a new city. He has begun the process of building the assets needed to watch a young team go through growing pains or to make a bold move.

With the coaching staff and decision-makers all locked in and on board the roster is something that needed cultivating and to be massaged.

Instead of that McDonough took a jack hammer to the team carefully sidestepping the holdover talent that will be a part of the future while shaping the roster in his image. Lots of young, athletic players that can be assets or building blocks for the future. Based on the philosophy Ainge has seemed to embed in McDonough this is a part of a much more masterful plan.

"I think we're well positioned to strike if and when the next disgruntled superstar becomes available," McDonough recently said in a 620 KTAR Radio Interview.

The current roster is a list of assets at this point.

Here is the list: Eric Bledsoe (No. 18 Overall, 2010), Markieff Morris (No. 13 Overall, 2011), Marcus Morris (No. 14 Overall, 2011), Kendall Marshall (No. 13 Overall, 2012), Alex Len (No. 5 Overall, 2013), and Archie Goodwin (No. 29 Overall, 2013). Mix in the future picks for 2014 (three first round picks) and 2015 (two first round picks) giving this team ample assets to rebuild through themselves methodically or with a dramatic, league altering move.

Add in veterans with value such as Marcin Gortat, P.J. Tucker, and Channing Frye and the Suns are in a position to make a big splash for an impact player.

If a package of Jefferson, Gomes, Green, Ratliff, Telfair, and two future picks were worth a superstar why can't a package of current Suns do the same thing? The Celtics were able to keep Tony Allen, Kendrick Perkins, and Rajon Rondo in their trade as well to make the team a legitimate contender. That was an afterthought in the trade, but in building the assets to make a major move it is pivotal to gain more than you need to make the move. This way you do not bring in the stars to an empty roster and become the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets, good, but not Championship material.

Could a package of a few young prospects, a few veterans, and picks sway a team to part with a "disgruntled" superstar talent?

The element the Suns are missing is that "Paul Pierce level talent" that attracts others to the team like Garnett and Allen while gluing together a high profile trio or ensemble. This is just a theory, but looking at the current make-up of the roster it is clear that some pieces fit while others do not. Having luck and circumstance has to play into the teams favor for any of this to work, but the assets acquired are similar, if not better, than the package that brought together a trio that won a Championship just a few years ago.

Will that situation manifest for the Suns in the near future?

Maybe and then again maybe not, but one thing is for certain. The team has the pieces and just the right man to pull the trigger on a bold decision that would alter the basketball world. After all, he was already a part of it once before.

Join us at 5 p.m. to discuss the Phoenix Suns’ trade of Luis Scola to the Indiana Pacers, a look at what they got in return and the roster outlook moving forward.

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Record: 9-9

Place In Standings: Third

Points Per Game: 83.0

Points Against: 85.2


The Phoenix Mercury did not have a lions share of games this past week with the All-Star Break taking up the weekend, but they did play one game against their elemental basketball Kryptonite... the Minnesota Lynx. This season the Lynx have taken apart the Mercury in impressive fashion.

On the season they have out scored the Mercury by 80 points and out-rebounded them by 30 in five games.

Injuries have played a major role in the last 24 months for the Mercury and they are not going away. Penny Taylor underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on her right knee. This is not the same knee that sidelined her all of last season, but will be the knee that sidelines her for the next 6-8 weeks. The season ends on September 15th giving Taylor an outside shot to return during the regular season and the playoffs. She has played 90 total minutes scoring 58 points so far. Not a loss in terms of how the season has gone so far, but more more of a loss for the long-term and playoff potential for the team.

The team also resigned Jasmine James to a new 7-day contract on July 28th keeping her on the roster through this Sunday (August 3rd). James was signed after former first round pick Samantha Prahalis was waived a little over a week ago.


All-Star Game Recap

With two All-Stars on the Mercury roster only one saw 18 minutes of action, Diana Taurasi, while the Western Conference cruised to a victory. She scored her only points on a three-point shot in the first quarter and then after that the collective talent took over the game. Brittney Griner saw no action due to injury, but was out there soaking in the experience with her peers.

The West continued their dominance winning their eighth All-Star Game in the eleven year history of the event.

This was a good opportunity for the team to get healthy, rest, and get used to each other even more heading into the final stretch of the season. New faces like Jasmine James and frequently injured Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Penny Taylor, and Candice Dupree will have had eight days off between games before taking the floor next.


Second Half Season Preview

This has been mentioned a few times here in the Mercury Meter, but the season as a whole is going to be defined by how the Mercury fair against teams above .500 in the standings. In the "first half" the team was 3-7 against teams above .500 including 0-5 versus the Minnesota Lynx and 2-1 against the Los Angeles Sparks. That translates more to the playoffs than it does the regular season because to get back to the WNBA Championship the Mercury will have to beat one or both of those teams in September.

Looking forward to the final 14 games the Mercury's schedule lightens up.

Only three games in the second half are against teams currently with a .500 or better record. They have a great opportunity to collect wins against the lower level teams that they were a combined 6-2 against in the first half of the season. While they have 11 games to pad their lead in the standings against lower level teams, in the end, it will be their performance in the three games against playoff teams that will define the team this season.


Upcoming Schedule:

Thursday @ Seattle Storm at 7pm AZ Time

Saturday vs. Atlanta Dream at 7pm AZ Time

It’s just about that time. Under new general manager Ryan McDonough, the Suns have made two compelling draft picks and two trades that will result, or have already, in fine returns. Jared...

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In golden boy GM Ryan McDonough's first month with the Phoenix Suns, he has already pulled off three very well received trades (including trading up one spot in the NBA draft).

In doing so he has effectively turned Jared Dudley, Luis Scola, and a 2014 second round draft pick into Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler, Miles Plumlee, Gerald Green, Malcolm Lee and a 2014 first round draft pick.

But he's not done yet.

Looking at the Suns roster, they currently have 16 players under contract for next season; not counting last year's third string point guard Diante Garrett or second round draft pick Alex Oriakhi...neither of whom are on guaranteed deals.

Here's a look at the updated roster below:


In case you were wondering, the maximum number of players that a team can carry on the roster at the start of the season is 15. So it's a certainty that at least three of the players (one under contract) that you see above will be gone before the deadline to submit final rosters at the end of October.

But what are the most likely scenarios? Here is a look at some of the more popular options in no particular order:

1. Waive Malcolm Lee:

Malcolm Lee was basically the cost of the Suns moving up from the 30th pick to the 29th pick in the draft in order to draft Archie Goodwin. Lee was originally the 43rd pick in the 2011 Draft who signed a three-year contract with the Timberwolves before becoming plagued by injuries that significantly limited his playing time over the past two seasons. His guaranteed salary is only $854K, so the Suns could easily waive him prior to the start of the season. This is certainly the easiest option for the Suns which would require no further trades at this point.

2. Trade Kendall Marshall

The rumor about the Suns' interest in trading Marshall has been floated around since the Suns' new staff arrived, but gained momentum during Summer League when a supposed "source" leaked the information that the Suns were actively shopping him. Marshall was part of the decisions made by the old regime, and his future with the Suns is now very much in question with McDonough taking over for Lance Blanks. Still, would the Suns be able to trade Marshall for a first round pick without taking any players back in return? If the Suns do in fact trade Kendall, the more likely scenario in my opinion would be to include him in a larger trade...perhaps like the one below.

3. Trade Marcin Gortat

This trade has to happen at some point soon. The Suns are a rebuilding team looking to acquire youth and draft picks, and while Gortat is without question one of the best players on the team, it doesn't make sense for Phoenix to keep the 29 year old center after his contract expires at the end of this season. With both Jared Dudley and Luis Scola already gone, it's only a matter of time before Marcin is dealt as well. But will it be before the start of the season? The Suns may choose to hold onto Gortat until closer to the trade deadline for a couple of reasons. First, his value will likely increase by that time as potential playoff teams become more desperate to shore up their rosters before the postseason. Also, the Suns could choose to hold onto him for the time being to mentor Alex Len, and as a bit of security in case Channing Frye doesn't actually return. Again, it's only a matter of time before the Suns trade Gortat, but I'm not so sure it's the next move the Suns will make.

4. Trade Michael Beasley

Of course this is the dream scenario for a lot of Suns' fans...but is it likely? First, one has to realize that nobody, and I mean nobody, is looking to acquire Beasley. The Suns would love to free up his $6 million per year contract that doesn't expire until the end of the 2015-16 season, but it would cost them in order to do so. The Suns could attach Beasley to another deal, but all that will do is stifle the assets Phoenix would get in return. The other option is to basically pay another team to take him on by giving up one of our first round draft picks next year. Again, is it really worth it? The Suns aren't to the point of desperation in order to get under the cap, so I don't see this as being very likely at all.

5. Stretch Michael Beasley

The other option the Suns have with Beasley is to use the stretch provision on him. The current NBA CBA allows teams to waive a player and stretch their remaining salary over twice the years the player is under contract, plus one year. In Beasley's case, he is under contract for two more seasons with approximately $12.25 million guaranteed in all. If the Suns waived Beasley now, they could stretch his salary and his cap hit over the next five years at only $2.45 per season. This would minimize the effect of cutting him on the salary cap, especially in later seasons as the salary cap continues to rise. The only downside of course is the dead salary the Suns would have on the books for five years instead of just two. Still, if the Suns plan on ridding themselves of Beasley, I see this as the most likely scenario.

The Big Picture

Of course, these are only some of the more likely trades or moves the Suns could make before now and the start of the season. There are any number of other possibilities with Phoenix's current roster that could still happen as well. The Suns are loaded with relatively cheap and/or expiring contracts that they could put together to make another big move if the opportunity presented itself.

Not only that, but the Suns could make more than one move between now and the start of the season. For instance, it's entirely possible that they choose to waive Lee, stretch Beasley, and also make an additional trade in order to free up an additional roster spot or two...anything's possible.

It's also worth mentioning that the Suns still have plenty of time to make their decision. They can invite up to 20 players to participate in training camp before making their decision and finalizing their roster, so there's no need to move hastily at this point.

My guess is that another trade could happen at any time; McDonough has proven he is aggressively pursuing assets and is looking to make major changes. However, I don't believe the Suns will waive anyone until they have a chance to take a look at everyone and make an informed decision about what's best for the team.

What do you think is the next move the Suns will make?

  3083 votes | Results

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