Some of the more enlightened folks in this great land know that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. One such player is Jared Dudley.
"Just because our team's bad," he said to BSotS' own Jim Coughenour and SB Nation's Kris Habbas on Friday's podcast. "I don't want to jump off. No."
Listen to the whole, awesome podcast here. Really, it's worth your time.
He acknowledged that Suns players are definitely frustrated, but disavowed us of the notion that they all want out.
"I think there's a lot of frustration, and there should be frustration built in too," he said. "I don't care what anyone tells you. If you're on a team that's losing the way we are, people should be frustrated, annoyed, but still upbeat at practice to want to get better. So there's a difference. You can't be frustrated that you don't want to be a part of it.
"I am frustrated that we're losing. I'm tired of seeing the same mistakes. But I'm willing to put the work in to make those mistakes be very limited, if not at all."
He acknowledged the hanging heads we all see late in games, and that Luis Scola lamented earlier in the year while the notion was still newsworthy for post-game quotes.
"I definitely think the losses and the fourth quarters where a team makes a run and we can't buy a bucket, guys are like ‘here we go again' happens," Dudley said.
"But I definitely see Lindsey [Hunter] with the discipline and accountability in practice that the ownership wanted."
Dudley opined that, if he is traded, he would not want to go to another bad team. But even rather than go to a good team, he'd simply rather stay right where he is.
"It's easy to be in a good mood when you're winning," he said. "When you're losing, you need to stay in the gym, stay on guys. You never want to leave. I'll be the first one to tell you that if I had to leave, I don't want to go to a team that's bad.
"Phoenix, city-wise, is one of the top 5 destinations to go to, so why not just stay here and just get better?"
Jared Dudley is a realist. He knows that, once Nash and Hill left after Amare a couple of years ago, the Suns were going to struggle for a while to develop a new identity and to develop new stars to carry the team going forward.
He also knows he is not that new star. He won't be making any All-Star games, or joining the Dunk Contest or anything like that. And there's no "easy button" to get those new stars.
"I know I'm a leader here, I know my role here. Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. I've been through the lows here and highs, all the way to the Western Conference Finals. For me personally, I can only do the stuff that I can control. And for me its working on my game and getting better each year. Being a positive attitude for the Suns."
Ideally, the Suns would be able to keep Dudley through this transition and have him as their veteran locker room leader when the team starts winning regularly again. Any team with young guys as their best talents need leadership on the court and the sidelines. Dudley would be a great fit in that role.
But before you can take advantage of that veteran leader to guide the new stars, you need those new stars. Otherwise, Dudley is just a captain on a sinking ship.
Dudley is 27 now and will be nearing the end of his contract when the Suns realistically start winning again.
Is it smart to keep him around before the going gets good again?
Or is it smarter to trade your best asset at the height of his value to a team willing to give up a good young player in return, one with a higher upside than Dudley?
Just be glad you're not the GM of the Suns. Tough decision indeed.
The Suns would have to take back more money, since Shumpert makes about $3 million less than Dudley and the Knicks are way over the cap. Teams over the cap are forced to make trade within 150% of the outgoing salary, and there is no reason to think the Knicks would take on even more salary just to add a guy like Dudley. There has also been rumor, from Adrian Wojnarowski, that the Suns would be willing to throw in a #1 pick in the deal to get Shumpert back.
Now Chris Sheridan's site is reporting that Shumpert's camp is interested in a change.
"There are major concerns (from people close to Shumpert) over how the Knicks are developing him," a source from another team told SheridanHoops.com, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"They feel he’s being played out of position (at small forward) and his confidence is suffering because of it. They understand the team is having success and it has to be the right deal, but they’d prefer Iman in another situation… And soon."
Who knows if this means the Knicks are closer to taking action, but they do need more shooting on the perimeter for their offensive attack and are also looking for a backup point guard to supplant Pablo Prigioni.
I don't quite understand what's going on here. A rough chronology of the Iman Shumpert trade rumors is: 1. Alex Kennedy reports the Knicks' interest in Jared Dudley, we all assume Shump would be part of any deal for Dudley. 2. Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Suns' interest in trading Dudley for Shumpert while denying any mutual interest from the Knicks 3. Knicks people like Mike Woodson and Carmelo Anthony vehemently dismiss any trade rumors. Shump says he's trying to ignore them. Glen Grunwald says nothing, of course.
If New York still insists on a #1 pick back along with Dudley for Shumpert, then the Suns would be wise to fight back. The Suns were adamant this week that they would only trade one of their upcoming #1s if the talent coming back was exceptional.
Certainly, the Suns thought Shumpert had a chance to be special at the draft a year ago but the risk was too high to take him in the lottery. In his rookie season, he showed potential to make a lot of outside shots and become a lockdown defender before getting hurt in the playoffs. He could thrive on a young team with lots of minutes available, once his knee is fully healed.
And there's this from Amin Elhassan, who now writes for ESPN but used to work in the Suns front office until this past summer. He knows all there is to know about Iman Shumpert and Jared Dudley, and this dude really knows what he's talking about.
This is some of Amin's take on the Dudley/Shumpert idea:
The on-again, off-again rumor surrounding the Knicks has been their interest in dangling second-year guard Iman Shumpert for the Suns' do-it-all Jared Dudley. Shumpert has the higher upside with his athleticism and elite defensive ability, but his offensive strengths are mostly limited to when he has the ball in his hands, something that won't happen in New York.
Amin goes on to talk about Dudley's talents - which we all know already - and concludes that this is a good deal for the Knicks. Get behind the $$ wall to get more more Amin. This dude is a font of knowledge on the NBA.
If I were the Suns, I would try to satisfy their needs at backup PG or lottery-protect the #1 going to New York (say, the Minnesota pick, for example).
Thanks again to Jared for joining the show. Stay tuned everybody, we are working assiduously to keep the guest appearances coming (and by we I mean Kris). Besides the standard fare next week we are already finagling another premium guest to join us after the break.