Steve Nash's back is starting to fail him and the results are both predictable and expected. We also discuss observations from the NCAA West Regionals in Phoenix, Boris Diaw on the Spurs, the Lakers drama, and of course, update the playoff standings.

Hosted by Bryan Gibberman and Seth Pollack and presented by Arizona Sports 620 and SB Nation Arizona.

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Lance Blanks has been sent to China to check on Aaron Brooks. The Guandong Tiger is averaging 21.9 points, 4.7 assists and 1.9 steals a game. He is currently playing in the CBA championship against Stephon Marbury's club, the Beijing Ducks.

So what is the story behind the visit? Blanks is saying a lot of kind things, which could lead one to believe the Suns are hoping for the 27 year old point guard to return to the desert. Said Blanks: "The trip is more about a relationship that we have with someone who has worn a Suns' uniform. Aaron is a part of the Suns family, so we thought it was important to take the time to see him in China."

Hm. I think that's a little over the top. This sounds a little more truthful to me:

"Going over to China will give us a chance to sit down with Aaron and see where his head is, in terms of his experience in China and his future ..."

Check out the full article and decide for yourself:

Suns GM Headed to China to Visit Brooks

And if you missed it, Alex Laugan wrote a nice piece on the intricacies of a potential Brooks return and or trade.

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What's that in his eyes?  Fire?  Passion? The reflection of a unicorn? Maybe it's determination.  Keep an eye on those Wolves.  Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Well ... we all knew this stretch of games would be tough. But the bad start to the season has the Suns in a tight spot where every game really does matter. We started yesterday 1.5 games back of the 9th ... er 8th ... er 7th spot, and with the loss to the Clips last night we slid to two full games back.

But the good news is that both Utah and Denver lost last night. That continues to give the Suns hope that they can still catch up if they can somehow end their current funky skid and remember how they were playing just a week or so ago. Putting the fate of your playoff appearance in the hands of other teams is not the most enjoyable way to make the playoffs -- we all know that from experience.

Updated Western Conference Standings Via


Key Games Thursday, March 28:

- Denver Nuggets (9) LOST to the Toronto Raptors, 96-105

Nuggets at Raptors recap: Denver falls flat in fourth, lose in Toronto

There is a saying by mothers out there that goes, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Well, the Nuggets lose to the Raptors 105-96 and get outscored from the 1:46 mark in the 3rd quarter to the game's end 26-11. The Nuggets missed 15 straight shots in the fourth quarter and lose again in embarrassing fashion to a team that is supposed to be inferior, on paper.

Very good news for the Suns - the Denver Nuggets are our first target to surpass.

- Minnesota Timberwolves (11) BEAT Charlotte Bobcats, 88-83

A Post-Feral, Nearly-Domesticated Report Card. Bobcats 3/28

I have to admit that I had misgivings about this game and whether we had enough healthy bodies to be competitive with the Bobcats. They have a lousy record, but are not mincemeat as they proved tonight. Once they get a bit more talent and a few years of experience, they can be serious competition for anyone! Somehow another spectacular game from the best power forward in the NBA this year, coupled with a point guard had a really solid game, a reserve forward who had a good game, and not much else was enough tonight. Let's hope Beas and Pek and Barea can give us some minutes here soon, the Misfit Toys are looking worse for the wear....

Keep an eye on the T-Wolves ... that Kevin Love is a bad man.

- Utah Jazz (7) LOST to the Boston Celtics, 82-94

Jazz Vs. Celtics Post Game Thread: Utah falls 82-94, and Kevin Garnett is still kinda mean

Anyway, Jazz were up by one, then the Ghosts of Boston Garden got all influential, and before you knew it the Jazz were down. And down big. Our boys fought back, but missed free throws and missed opportunities only succeeded in frustrating our players and fans -- and did not help the Jazz leave town with a win.

Kevin Garnett is a _________ Please fill in the blank/s in the comment section ...

- San Antonio Spurs (2) BEAT the Sacramento Kings, 117-112

Eff the Spurs. They still roll.

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(SB Nation Arizona, Ernie Pomim) Many folks have begun to speculate what Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash's next move will be in his professional basketball career, to keep on keeping on or to hang 'em up as one of the legends to play the game. Nash joined the Dan Patrick Show recently to discuss such matters, as well as all the trade deadline rumors. Make the jump to see for yourself.

Nash noted that despite all the hooplah that surrounded him at the deadline, this offseason could be more eventful, but would like to stick around if possible:

"I could be back for sure," Nash said, "but that will be more interesting than the trade deadline."

Nash noted the importance of the Suns to improve the pieces around him to become a contender once again. He also mentioned he hasn't talked to Dirk Nowitzki about going to Dallas but he'd certainly listen if the Miami Heat called.

Nash seems to think the Suns are trying to get better:

Per Paul Coro on Twitter:

Nash on Dan Patrick: "I am not going to come back to the Suns... if they're not looking to upgrade the roster seriously & I think they are."

— Paul Coro (@paulcoro) March 29, 2012

It certainly looks like Phoenix will have some work to do if they want to woo Nash enough to remain with the Suns as the aging guard wants the taste of winning back on his lips before he hangs them up for good. Hopefully they can give him that.

[Note by Seth Pollack, 03/29/12 2:15 PM MST ]

The full quotes and link to the audio: blogs - Coro's Orange Slices - PaulCoro - Nash: won't stay if Suns don't 'upgrade' roster

"I definitely do want to win," Nash told Patrick. "I'm not going to come back to the Suns if there isn't an improvement, if they're not ambitious and they're not looking to upgrade the roster seriously. And I think they are. They'll have a lot of flexibility in free agency. They'll also have been standing pat in many ways so they could do some things this summer. I think they'll become a definite possiblity for me. I do want to win. I do want to consider all my options."

Listen to Patrick's entire interview of Nash here.

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It's hard for any Suns fan not to miss this sight.

Few issues have generated as much heated discussion among Suns fans as the question of whether letting sure-fire future Ring of Honor inductee Amar'e Stoudemire leave for the Knicks without offering a fully guaranteed contract for the maximum salary and max amount of years was a wise decision.

The reason given by the Suns not to fully guarantee the final two years of a five-year contract offered to Stoudemire was that the contract was uninsurable due to microfracture surgery that had been performed on his knee in 2005. This didn't deter the deep-pocketed Knicks from signing Stoudemire to a fully guaranteed 5 yr/$100 million contract in July of 2010, a contract that is now in its second year.

With one mostly effective season from Stoudemire that ended in playoff disappointment for the Knicks (getting swept out of the first round by the Celtics as he suffered a back injury and was unproductive in the series) under his belt in New York, Stoudemire is now out at least 2-4 weeks with a bulging disc. If the Knicks and he are fortunate, he'll be back for the final two weeks of the season as the team pushes for one of the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

That makes one season Stoudemire ended with an injured back and another that might end the same way. Though his knee was the Suns primary area of concern, other injuries have caused Stoudemire not to be a player worthy of maximum salary, let alone for another three years.

It was almost exactly two years ago that Suns center Robin Lopez was diagnosed with a bulging disc, and Lopez didn't regain all of his explosiveness for about a year after that. Every injury is different, but if Stoudemire were still a member of the Suns, with this injury and his current salary commitment, fans would be freaking out at the possibility that the 29-year-old, 10th year pro Stoudemire might never be the same player again, and that the team would be on the hook to pay him like a franchise player when he was merely a shell of his former self.

Not that things have gone swimmingly for the Suns since Stoudemire's departure, but the franchise's current situation is preferable to that, isn't it?

It is a unique situation when a conference finalist team sees a multiple time All-Star player such as Stoudemire leave as a free agent. How are fans to react? Bitterly towards the player for leaving the team? Bitterly towards the organization for not taking appropriate steps to keep him? We've seen plenty of each among Suns fans, but I've always thought that the decisions made by both Stoudemire and team management were defensible.

For Stoudemire to accept the Suns' contract offer rather than the Knicks' offer would have meant that he was risking an amount in the $45M range of cold, hard cash if he were to get injured on the job, through no fault of his own, and couldn't play for significant portions of those last two seasons. Even for a person who has made boatloads of money in his career and was going to make at least $55M more, it's hard to imagine leaving $45M guaranteed salary on the table.

From the franchise's standpoint, it also comes back to that $45M. If Stoudemire was not able to play for those last two seasons, for whatever reason, the Suns would be committed to pay him in full and take the cap hit (assuming they did not amnesty him; the payment of the salary would happen regardless), crippling the team's chances to compete in those seasons.

To say that Stoudemire should have made that sacrifice, or Sarver should have, well, that's easy to say when it's somebody else's money we are talking about. Would you be willing to take a comparable risk with your own money? For me, if I was Stoudemire or Sarver, I would probably have done exactly what each of them did. There is no villain here, just circumstances.

So, what are fans to do? Cheer for Stoudemire as a Knick, for all the good times he gave us as fans? Hope for him to get injured and/or fail because it will justify the actions of the team in not guaranteeing him all that money?

It's a no-win situation. Seeing Stoudemire succeed for the full five years of his contract would mean that our favorite team gave up one of its best players ever for no good reason. Ouch. And cheer for the Knicks? Never. But wanting to see Stoudemire get injured or otherwise fail ... that is just spiteful and classless.

The best approach is to let bygones be bygones and not continue to dissect a decision that was made nearly two years ago, but unfortunately there's little hope of that happening among emotional fans.

How about this: Amar'e supporters acknowledge that Suns management had completely valid reasons not to fully guarantee a max contract for him, and those who think Amar'e betrayed the team acknowledge that they probably wouldn't have sacrificed $45M if given the choice either. There's no reason for bitterness towards either party.

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