Bryan Gibberman spoke with Suns general manager Ryan McDonough after Friday's press conference.

After the Suns press conference, and television interviews, and radio interviews…general manager Ryan McDonough was kind enough to give Bright Side a couple of minutes of his time to answer a few questions. I mainly deviated away from the same talking points that were discussed in the presser.

Bryan Gibberman: What you've gone through from the offseason to now, you haven't even been on the job for two years, is there anything from that experience that you've learned that you want to take forward?

Ryan McDonough:

It's a good question (I could have easily left that part out, but HAHA like I wouldn't allow my praise to be seen). I think like any job the more experience you get the more you learn and grow.

The main thing I would change or we would change is probably how Eric Bledsoe's contract negotiation went last year and how long it was drawn out. I think we will do better in that situation the next time around. Other than that we don't really make any apologies for the moves we've made. They're all with the same goal in mind, that's to try to get the Suns to a championship level. I think people like yourself who've been around the team for a long time and have watched the Suns for a while now can see the growth and I hope the fans can see the influx of young talent and future potential.

Sometimes it can be difficult in the short term for people to see the organization take what they perceive to be a step back, even though we don't see it that way, or for players they're familiar with to go out in trades, and players or picks that are coming back that they're less familiar with can be a challenge sometimes. I'm very confident with the moves we've made. I think like with these deals there's all kind of blogs, articles, draft winners and losers, trades winners and losers -- I think as always at the end of the day time will tell and I think and hope over the next few years people will look back favorably on the moves we made here over the past couple times.

BG: You mentioned with IT (during the press conference) how he had a positive impact on the on-court success. When it comes to Brandon Knight he's had a lot of individual success, but they've been about 10 points worse per 100 possessions with him on the court. What was the context with that there and why do you think he can have more of a positive impact here?

RM:

I think the challenge and I don't want to get into analyzing Milwaukee's team too much. I think the challenge for Brandon has been in some ways their bench group was almost better than their starters. Their bench has played extremely well, they're up there with our bench in terms of the highest scoring benches in the league. Players like Khris Middleton and Jared Dudley who they've brought off the bench have had terrific years. In some ways that can skew the numbers if you're playing primarily with the starters. Again, I don't want to get into analyzing the Bucks team, but their starting lineup is kind of young and inexperienced, and their bench guys are solid veterans guys and they are experienced. We did more specific breakdowns than that.

We rely fairly heavily on analytics and there are a few factors I don't want to get into. We are comfortable doing this deal. We think Brandon Knight is a very good two-way player, he's up among the league leaders in three-point shooting, he's a very good defender and we're confident he will have a very positive impact on our team.

Statistical addition: In 408 minutes Knight played with Middleton and Dudley the group was a +11.9 net rating per 100 possessions.

BG: You guys have very much bought into position-less basketball, but it seems like it's something that the players aren't accepting of. How do you get them to buy into that?

RM:

I think I disagree with the notion that not all players are not accepting of it. I think the guys accepted it very well last year and we had a lot of team success. I think this year certain players are more concerned about their contractual status or what was best for them, rather than what was best for the team. To be honest with you, that led to a lot of the moves we made yesterday.

We tried to clear out the guys who were more concerned with what they did individually, or we felt were more concerned with what they did individually than with team success. I feel like we accomplished this.

BG: Last question, you've talked about the value of these draft picks. The Lakers pick was arguably one of if not your most valuable commodity. Why was this the right time to cash that in?

RM:

With a pick like that our analysis was that we probably weren't going to receive the pick this year. That pushes the pick into next year, the protection drops to three, but I think analyzing the Lakers situation there's pretty high variance there as to what the pick could be. If you ask me how the Lakers are going to be a year from now i have no idea. Obviously, they've struggled some recently, but they're going to have a lot of salary cap space this summer and they're in a market that's traditionally been one of the top draws for free agents.

We know the risks. The pick next year could be the fourth pick in the draft, it could be the 14th pick in the draft, it could be the 30th pick in the draft. We felt it was the right time to cash it in.

We knew we needed to give something good to Philadelphia in a three-team trade in order for them to part with Michael Carter-Williams. That's what they wanted so that's how the deal got done.

What a week for the Phoenix Suns. I am exhausted from just watching it unfold. Even the circus show of the Alvin Gentry firing two years ago came nowhere close to the utter craziness of these past five days.

And when crazy jumps into the middle of a tenuous situation, no one comes out unscathed.

Goran Dragic unexpectedly breathed his dragon fire right onto the scalps of General Manager Ryan McDonough and President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. He blasted the Suns in an epic media scrum that no one saw coming. I mean, no one.

In response the Suns, fueled by the fire of self-righteous indignation, picked up a pair of blow torches and burned the landscape with a fury that turned what was once a rare harmonious relationship into nothing but a pile of ash.

Now we are left to wonder when a Phoenix can rise reborn from these ashes. Will it be years before the Suns franchise recovers from this devastation? Months? Or just days?

Rapid Recap

This time last week, as the All-Star weekend was going full throttle, small rumors leaked out that the Phoenix Suns were gauging interest in their best player Goran Dragic, the reigning NBA Most Improved Player and third-team All NBA selection. The league's trade deadline was just six days away and the three-headed-monster just wasn't working. The Suns were making everyone on the roster available in the right deal.

Rumor had it the Suns wanted a young, potential All Star and a future draft pick, at the least. But rumor also had it the Suns wanted to keep Goran long term, as long as he wanted to stay in purple and orange.

I, for one, took Goran for granted that he wanted to stay. He appeared happy last year in that combo role with Eric Bledsoe. The Suns won two-thirds of their games together. Just four months ago, Goran was stumping for Bledsoe to get re-signed and said during the World Cup that he planned to re-sign with the Suns himself.

But then he returned from a Hawaiian vacation with his and his agents' family and dropped the bomb on the Suns he would absolutely not re-sign with the team, and that he should be traded in the coming days. He no longer had any interest sharing point guard duties with Bledsoe or Thomas.

The Suns were floored by the veracity of the comments but not surprised by the message. They complied even though Dragic's representatives made the process as painful as they could to force the Suns to trade with a team of Dragic's choosing. A rumored trade with Sacramento fell through when the Dragic camp wouldn't commit long-term. Same with Houston. Only the Knicks, Lakers and Heat - severely lacking of real assets - were given the green light by Dragic's camp.

The eventual trade with the Heat was the best of the worst.

What's left behind

Besides the players, what's left behind are a bunch of bruised egos. Everyone is angry, to varying degrees. The Suns front office had to make changes to the roster, and were only emboldened by the fire lit on their backsides by the Dragon.

In the process of remaking the roster in the span of a few days, the Suns hit the reboot button on the rebuild. They may be painting this as a reload, but any time you swap an All-NBA player, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate and a primo draft pick for cap space, youth and even further-down-the-road picks, you've hit the reset button.

Sure, new Suns player Brandon Knight (just turned 23) might eventually turn out to be the best player or pick swapped on Thursday, as Ryan McDonough claims. Goran Dragic might regress back to career norms and eventually start to wear down from a lifetime of year-round play. Isaiah Thomas may be addition by subtraction. And the Laker pick might drop down to a middling pick if the Lakers have a good summer.

But it's just as likely that the Dragon - currently the best player traded on Thursday in any Suns transaction - remains the best for years to come and adds All-Star bids and playoff wins to his resume. And it's quite possible the upcoming Lakers pick becomes a star. And who knows if Isaiah Thomas might shake the doubters and prove himself a full time NBA starter, a perennial 20/6 guy on the cusp of All-Star consideration.

We won't know the answer to these questions for a while.

In the meantime, embrace the reset on the rebuilding phase, Suns fans. And don't get attached to any of these players or you'll get burned again. All is not perfect. In the aftermath of the trades, you still have the same handful of players who have been causing trouble since last summer.

Ryan McDonough is right that the team should be about "us, our and we" rather than "I, me and my". Sure, some of that me-first has been traded away. Lost in DragonGate is that Isaiah Thomas was previously the most vocal on wanting more minutes and a bigger role, and in a more professional way he shared his frustration with being misled about his role on the Suns. Both he and Dragic are now gone.

But still dressing in the locker room are a handful of other guys who were also complaining about their roles or chaffing at the sacrifices they were being asked to make.

Beyond that, don't forget TechGate. Don't forget the coach/player fight on the sidelines in the middle of a game. Don't forget the disconnect between players, front office and coach regarding the constant whining to the refs.

Those problems still exist, and they are perfect evidence that this roster, this core, is still not set.

There is no leader in this clubhouse who will hold players accountable for their professionalism and sacrifice. Leaving all that work to the coaching staff eventually becomes counter-productive as the players start to tune them out.

More changes will come this summer. In the meantime, let's hope the team finds some balance and gets some run for the kids so the front office knows who to trade and who to keep this summer.

Goran Dragic, the closest thing the Phoenix Suns have had to a face of the franchise since Steve Nash, is gone. And that is sad. Unless, of course, you’re really going to let a few harsh (but...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
A new dawn begins today. Okay, so maybe that’s a little too dramatic, but following the Phoenix Suns’ loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, some new faces are getting set to join the team,...

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

The Suns lost another close game when their offense failed down the stretch of a 111-109 defeat at Minnesota.

      
 
 

Page 17 of 1773

17

Sponsored Ads