Home > Uncategorized > Lament of the Phoenix Part Two…

Lament of the Phoenix Part Two…

(I got a bit wordsy and had to split my last post in two. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here, or you could just scroll down, down again, just a little further, a touch more, you’re almost there…)

All of which brings us to the Big Kahuna. For Garnett, Minnesota’s former GM Kevin McHale took a package of Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebation Telfair, the expiring deals of Theo Ratliff and Grant Green, and two draft picks. Would a package of Rajon Rondo, Leandro Barbosa, Shawn Marion, the Rudy Fernandez pick and a future number one have been a more enticing offer for McHale? I’d have to think so. The talent in the latter package is a lot better.

Remember that we are talking about things back in 2007, when Barbosa was still thought of as a potential game changing sixth man, and Marion’s (Nashless) offensive shortcomings had yet to be made clear. It would not have offered the immediate cap relief, but Minnesota isn’t a free agent destination, so the cap space is less important than the talent.

I don’t know if McHale takes that deal… I mean, it’s Kevin “I think trading Sam Cassell for Marko Jaric is a good deal, but I’d better sweeten the offer with a draft pick” McHale, who the heck knows what he does. Predicting that is like trying to predict whether Ron Artest is going to be wearing pants today. It’s possible that he would have done the deal without Fernandez, but who knows. So, lets just assume that they do it as is. Why? well, it just makes the rest of my post easier.

Had Suns management utilised those draft picks, they could have still given Raja Bell the midlevel exception, they could have re-signed Eddie House, Grant Hill would still have signed for the veteran minimum. Obviously we aren’t going near Marcus Banks, the Gordan Giricek trade isn’t particularly likely, and the Big Cactus would never have sprouted, but if Phoenix had walked this path, here’s what their roster would have looked like for the 2007/08 season, versus what it looked like when the 2008 playoffs began:

Starters                         Starters
PG – S. Nash              PG – S. Nash
SG – R. Bell                 SG – R. Bell
SF – J. Johnson        SF – G. Hill
PF – K. Garnett          PF – A. Stoudemire
C – A. Stoudemire      C – S. O’Neal
Bench                            Bench
G – E. House               G – L. Barbosa
G – S. Rodriguez        S – D.J. Strawberry
S – G. Hill                    S – G. Giricek
S – J. Jones                 S – L. Johnnson
B – B. Skinner             B – B. Skinner
B – B. Diaw                  B – B. Diaw
B – M. Gortat               B – S. Marks

Is that a championship difference? I think so, the starting five is awesome. Bell, Johnson, and Garnett are all plus defenders who could help cover for Nash and Amare’s shortcomings. In 2007, Garnett over Shaq is a massive upgrade. The Diesel was running like an ’82 Volvo, while KG was at the height of his powers that season. His commanding presence and defensive energy were the biggest factors in Boston’s revival. Would he have had the same effect on the Suns? It think he would have. He basically does everything Marion did for the Suns, but better. Well, he doesn’t shoot threes quite as well, but then he doesn’t really shoot them and since Marion never shot threes quite as well as he thought, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

Johnson replacing Hill in the starting lineup, and thus Giricek overall, is also obviously a massive upgrade. Johnson is the perfect basketball player for the D’Antoni system. He’s a strong defender, he passes almost as well as a point guard, and, most importantly, he shoots the rock.

The bench is also stronger. Mike D’Antoni only ever goes three deep on his bench and House did yeoman’s work off the bench for the Celtics that year. So, a Hill, House, Diaw bench would have offered a change of pace guy, a savvy and smart swingman, and a guy who likes French food. What? Sure Diaw has spent most of his career a little on the soft side, but I’m the last guy who’s going to criticize a Frenchman for knowing the importance of butter…

If the team needed to bang, then they could have thrown Gortat out there, if they needed a shooter off the bench they’d have had Jones, if they’d needed an overwhelmed rookie to buy donuts, they’d have had Rodriguez. Really, they had everything they needed. I honestly think that that squad wins the title that year and quite possibly another last year.

Instead, only two years latter, as the Suns look to move Amare Stoudemire for ten cents on the dollar, we are left singing,

Great God! is this our certain doom?
And are we still secure?
Still walking downward to our tomb,
And yet prepare no more?

The Suns are doomed and the right move probably is trading Amare, so let us mourn the death of the Suns… but what are the chances of the franchise writing that “eulogy” and moving Nash somewhere better?

  1. BigCuz well at least Older Cuz
    January 29, 2010 at 9:04 am

    82 Volvo…hmm sounds familiar…smells familiar…
    Yellow perhaps…

    Allright, now not only do you waste your time again writing all that stuff that’s bangin in the brain, now I waste my time again reading it and mostly agreeing with you.

    Wow, Nash, , Bell, Johnson, Garnett, Stoudemire – och, tha’s Surf Cullen all the wa’ man!

    But alas, we must deal with reality, not fantasy. So we turn to the New York Knicks! LBJ NASH STOUDEMIRE LEE (FILL IN THE BLANK – jeffries…d. jones, you could put any body in here and they could not stink it up, even any guy on Memphis over 7 feet tall not named Gasol, hell well even put in Marcus Banks. well maybe there will need to be more than 1 defender…)

  2. January 29, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    The return of BIG CUZ… brilliant. It really would have been Surf Cullen, but alas instead it’s more Surf Aberdeen… Still, as you said that’s in the past. Last winter I figured out a way that the Knicks could have a starting five of: Nash, J. Johnson, LBJ, Dirk, and Marcus Camby, but then the cap went down, Nash resigned with the Suns, and well… Now, I’ll have to figure out a new way to make a super team.

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