The 2012 off-season have been a great one for the Phoenix Suns after losing Steve Nash; the face of the franchise and arguably the most popular Suns player of all time. The Suns reloaded by signing Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley, Shannon Brown and P.J Tucker. The Suns also traded Hakim Warrick and Robin Lopez for Wesley Johnson, a couple of expiring contracts and a first rounder. The Suns currently have 6 first round picks in the next 3 years, and 4 second round picks also.
There’s a belief that’s been around in the league for a while that you need 2 superstars to win a title, maybe even a third, but with the top -tier teams like the Heat, Lakers and Thunders with 3-4 superstars maybe 2 isn’t even enough. The Suns have made a lot of signings this off-season but it in leaves the Suns with enough salary space next summer to offer ONE max contract to a star player.
The Suns at the moment have no superstars, but rather just a bunch of good role players. With enough cap space to land only one max deal player it sort of leaves the question of, did the Suns over spend this off-season?
Personally I wasn’t a big fan of the Goran Dragic signing because I would’ve liked to see Kendall Marshall get thrown in the fire right away and learn the NBA game on the fly. Sebastian Telfair has also proven to be a quality back-up who is just a blood hound on the defensive end of the floor and is absolutely fearless so he could always provide quality minutes off the bench. Dragic’s deal is for 4 years and 7.5M annually, now I’m not saying Dragic isn’t a very good point guard; he absolutely is but I think the Suns have put themselves in that position once again of not being good enough to make noise in the playoffs but not bad enough to secure a top 5 draft pick.
If the Suns are set on contending sometime in the near future, it’s almost mandatory that they rebuild from the ground up. Giving young players get heavy minutes, and let them grow into stars. No rookie is going to become a star playing 12 minutes a night. Anyone remember Russell Westbrook’s rookie year? He was awful! He shot 39% from the field, he averaged 5.3 assists a game with 3.3 turnovers a game, shot a down right poor 27% from distance but look at him now. This just goes to show that rookies need playing time! Because rookies will learn a lot more from playing and making mistakes rather than sitting on the sidelines watching.
The Suns are locked in for 38M worth of GUARRENTEED salary during the 2013-2014 season but it’ll come out to about 42M after picking up the options on Marshall and Markieff Morris. With the salary cap set at about 58M the Suns can offer pretty much EXACTLY 1 max deal to a star which would make them competitive along with the core they have now but it certainly won’t make them contenders.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of moves the Suns front office will make around the time of trade deadline or draft next year. Don’t be surprised if the Suns ship out multiple players around the trade deadline if the Suns are struggling and aren’t even in the playoff race. They certainly have all the resources to make some trades and creep their way back to title contending status but they’ll need some luck and some other teams GMs to make some poor decisions along the way.