Phoenix Suns stay put at the trade deadline
Well, The Phoenix Suns stay put at the trade deadline, just like we all expected.
The Suns were reportedly “involved” and “interested” in a few players coming up to the deadline. Some older veterans like Luol Deng, Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph that would help them in the short term, solidifying their depth chart for a deeper playoff run this year.
But GM Ryan McDonough isn’t blinded by a “big” name like some of those players or the promise of short term help.
He’s worried about the future, and he’s holding all the cards.
He’s got what every GM in the league wants… flexibility. He also has the variety to offer any team what their heart desires.
Phoenix holds (at very least the possibility of) six first-round draft picks in the next two years. Possibly four (but probably three) in 2014, which will be a historically good draft, and two in 2015 which shouldn’t be too bad. They also have Emeka Okafor’s contract/insurance payout to bargain with, as well as the rest of the roster.
The roster has been shuffled to include young talent (Alex Len, Archie Goodwin), blossoming stars (Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Markieff Morris) and a veteran stretch-four in Channing Frye that can fit in perfectly on a contender. Some of these pieces can be traded to either contenders or rebuilders or anything in between, depending on the situation and what Phoenix wants back in return.
The only problem was (and still is) the Suns don’t have any superstars. Dragic is close, but not a top 15 or 20 player which you basically need at least one of to win a championship in this league. McDonough wasn’t going to make a trade that was basically a lose-lose, failing to bring in a superstar, and making it harder to acquire one in the offseason. As a GM, you can’t (unless you are in Los Angeles or New York) mortgage your future for a chance at going deeper (but not all the way) in the playoffs this year.
So if you don’t have any superstars, what do you do until you can get one?
You have a bunch of decent, but not amazing players who have the one thing every team wishes they had, namely… chemistry.
Chemistry, where no one is selfish, all the players genuinely like each other on and off the court and will demonstrate it by making sacrifices. There are teams that are elite (OKC, MIA, IND, LAC) who have the lethal combination of top-flight talent and team chemistry, while teams like the New York Knicks (and to a lesser extent the Minnesota Timberwolves) have good, even great players, but it is clear they don’t have nearly enough team chemistry.
Some teams don’t have enough of either and that’s why they’re perpetual cellar-dwellers.
The Suns have just enough talent to give their tremendous team chemistry the chance to get over the hump and win games, which in turn fuels that chemistry more. Jeff Hornacek is a big part of that chemistry, getting them to play to their strengths, playing together.
Now that the trade deadline has passed and Phoenix didn’t do anything, the roster stays intact and the team can push toward the playoffs.
We just have to hope Eric Bledsoe comes back as soon as possible and is 100 percent when he does.