It’s the big white elephant in the corner of the room the room that won’t go away.
For better or for worse, the March 15 NBA trade deadline can’t come soon enough.
As the Suns open the second half of the season Thursday against Minnesota, the underlying storyline continues to be the future of Steve Nash either here in Phoenix or elsewhere.
Alvin Gentry’s team (14-20) finds themselves on the outside looking in at the Western Conference playoff picture and many outside the organization speculating what the future holds for a team insisting Nash won’t be dealt in the next couple weeks.
“You’re talking about a two-time MVP, a future Hall-of-Famer,” NBA TV analyst Greg Anthony told Brad Cesmat on “Big Guy on Sports” Wednesday. “There are not a lot of other reasons to go see this basketball team.”
Phoenix’s mix of youth and experience on the court hasn’t been able to return to the form of the 2010 team which reached the Western Conference Finals before losing the Lakers in six games. That summer saw the mass of exodus of All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire joining former Suns coach Mike D’Antoni in New York and general manager Steve Kerr returning to TNT to resume analyst work. Longtime Suns team executive Dave Griffin left to join the Cavaliers front office.
Suns owner Robert Sarver replaced Kerr and Griffin with Lance Blanks (GM) and longtime agent Lon Babby (President of Basketball Operations) in similar capacities.
To this point, the road has not been a smooth one.
“I never got the sense the last couple years that ownership and management was really committed to winning,” Anthony explained to Cesmat. “I haven’t really seen anything to prove otherwise so until you show a commitment that you’re willing to invest and to try to evaluate and bring in some young talent…it’s going to be a tremendous challenge for [the Suns] to get back to being one of the elites.”
For now, all the Suns can do is worry about the present and that starts with the Timberwolves, who will visit US Airways Center on Thursday after coming off back-to-back games against the Clippers and Lakers in Los Angeles.
Phoenix hasn’t played since losing to Warriors on February 22nd leading into the All-Star break.