Updated Jul 5, 2012 - 10:35 am
Steve Nash to the Lakers does not make it a bad offseason for the Suns
Their refusal to do so left them in the precarious position of possibly watching their star depart as a free agent this summer, leaving the team with nothing but fond memories.
That may have been better than sending Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers, even if it was time to move on and is nice to see the 38-year-old get a shot at that elusive championship.
Initially, I felt like the Suns should have called Nash's bluff. Oh, you want to go to Los Angeles? That's nice, sign for the mid-level exception -- or whatever you can get from them as a free agent -- and have a nice day, because we ain't helping.
After all, the Suns didn't owe Nash a thing, and they certainly should not be interested in helping a division rival.
But alas, the team acquiesced to the star's request, shipping him to Hollywood in exchange for a quartet of draft picks, some cash and a bunch of pissed off fans.
The good news is once things settle down, once the fans realize that this was the front office's way of making lemonade out of a bag of rocks, they'll come to understand one, simple thing:
The Suns, for all their faults and all the speculation that the front office did not know what it was doing, have done a fantastic job so far this offseason.
Of course, much of the team's success this summer hinges on Eric Gordon and whether or not the Hornets will match the Suns' contract offer. A situation that could lend itself to a sign-and-trade, which could then mean the picks the team got from the Lakers prove to be useful.
Or not. Maybe Gordon ends up back in New Orleans and the Suns are left with Goran Dragic and Michael Beasley to show for their efforts.
Which, really, wouldn't be a tragic turn of events.
Dragic was signed for four years, Beasley for three, and each player comes to town with question marks. For Dragic, it's about whether or not he really took the "next step" in his career last season and is now ready to lead a team. With Beasley, it's about whether his head is finally ready to catch up to his talent.
Each has the potential to be great, and each has the potential to be total busts. While that's not exactly ideal, it's the reality the Suns are in. No superstar free agent is coming to the Valley, so the only way to acquire one is via trade, draft or development.
The Suns are clearly banking on the latter option with both Dragic and Beasley, and there's reason to have hope for both. And hey, if they fail, the draft will be a mighty fine option, too.
But I'm thinking both prove to be good signings.
Dragic, after all, averaged 18 points, 8.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 28 games as a starter last season, and Beasley put up 19.2 points per game as a starter in 2010-11 with Minnesota.
The talent is most certainly there with both, and at 26 and 23 years old, respectively, each has time to improve. And if Dragic continues his impressive play and Beasley turns into the guy who many thought was a can't-miss prospect when he was taken 2nd overall by the Miami Heat in 2008, the Suns will have themselves a couple of really good players. Add Gordon to that, and you have a young trio that can learn and grow together while the rest of the roster is filled out with the right role players.
Would they make the Suns a title contender? Probably not. But they'd certainly be a playoff team, which cannot be said for the last two squads led by a certain Lakers point guard.
Point blank, the Phoenix Suns targeted three players when free agency began, and as of now have landed all three. Sure, they were convinced to let Nash head to Los Angeles, but that could still work in their favor, especially if any of those picks head to the Big Easy in exchange for Gordon (and at worst it will be looked at favorably in league circles, as they did right by their star).
Besides, now who isn't looking forward to seeing Dragic blow by the two-time MVP or watch the purple and gold's newest star get knocked on his ass by Marcin Gortat or Robin Lopez?
Yeah, thought so.
The Suns have made a lot of mistakes over the years, leaving quite a bit of rightly-deserved blame at the feet of Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver. However, while they began this offseason with plenty of question marks and little faith from fans, they certainly deserve a round of applause for their moves over the last few days.