The thing about the Phoenix mythology? The bird does die again.
The Phoenix Suns rose from the ashes this year, returning to the playoffs and not only advancing to the Western Conference Finals, but pushing the Lakers in a competitive series despite their numerous mismatches. So the natural question to ask is “What’s next?”
The answers are not brilliant.
The Suns have one major priority for the summer: re-sign Amar’e Stoudemire. That’s it. The options are pretty simple. They can re-sign Amar’e Stoudemire, keep the most explosive pick and roll duo in the league together, and keep building assets to maintain contention. Or they can let Amar’e go, fill that cap space hole with a stopgap, and start shedding salary to plan for the future, one which most likely won’t feature Grant Hill or Steve Nash.
Re-signing Amar’e won’t be a piece of cake. He was significantly put off by the amount of trade rumors he was forced to endure and knows that his value on the open market has never been higher. he’ll be courted by major market teams with major market salaries, all hoping to add that component in Amar’e that will put them into championship contender.
And while the Suns can pay him the most, are convenient, are “home’ and are emotionally difficult to leave, Stoudemire has to ask himself if it’s the best place to compete for a championship. This season for the Suns was amazing. Terrific. Inspiring. But it was also about the best this core of players can get. Meanwhile the Suns don’t have a first round pick and don’t have the cap room to sign a major player or the assets to trade for one. The only way the Suns become a major force in the playoffs again is if they were to add an All-Star to an already loaded roster. And that just may not be possible.
The Suns proved that you can make the Western Conference Finals with talent, heart, and guts playing a fun, fast paced style of offense and lead it with a bench mob. The Finals proved that team may not be able to win a championship.
The Suns went down swinging. But that still means they went down.
Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.
Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.
You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.
The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.
McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.
He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.
The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.
McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.
Joel Embiid is a man of the people.
And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.
Embiid was out there with them. Literally.
Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to CSNPhilly.com.
Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.
The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.
Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.
In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.
The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.
NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.
When the Woj bomb dropped that Larry Bird was stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers, two questions came to mind. First was, “Is he healthy?” Reportedly he is, this was not a healthy-related decision. Which is great news.
Second, what does that mean for Paul George?
Is Indiana more likely to trade him now? Less?
George speculation has ramped up around the league and — while no doubt new GM Kevin Pritchard will say he would love to keep PG13 when he speaks to the media — there is a sense Bird walking away could be a sign that the Pacers are moving into rebuilding mode. That said, Pritchard is known for driving a hard bargain, he’s not going DeMarcus Cousins trade here.
I talk about all of that and more in this latest PBT Extra.