Suns guard Nash looks to drive on Mavericks center Mahinmi during their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas

With no deals close, Suns likely to keep Nash (and everyone else) past trade deadline


When it comes to teams dealing with superstar players who can become unrestricted free agents at the end of this season, the Suns are essentially the polar opposite of the Magic.

While Dwight Howard has tortured the franchise by changing his mind nearly every four minutes about what his intentions are, in Phoenix, Steve Nash and the Suns have been on the same page since training camp.

And now, with the trade deadline less than 24 hours away? Nothing has changed.

Nash still doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, and at this point, neither does anyone else currently on the Suns roster. The team’s president of basketball operations, Lon Babby, went on local radio Wednesday afternoon and said that no deals are even close.

“We’re working the phones constantly just to make sure that we’ve left no stone unturned,” Babby said, as transcribed by Seth Pollack at SBNation’s Suns blog. “But if you asked me for a prediction, I’d say there’s nothing even remotely close to doing right now so it would have to be something that kind of fell out of the sky in the final 12 or 24 hours.”

“I would anticipate that we would not do anything,” Babby said later in the interview. “But I suppose it’s possible something could come together quickly.”

Alvin Gentry was mum on the topic, giving a short and clearly prepared answer when I asked him before Wednesday night’s game if he anticipated anything happening.

“You’ll have to talk to Lance and Lon,” Gentry quickly replied. “I’m the coach. You’ll have to talk to them.”

In the Suns’ locker room, Jared Dudley said he wasn’t anticipating any deals to go down, either. But he did qualify it with a “you never know,” while discussing how things tend to get done fairly quickly once the time left before that deadline starts to run out.

The bottom line in Phoenix is this: It’s quiet. There have been no serious talks, no rumors, and no superstar free-agent-to-be creating a bunch of drama by publicly changing his mind minute by minute about whether or not he wants to stay with the franchise.

Orlando should be so fortunate.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.