The Suns have gone from a team trending downward with no direction featuring the awesome play of Steve Nash to a team trending downward with no direction. They haven’t had a winning season since Amar’e Stoudemire played for them, and their 25-56 record guarantees the second-worst mark in franchise history, behind only the 16-66 team in 1968-69.
Phoenix fired Alvin Gentry mid-season, but Lindsey Hunter hasn’t improved the record and has caused even more upheaval. This is a mess a simple coaching change won’t fix.
Needless to say, the players have noticed. Scott Bordow of azcentral.com:
Would a third coach in less than a year be unsettling for the team?
“I think it would be a sign of things being bad,” Scola said. “But things are bad.”
Asked if there were any positives to take from the season, forward Luis Scola said: “It was a bad season. We should have won a lot more games than we did. There’s just not a lot of positive.”
Shannon Brown, who started 20 games in late 2012 before becoming a reserve, has taken the Suns’ issues personally. Via Paul Coro of azcentral.com:
“I did what I needed to do as a starter and handled my business,” Brown said. “For some reason, they want to cut my legs from under me. I know I’m built for it. I did a great job of holding my composure and not letting it get to me to where I did something detrimental to my career. I showed a lot of character by sitting back while I was taken advantage of in a lot of ways. I’ve done everything asked of me in practice and made sure to show these people what time it is. It definitely hurts to sit on the bench, watching us lose night in and night out knowing I can help and being lied to. It’s been a crazy year. I’m just glad I made it through.”
Brown’s contract has $3.5 million remaining for next season, but the Suns can waive him before free agency begins and pay him just half that amount.
It’s some of the limited flexibility Phoenix has.
D'Angelo Russell wants to play with Karl-Anthony Towns. Towns’ Timberwolves were reportedly interested in Russell last summer.
Why did Russell join the Warriors instead of Minnesota?
Russell, via Chris Hine of the Minneapolis StarTribune:
“I thought the opportunity here was amazing … ” Russell said after Warriors shootaround Friday. “It was definitely something I was considering very strongly. But then when this opportunity came, the weather is way better, so that helped me.”
“I did my first winter in New York and that was tough,” Russell said. “So to get the opportunity to go somewhere where it’s warm again, I think that played a major part in my plan.”
I don’t blame him one bit.
Russell grew up in Kentucky then finished high school in Florida. He spent his first couple NBA seasons with the Lakers.
He also played collegiately at Ohio State and a a couple years for the Nets. In other words, he spent enough time in cold-weather locations to know how miserable they can be.
This is an issue that will always hinder teams like the Timberwolves. It doesn’t mean they can’t attract free agents. It’s just a disadvantage.
There will always be players who don’t have multiple max offers. Minnesota can separate itself with money, playing time and other considerations.
But good for Russell for playing himself out of that group and earning a max contract in the Bay Area.
Kyrie Irving missed the Nets’ win over the Bulls on Saturday.
He’s not healthy enough to play the Pacers tonight.
Nets public relations:
Kyrie Irving (right shoulder impingement) is OUT.
Brooklyn (5-7) lags behinds Indiana (7-6) in the Eastern Conference’s middle morass. The Nets must try to catch up in the playoff race without their best player.
But it’s a long season. Brooklyn has plenty of time to gain ground. Spencer Dinwiddie is capable in relief, and the unselfish Nets can create ball movement while Dinwiddie rests.
I’m more concerned about next week. A segment of Brooklyn’s schedule:
- Nov. 24 at Knicks
- Nov. 25 at Cavaliers
- Nov. 27 at Celtics
That’s the team Irving spurned in free agency, the team Irving requested a trade from and the team Irving just left after pledging to re-sign. Those are juicy matchups. Hopefully, Irving is healthy enough to play in all three.
Ray Allen left the Celtics on bad terms in 2012. He finished his career with the Heat in 2014.
But Allen apparently could have come back with Boston in 2016… if Kevin Durant signed there first.
Allen, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:
“I had a conversation with (Ainge) and I told him this was my last-ditch effort. I would’ve went back,” Allen said on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria” radio show.
“This was when Kevin Durant was a free agent. He was thinking about going to Boston. And I said, ‘Hey, if you guys land Kevin, I would certainly look at lacing them back up one more time and try to make something good happen here in Boston.’ “
This is a fascinating “what if?” – for the Celtics on the court and for Allen’s legacy in Boston.
But it also probably didn’t come close to happening. Durant said his top two choices in 2016 free agency were the Warriors and Thunder. Even Allen himself said he never neared a comeback.
Still, it’s interesting – after all the animosity – Allen even spoke to Celtics president Danny Ainge about returning.
Remember Luigi Datome? He spent a couple seasons with the Pistons and Celtics.
He makes an appearance in this wild video featuring Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic (warning: profanity):
A partial transcript the best I could muster:
YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. IN YOUR EYES, YOU’RE GOOD GUYS. F— YOU, EVERYBODY! F— YOU, OK!
F— YOU, GIGI DATOME. OK? SHAME ON YOU. AND YOU…
Festivus isn’t for another month, but someone is already ready for the airing of grievances.