For a franchise which has committed every faux pas in the book of organizational blunders in recent years (from shipping off the draft rights of Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Rudy Fernandez and Luol Deng, to trading Kurt Thomas and two future first-round draft picks to the Sonics in 2007 in exchange for a conditional second-rounder, to compromising the style of the most fascinating offensive attack in the NBA since the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s with the forgettable Marion-Shaq trade in 2008), the Summer of 2010 takes the cake.
Letting your star player bolt without a legitimate fight was a head-scratcher. But trying to fill his void with $80-plus million devoted to three B-tier free agents, all while signing a streaky three-point shooting big man in Frye (who has seen his three-point percentage drop nine percent from last season) to a five-year extension reeks of mismanagement. And while season ticket holders and die-hard fans loathe the site of the finger-waving Sarver and every decision and indecision he has made during his dubious tenure, the biggest victim in the demise of a once, well-regarded franchise is Nash.
In six seasons, the Nash-led Suns have ranked atop the NBA’s categories for offensive efficiency and points per game, Phoenix has reached the Conference Finals on three different occasions and the team has gone at least to the Conference Semifinals every year but the 2008-09 campaign – when a Terry Porter firing and Stoudemire’s gruesome eye injury saw the team fall to an unlikely 46-36 record.
During that time, Nash has been forced to to lead a new starting lineup every season. The crafty Canadian may have the prestigious lumber to suggest such changes have been easy since he dawned a Suns uniform for a second time back in 2004, but it hasn’t. From Joe Johnson to Quentin Richardson to Raja Bell to Boris Diaw to Marion to Amar’e – and even the recently shipped off Jason Richardson – Batman has survived ineptitude from upper management, but Robin never has.
So as Sarver – the team’s unpopular breadwinner and organizational kryptonite – mulls over what his franchise has become in the coming days, what can anyone really expect from a guy whose most consistent trait is his aura of inconsistency? Is it time to hang up the Nash jersey in the closet for the last time? Does No. 13 have one last heroic tale left to tell in a Suns uniform? Will the era of the Fun N’ Gun team finally come to a close? But most importantly, should the face of a sports town have a say in where the final chapter in this award-winning career takes place?
The ball is in Sarver’s court, and for Suns fans and the man they call MVSteve, that is a harrowing place to wait.
What do you think should happen?
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.