Players or coaches are generally sad to see a coach go when he’s fired. There’s always someone within the organization that marks this as a happy occasion. The Phoenix Suns recently fired Alvin Gentry from his post and I’m sure that there were some sad to see him go. Former Suns guard and current Los Angeles Laker, Steve Nash is glad that Gentry was set free.
Nash and Gentry got along well and reached the Western Conference finals back in 2010. The franchise has gone in a different direction since then and haven’t been a threat to make the playoffs since the run they had two years ago. Nash was traded prior to the start of the season and says it’s actually a good thing that the Suns fired Gentry.
“Obviously, I’m sad for Alvin (Gentry), but in some ways maybe this is a good thing for him,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said after practice Friday. Nash was coached the last four years by Gentry, reaching the Western Conference Finals together against Los Angeles in 2010. “He’s a great coach, a really good coach and any club would be lucky to have him as a coach, that’s for sure. He’ll land on his feet for sure because he can really do a good job.”
“I think the writing’s been on the wall,” Nash said. “It looks like it to me … They wouldn’t extend his contract. They just gave him the year to kind of play it out. It looked like they wanted to get their own guy in there.”
That statement is more of an indictment of the Suns’ franchise and their decision making. The team that is currently constructed has no chance to win right now or anytime in the near future.
I kind of feel sorry for Gentry, since he seems to be a good guy, he always get stuck coaching bad teams.
BY KEVIN BERTRAM, Couchsideshow.com blogger
For Phoenix Suns fans, the way this offseason has played out has to feel somewhat familiar: a superstar leaves Phoenix for a larger market, and the front office uses nearly all the cap space to sign decent-to-good starters to “affordable” contracts. This was how things played out in 2010, and it is how things are playing out in 2012.
Of course, the superstar then leaving Phoenix was PF Amare Stoudemire, who picked the New York Knicks after they offered him a max contract with no injury clauses (The Suns, hesitant about what the state of Amare’s surgically-repaired knees would be at age 34, when his contract expired, refused to sign him to a contract without stipulations on how many games he could play in the final years of the deal). The front office letting Amare go was a hard move to understand at the time. The Suns had just come off of a brilliant postseason where they nearly toppled the Los Angeles Lakers to reach the NBA Finals. To replace their All-Star forward would be an impossible task that was made harder by the resignation of then-GM Steve Kerr and the transition to a new management team, headed by Lon Babby and Lance Blanks. (more…)
In the summer of 2004, there were two premiere NBA free agents in the class: Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. The Phoenix Suns, who much like this summer had boatloads of cap room, had a decision to make about who to chase. Eventually, the front office geared their efforts toward Nash, the perennial All-Star who was being absurdly let go by the Dallas Mavericks.
Nash would go on to win back-to-back MVPs and revitalize a franchise in a way rarely seen before in the league. He guided the Suns to four straight playoff appearances (five out of eight total) and three trips to the Western Conference Finals, but never played in an NBA Finals.
His last appearance in the West Finals, a six game series loss to Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers, saw the Black Mamba explode for 37 points in the clincher.
Now, inexplicably, the backcourt duo will unite in Los Angeles, via a sign-and-trade deal that sent Nash to the purple and gold in exchange for multiple draft picks and 3.1 million dollars.
The sudden news brought on a wide range of emotions, from disappointment and shock to anger and heartbreak. For so long, Suns fans have clung to Nash as the reason for hope in a town that loves its basketball team, a team that has yet to win a title but has come so close so many times. Nash resembled a person we looked to when we needed to find loyalty, perseverance and dedication. He represented everything a franchise player should be — outstanding on the court, having a good rapport with the media and making good relations with the community. (more…)
BY Couchsideshow.com staff
In this week’s episode of the Couch Side podcast, the dynamic duo of Craig Paul and Wade McMillin preview the NBA playoffs and analyze the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The hosts also discuss the Denver Broncos signing Brandon Stokley, an odd triple play and UFC 145.
Coming into the shortened 2011-2012 season, it didn’t seem like the Phoenix Suns would be the relevant.
Just one look at the team’s depth chart raised question of if these “old guys” could hang with the young legs of other NBA teams. I’ll admit, I wrote off the Suns when I heard Grant Hill would return as a starter and from Phoenix’s lack of offseason moves. Now, I’m not completely wrong as of right now.
If the playoffs started tomorrow, the Suns wouldn’t be dancing. But I may be eating my words in the next few weeks. Phoenix is somewhat taking the league by storm right now, posting one of the best records, so far, after the All-Star break. So I’m not a hater of the Suns anymore and residents of the desert can finally love a team that looked doomed at the beginning of the season.
After I heard that Phoenix is starting to impress, I asked myself, how? The Suns didn’t make any trades at the deadline and pretty much have the same roster they owned at the beginning of the season. And although they still look “old” on paper, it’s that veteran experience, led by coach Alvin Gentry, that has them playing with heart.
I’m not a part of the Suns’ locker room and I won’t pretend to know why this squad is playing the best basketball out of all their Western Conference counterparts right now, but I would like to believe it’s more than just having a favorable home schedule right after the All-Star break.
With March Madness, NFL free agency and baseball’s Spring Training in full swing at the beginning of March, sports fans may forget about the NBA Trade Deadline on March 15.
It may be a snoozer of a deadline as the playoffs begin just six short week later and as some general manger begin to question whether this is the right year to wheel and deal. The NBA lockout put a hinder on a lot of things and this year’s trade deadline may feel the negative effects the most. So NBA fans, don’t be holding your breath that your team is going to make that one move to put them over the top next week. It likely won’t happen. Be that as it may, deal will be done. They probably just won’t have that blockbuster title with them.
Obviously there will be a lot of discussion over Dwight Howard and the ongoing saga of him going to the L.A. Lakers. But other than that, the transactions will be at a minimum during this deadline. So with not much to work with and even fewer rumors, here’s Couch Side’s predictions on the top five players who could be dealt close or the day of the NBA Trade Deadline:
Throughout the season, Howard has been asked to be dealt. First, it was the Lakers. Then it was the New Jersey Nets. Hell, the L.A. Clippers were even up for discussion as a possible new team. Regardless of everyone wanting him, no one was willing to pay the price that Orlando wanted. Hence, the 26-year-old is still in black and blue and the Magic are the third best team in the East. So why would the Magic want to trade him? It’s simple. D-How does not want to be there. He wants to win a ring right away. And the only way he could do so is if he ends up with the Lakers, which is about a 50-50 chance right now, in my opinion. According to a handful of general managers, teams are actually waiting on Big D to be traded before they’ll even test the swapping grounds. So if Howard doesn’t get traded soon, the deadline may be even quieter. But L.A. will most likely be the front runner if anything happens at all. Howard would be walking away from $30 million if he accepted a trade. What’s even worse, to me, is that if he gets traded to another team that already has their superstar (i.e. Kobe Bryant with the Lakers) he won’t be the main dude in that city. I honestly believe the Magic can win the Finals as early as this year, but that’s only if Superman stays in Orlando. And the only way he’ll be playing in yellow and purple is if the Lakers are willing to trade Andrew Bynum, which a lot of sources say he will only be moved in a trade for Howard. So if L.A. is willing to part ways with their center of the future for basically the same thing only more talented, than Howard may just end up in L.A. by Wednesday. (more…)
BY TREVOR GOULD, Couchsideshow.com writer
Despite consisting of relatively weak collegiate basketball talent, the 2011 NBA Draft class still had its share of skill and potential.
There was Kyrie Irving, the 19-year-old freshman point guard from Duke who only played 11 games but still managed a stellar stat line of 17.5 points per game, 53% field goal percentage, and 3.4 rebounds while averaging 27.5 minutes per game. There was the highlight reel small forward Derrick Williams, who powered the University of Arizona to the Elite Eight with his strength, effective inside game, and versatile shooting abilities. There was the shooting maestro Jimmer Fredette, BYU’s virtually unstoppable guard who averaged a miraculous 28.9 points per game and who was named the 2011 national player of the year by the majority of the influential sporting publications.
As sports fans, we have been constantly hearing about how these collegiate stars have been performing on the professional level. Irving got off to a slow start but is beginning to steady himself; Ricky Rubio to Derrick Williams is becoming a potent offensive combination; Markieff Morris is providing some toughness and defense to the offensive minded Phoenix Suns, etc etc. Yet whatever happened to Bismack Biyombo, the polarizing Congolese power forward whose defensive abilities were being hailed as top-notch?