Phoenix Suns Pull the Big Shaqtus out of Their Foot With an Eye for the Future

Elijah MandersContributor IJune 27, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 29:  Earl Clark #5 of the Louisville Cardinals drives on Deon Thompson #21 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2008 NCAA Men's East Regional Final at Bobcats Arena on March 29, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Say what you will about Suns GM Steve Kerr. Most Suns fans would like to see him fired, if not tried for treason. The reality is he came into an impossible situation and the Shaq trade failed miserably.

But anything less than a title wouldn't have sufficed at that point for the Suns franchise. Kerr took the first step by removing Shaq's enormous contract, his epic personality, and his laneclogging body from the Suns for a couple of throw away contracts.

Then he drafted Earl Clark with the 14th pick in the recent draft with a vision for going for "length, size, youth," saying that current NBA defending rules mean you have to have people protecting the rim since you can't hand check any longer.

Trade talks surrounding Amare Stoudemire seem to suggest the Suns are ready to put a new face on the franchise—bite the bitter pill that this team is not championship-caliber any longer, and that its better to move on. 

Hopefully, in the process, they will get quality young players such as Stephen Curry, Andres Biedrens and the like. Even if the high-profile trade with the Warriors falls through, the Suns should get quality younger players and/or draft picks for Amare or keep him as a young, explosive scorer, possibly for a midseason trade.

As a long-time Suns fan, it is hard to let go of the Seven Seconds or Less era, but the sooner we restock ourselves with young talent and stop trading away the Dengs and Rondos we draft, I believe another exciting team will emerge. 

I am willing to trade Steve Nash, but I see his inclusion on the roster as a great player/coach, and he is a player that can help other young, athletic guys develop confidence and continuity.

If there was a time for a transition, this is it, with the Lakers, Blazers, Nuggets, and Spurs all looking like they will be tough to surpass in the coming years.

Kerr has to take some heat for the Shaq/Marion deal, but I think its too early to judge his GM ability. I didn't think Terry Porter would be such a difficult fit, and I believed the  JRich trade was a good gamble. 

If Stat stays, maybe the floor will be wide open again with Shaq in Cleveland, the Nash/Amare pick n' roll will thrive again, and other young players will step up, like in 2006, when the Suns didn't have Amare at all.

Of course, this is no longer a Colangelo-owned team, and we'll have to see in the coming years how committed to winning Robert Sarver is. He hasn't made a good first impression, but I'm willing to give Steve Kerr another few years as GM.