Suns Will Set if Free Agents Walk

Manuel Guerrero@@el_guerreroContributor IJune 25, 2010

PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 11:  Amar'e Stoudemire #1 and Channing Frye #8 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the New Orleans Hornets at US Airways Center on November 11, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Hornets 124-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

What goes up must inevitably go down.

It’s the law of gravity and a harsh reality the Phoenix Suns will have to deal with next year unless they can keep their core of players together.

After an improbable season and playoff run, the Phoenix Suns’ fanfare has quickly dissipated. The hype has turned into questions about the looming free agents on the squad.

The free agent period will see Amare Stoudemire, Channing Frye, Louis Amundson and Jarron Collins become free agents.

Amare, Frye and Lou have all said they want to stay, but Amare will likely get a long-term max contract elsewhere, and Frye and Lou will receive better offers because of their accomplishments with the Suns.

One all star, two key contributors and an extra big man can be gone for nothing in return.

It’s an enormous void especially for a tight-knit group that relied heavily on their chemistry.

During the 2010 NBA Draft the Suns braced themselves for the worst by drafting power forwards Gani Lawal and Dwayne Collins in the second round; 6’9” and 6’8” respectively.

It’s foolish to think the draftees will make an immediate splash in Alvin Gentry’s rotation. The rookies figure to be projects that will not offer much offense but bring defense and rebounding stability.

But what if the free agents do walk?

Who will play with Robin Lopez in the frontcourt?

The Suns could promote Jared Dudley or Earl Clack to the starting lineup. This would change the rotation and the Suns will have to play small ball, a scary thought.

Lawal might even have to start unless the Suns sign a veteran big man, an even scarier thought. The only other frontcourt players beside Lopez under contract are Dwayne Jones, Taylor Griffin and Clark.

The feeling around the league is the Suns peaked and the Suns are setting.

To avoid a nightmarish 2010-11 season, the Suns must do everything in their power to keep their key free agents. If they can’t, the only direction is back down to Earth for Planet Orange.