The reality has set in across Planet Orange. The Phoenix Suns are no longer a top-tier team in the Western Conference.
It's a tough pill to swallow for Suns fans, but the way this season went, it's no secret. With Amare Stoudemire gone and questionable offseason signings, management stopped the momentum of last year's playoff run.
What will they do to get the team back to that level?
It was no surprise the Suns finished with a 40-42 record this year, a far cry from a team that averaged more than 55 wins over the past six years.
Now Suns management faces many questions and a tough road ahead. They put themselves in this tough situation and have to find a way out.
The Suns once boasted stars like Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion and Stoudemire, but now the team is a mixed bag of older stars and role players.
The team is not talentless, though. They have solid role players but they cannot keep pace with the rest of the West.
Marcin Gortat, Jared Dudley and Channing Frye are great role players and hopefully be part of the solution, but they need help once Steve Nash and Grant Hill retire.
Compare the Suns roster with teams that are in the playoffs this year and you see that the team needs to find a direction for the future.
The Thunder, Trailblazers, Grizzlies, Hornets and Nuggets are all up-and-coming and young, and the Lakers, Spurs and Dallas will always be there.
At least the bottom-feeder teams like the Warriors, Clippers and even Kings have a good pool of talent for a future run.
The Suns are between a rock and a hard place, an average team with no definitive future. What will management do to right the ship?
Two viable options remain: Charge on with veterans Steve Nash and Grant Hill or is it time to tear the team apart Minnesota Timberwolves style?
Either way, the great teams fans watched for the past six years will be only afterthoughts. Darker times are ahead for Planet Orange.
Suns fans can only wait to see what direction Suns management takes the team—a scary thought but a necessary step to get back to prominence in the West.