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Shaq Trade Officially a Bust for Suns

That’s it, I was critical of the trade when it first went down, and now I officially declare the Shaq trade a bust. The bludgeoning in Phoenix administered by the Pistons last weekend got me started thinking something was wrong. The ass-kicking in New Orleans was another light bulb. And now the home loss to the Sixers was the bright neon sign officially announcing that the Shaq trade isn’t working for the Suns. I know Shaq keeps insisting that we need to wait because he’s a new player playing with a new team but I’ve heard enough of his song. He can keep signing the tune and tell us we need to be patient and wait for them to get in sync. You know what I say to that, Shaq? Tell us to keep waiting and before we know it, the Suns will be out of the playoffs.

Honestly, at this point, I don’t even think the Suns will manage to make the playoffs. Sure, they’ve played four difficult teams since Shaq started playing minutes and gone 1-3, but they’ve also played two poor ones and gone 1-1. Yes, the Suns are only 2-4 with Shaq in the lineup. They keep this type of performance up, they’re not going anywhere. They lost at home to the Sixers Saturday night! That is absolutely inexcusable. I don’t know how Shaq can even talk his way out of that one. With Marion, they would have played the Hornets close. With Shaq, they got smacked by 17. If there is a silver lining to this debacle of a trade for Phoenix, it is that Steve Kerr sacked up, threw his balls on the line, and took a shot. He decided his team wasn’t good enough as it was and made a move. Looks like he missed, but at least the dude has some guts (I guess).

Shaquille O’Neal Brand New Phoenix Suns Jerseys Now On Sale!

Gotta give made props to Anders(on) Varejao for hooking up this sweet pic. We’re all piling on Shaq, so might as well continue the awesomeness.

We may laugh now, but when the playoffs come, can Shaq charge it back up and become a new man? It’s possible. But still, this is too funny to pass on. Hopefully he has enough left in the tank to make us all eat our words. Or at least most of us.

Shaq Traded to Phoenix? Can the Suns Run on Diesel?

If ever passing a physical were a challenge, this would certainly be the case. Usually (as in the Johan Santana case) it’s a gimme. A piece of cake. But here they’re saying that passing the physical is the hangup between Shaq getting traded from the Miami Heat to the Phoenix Suns for Marcus Banks and Shawn Marion. Yeah, that’s kinda a big deal. Not such a given when it comes to the fossil that Shaq is. So how about this for a sec, how the hell is Shaq going to fit in with that run and gun style of Phoenix? And how the hell will they afford his $40 million contract over the next two years. What the eff are they thinking?

By getting rid of Banks that’s like $5 mil a year off the books. Marion was set to make around $18 mil in an option next year that Phoenix didn’t have to pick up. Instead, they’re now adding $20 million with Shaq. That’s ludicrous. I just can’t even fathom a move like this. Shaq hasn’t been healthy, hasn’t been productive, and his team hasn’t won. What could he possible have to offer? I just don’t get this move, I really don’t. Nice going by Miami though — at least they unloaded an assload of salary off their books. It’s not like Shaq was an asset to them any longer. Wow, I just can’t wrap my arms around this deal at all. The Lakers’ acquisition of Pau Gasol must have everyone in the West dirtying their huggies BIGTIME. How else can you explain it?

(chest bump to Anders(on) Varejao with the assist on the story)

Nose Bandaids?

By now you know Nash missed a key moment down the stretch of Game 1 with a cut on his nose that wouldn’t stop bleeding, allowing the Spurs to pull away with a win. Now, several fans are donning lame bandages on their nose in support of Nash for Game 2 in Phoenix. Is it just me or is this move to solidarity going a little too far? To me, it’s even more pathetic and corny than the Miami Heat white out, which is a cheap ripoff of what Winnipeg Jets fans were doing in the mid-80s. But it wasn’t just the fans that were fawning all over the nose bandage. TNT threw to sideline reporter Craig Sager who had more details about what was used to treat Nash’s nose:

  • 20 sets of gloves
  • 20 gauze pads and band aids
  • 2 injury timeouts
  • 6 stitches
  • 5 sweating strips
  • enough super glue that the band aid is not coming off

I think I’m going to be sick.

UPDATE: In his half-time interview, Craig Sager asked Steve Nash if he was going to do anything different with the band-aid for the second half. Nash’s response was classic:

No, but if you keep asking me about it, it’s going to be a problem.

Clearly Mr. Nash agrees with me.

UPDATE 2: My man AA dug up the video of the interview, it’s hilarious

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Steve Nash Calls Out his Teammates

So the Spurs beat the Suns in Phoenix on Sunday taking a 1-0 series lead. With around three minutes left, Steve Nash sustained a cut on his nose and blood starting gushing from it like he just went 12 rounds with Sonny Liston. It was pretty bad — bad enough to the point where Nash had to leave the game during the final minute and change his jersey several times. But that’s not what I want to focus on. What I want to know, is who was Steve Nash calling out with this statement after the game:

“I think some of us didn’t quite have the fire to beat a world championship team.”

In the rest of the quote, Nash addresses the issue as a “we.” But in that particular sentence, he’s singling out players. But who was he calling out? Who on the Suns didn’t have the fire? Seems like he’s saying someone else didn’t match his own intensity.

The typical six-man rotation saw the bulk of the minutes — James Jones, and Kurt Thomas were the others to see a few. Was it Amare who didn’t have the fire? Stoudemire may have had 5 blocks and 18 boards, but he only went 6-19 from the field. Was it Marion who only grabbed 6 rebounds and got to the line once? To whom is Nash referring? He’s obviously trying to light a fire under someone’s ass, I guess we’ll have to wait until Game 2 to find out who it is.

Suns Think Little of the Lakers

Veteran Sports Illustrated writer, Jack McCallum, wrote a book last year titled Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin’ and Gunnin’ Phoenix Suns. Well, in the opening round of last year’s NBA playoffs, the Suns came back from down 3-1 in the best of seven series to win and advance to the second round. There was a questionable clothesline move by Raja Bell, some nice fighting, and bitter hatred exchanged between the teams. And with the pair set to square off in the opening round of the playoffs once again this year, Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times has pulled a couple of the more piercing selections from McCallum’s book. Amongst my favorites:

“As the Suns see it, the Lakers trek along the low road,” McCallum wrote. “Bryant is arrogant. [Kwame] Brown is just a big body with nothing behind it. Smush Parker was a Sun for a couple of weeks [in 2004-05] and no one rued his departure. Lamar Odom is just too damn big and long. Luke Walton seems like a nice guy … but he laid out [Tim] Thomas in Game 3 and triggered a miserable chain of events [for the Suns]. Sasha Vujacic is an all-universe whiner with an unpronounceable surname. Plus, Phil Jackson sits on a throne.”

The Suns, while watching video of their Game 1 victory, poked fun at the Lakers’ defense.

“This is when we’re at our best, when we’re changing ends on the fly,” Coach Mike D’Antoni said. “They have no answer for it. Kwame is awful. Odom’s a very average defender. Vujacic can’t guard anybody. And Bryant in the open floor takes chances that aren’t good.”

An unidentified member of the Lakers left a scouting report of the Suns at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel after Game 5 in Phoenix. It quickly ended up in the hands of Suns coaches, much to the Lakers’ dismay.

And my personal favorite from Suns owner Robert Sarver

“This L.A. [expletive] has got to stop,” Sarver said afterward. “This is war. I hate those guys.”

Nice. Something tells me it won’t take seven games for the series to be decided this time. I’m going with Phoenix in 5 — Kobe’s good for one win, nothing more.

Nash the Real MVP

The moment the best player for any team in any sport gets injured, a sudden hush and tremble envelopes the crowd and organization. Hence, there is no doubt that fans, coaches, and the staff of the Phoenix Suns panicked the second point guard and 2-time defending MVP Steve Nash got hurt against Denver on February 5th.

photo courtesy NBA.com

Now that Nash has been out for a week and a half, I’ll bet that there are more people smiling about Nash’s injury behind the breath of their bellowing concerns. Why you might ask? Well, there haven’t been many recipients of the MVP award in the NBA who were scrutinized more than Steve Nash. Remember Dan Le Batard suggested in the Miami Herald (the article is no longer available online) that Steve Nash won the MVP over Shaq two years ago because of race? Remember last year, the Kobe, Dirk, and LeBron supporters all said Nash was overrated and undeserving? Well, I think all of those respective cries have been quelled.

The Phoenix Suns have lost their past three games. In the losing streak, the Suns lost twice at home, once to the Hawks who were 20-30 entering the game, and once to the Bulls who were 9-16 on the road entering the game. Last night, the Suns got blitzed by the Sonics who were a lowly 19-32 prior to the win. In fact, the 114-90 defeat was their worst of the year. The Suns haven’t even been close in these 3 games (2 against poor teams), losing by a margin of 15 points per game in this span.

The poor play of the Suns without Steve Nash only validates what I believed all along – that Nash was a worthy recipient of the MVP each of the last two seasons. Sure Shawn Marion and Amare Stoudemire are fine players, but the truth is evident – they are the supporting cast while Nash is the lead. Sometimes you don’t really know what you have until you’ve lost it. Now that they’ve lost him, I think Phoenix, the media, the NBA, and especially the critics, finally can understand the direct impact Steve Nash has on the success of the Phoenix Suns.

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