Sometimes you have to trade the ones you love to a contender with young players and lottery picks.
We've heard many of you at SBNation Arizona. If Steve Nash is traded, you'll never visit US Airways Center again. All of your purple clothes will be burned ceremonially. You'll trade in basketball for field hockey. Do not take the beloved Canadian or else you're out on the Suns for life.
By doing so, many of you are offering Robert Sarver the Conan deal: lose me now or lose me in three years. If that's the case, consider buying your field hockey sticks now while costs are lower.
The Phoenix Suns received one vision of Christmas Future last Sunday when they topped the heartbreaking Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs lost LeBron James for nothing and now have no way to rebuild but through patience, a trait owner Dan Gilbert has yet to demonstrate. They can't even trade players like Anderson Varejao as long as they can't stay upright long enough to pass a physical, much less contribute to a playoff run elsewhere.
Another peek at the future comes Friday when Portland returns to last summer's scene of the crime. The Trail Blazers suffer one Job-ian indignity after another at the knees of their employees. Through Gregorian chants and a necklace made entirely of rabbit feet, coach Nate MacMillan keeps that team over .500 despite fielding a team no more talented than this year's Suns.
But to what end? They don't get a high lottery pick and they exit the first round of the playoffs if they're lucky on the other end of the scale. Again, five or more years will be spent in the wilderness (which is quite scenic in Oregon, but still).
Yet it's the game Tuesday night that offers the third path for the Suns. The Suns face the Denver Nuggets, who also struggle with the notion of trading their marketable star before he leaves of his own accord. Of course, no one begs Carmelo Anthony to stay; you're encouraged to ask why, but it's besides the point now.
The new front office in Denver struggles with the decision, but they will eventually make the trade that provides some way forward besides middling flailing and attempting to grow a strong crystalline team with no seeds. It's immaterial if it works in both Denver and Phoenix; trying is better than hoping.
You ask the Suns' front office to forfeit their slim chance to avoid both fates by holding onto your moptop lad from British Columbia past his sell-by date. Even if you move through the steps of grieving by the time the season's over, how much can the Suns receive in return for an aged point guard that likely won't even play 82 games in a lockout season before his contract expires?
And, honestly, are you heading to US Airways Center in 2013 to see a 15-win team to thank Bob Sarver for his kindness in lashing Nash to a sinking team for your short-term amusement? Heck, will you go in March of this year to see your putative doppelganger fight against the dying of the Suns?
The Suns missed their shot at gaining any cents on the dollar for Amar'e Stoudemire because of their impressive second-half run and the off-chance Stoudemire might briefly confuse one of the few tall buildings in Phoenix for the Chrysler Building. For that, every front-office person and coach speak willingly about missing a power forward this season like they misplaced Stoudemire between the couch and the wall but will find him again soon.
If necessary, pretend Nash has been sent off to frolic with the other puppies at the great picnic in the sky. Say that Nash deserves to play for a winner, though the $100 million he's received in salary plus more in endorsements seems decent compensation unto itself for a career's work.
Whatever you do, find a way to let the Suns rebuild by trading Nash for a viable package this winter and give yourself time to find a way to love this team in its new incarnation. Grant Hill and the expiring remains of Vince Carter, too, if the deal's good. There aren't any other options; it's not like they show field hockey on TBS.