There's been a lot of talk of late about the Phoenix Suns plan to reload once the inevitable march of time pulls Steve Nash from the ranks for NBA superstar to (eventual) Ring of Honor inductee. It's valuable to the discussion to go back and look at the plan Sun's managing partner Robert Sarver laid out in the summer of 2010.
Sarver, speaking on the occasion of Lon Babby's introduction as the new team President of Basketball Operations, was very candid and specific about how the team would land the next great player. Here's what Sarver had to say in July 2010. To the best of my knowledge, he's not spoken this clearly on the topic since.
Robert Sarver's vision for how the Suns will try and win a ring has been made clearer today. In addition to becoming a better defensive team, he laid out a plan for getting franchise players.
Sarver explained there are three ways to get franchise players: draft, free agency and trades. The Suns clearly understand the need to go down one of these roads, which is a great sign all by itself. The team is aware and willing to talk about how it is going to fill this need. They understand the chances of winning a title without franchise players is slim and Steve Nash, at his age, just can't be that guy moving forward.
It might not seem like much, but it is a refreshing acknowledgment of the obvious.
The draft approach takes too big a sacrifice for Sarver, "As long as Steve (Nash) and Grant (Hill) are here, I feel an obligation to be as successful as possible... (and) I don't know that I can sit there for four years and watch a terrible team play. I think we have too many good players to be terrible, even if we wanted to try and be terrible."
Next up is free agency, which as these past few weeks proved, can provide for some franchise player movement. But this summer was very much the exception, and looking forward, there are just not many franchise-type players entering the free agent market. Clearing cap space like theNets and Knicks did is a very high-risk proposition. Just ask the Nets and Knicks fans.
The third option is where the Suns decided to go. Sarver explains, "We can sign some good contracts at reasonable prices that give us the ability to compete and be good, but also the flexibility that if we want to bring that franchise player in and that opportunity (exists), the best way that's going to happen for us is through a trade, not through free agency over the next couple of years."