Seth Pollack posited yesterday that all of the Phoenix Suns' moves (or lack thereof) before the trade deadline passes this week will be focused on clearing cap space for the 2012 free agent class. You know, the next time there will be NBA basketball. (Sorry. Sorry.) And it's not a bad class. Some of the names as per RealGM and ESPN (excluding restricted free agents and various flotsam and Jermaine O'Neal-sam):
Mike Bibby, Kevin Garnett, Gerald Wallace, Antawn Jamison, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Raymond Felton, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Elton Brand, Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Kirk Hinrich, Ray Allen, Nene Hilario
It's not clear there are enough middling small forwards on that list to interest the Suns, but surely some of the above want to play in Phoenix, right?
Allegedly, Deron Williams wants to play in NYC. So does Chris Paul. And maybe Dwight Howard? In fact, here's the projected 2012-2013 New York Knicks roster:
Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony (mazel tov!), Renaldo Balkman, Mike Bibby, Kevin Garnett, Gerald Wallace, Antawn Jamison, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Chauncey Billups, Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Raymond Felton, Dwight Howard, Jameer Nelson, Elton Brand, Marcus Camby, Andre Miller, Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur, Kirk Hinrich, Ray Allen, Nene Hilario
That is, unless any of those gentleman decide to play in Miami or for the Lakers. Honestly, it makes one wonder why the Knicks had to go to so much trouble to get Carmelo Anthony. (Unless that one is Isiah Thomas, for whom leverage is just a pesky physics trick.)
It's come to the point that the owners have started whispering about franchise tags, hard caps, and other ways to limit free will. (No, not you, Deron.) It's an unfortunate coincidence, of course, that doing so will also limit player salaries. The owners just want competitive balance, you see.
Just in case the owners don't get everything they want, Phoenix fans should probably work on their case for select members of this class to join their cause. Don't be coy, Suns fans. If you see one of these potential 2012 free agents at the airport or in a bar over the next year, sidle up to them and slip these notions into idle conversation:
Hey, Kevin Garnett. Come to Phoenix and you can bait young people well into your 60s. Hell, it's practically a sport down here. And you can undercut Channing Frye all you want!
Andrew Bynum, baby. Did you know Arizona's new immigration laws make it illegal for any Gasol family members to work in the state?
Baron! Phoenix is a lot like Los Angeles but without all the pesky movie deals and viral videos and model/actresses. You can really focus on your craft... okay, we can probably fly all that stuff in.
Dwight Howard. We can totally not be your friend in Phoenix, too. There's also, like, 98% less Gilbert Arenas in Phoenix. It's practically the state motto. In fact, we'll make it the state motto if you want.
Perhaps the approach could be broader. All the Valley residents could come together and build an oasis in Pima County, filling in a man-made river and setting up overpriced bars, hotels, and restaurants on it. We will then all agree to call it North South Beach, except we'll whisper the first word.
Or maybe we could blindfold visiting free agents and drop them into CityNorth, convincing them all of Phoenix is like that. Cover their eyes again and drop them next to Myst in Scottsdale. See? All nightclubs, strip clubs, and Cheesecake Factories. Love us? Please?
Maybe it's a little too early to come off that needy. No matter the CBA outcome, the Suns will likely have money to spend in 16 months and that always brings in the quality free agents for a look. After all, Suns owner Robert Sarver spent wisely during last year's free agent blitz to show he didn't miss Amar'e at all. We can trust him to act wisely again.
Uhm, have you seen our (north) South Beach, Deron?