Out with the old and in with the new. Well, it isn't that simple obviously, but that is the best way to paraphrase the Suns 2012 off-season. Pretty much every team in NBA history has had to "move on" from an era, which normally happens gradually, over time. Not for the Suns as they have made wholesale changes to charge into a new direction face first.
Those changes could lead to as many as six or seven new faces on board for the 2012-2013 season. About the only thing that has not changed is the Gorilla.
It has been done before - teams have moved in a new direction with major moves and it has been done with success, as well as with failure. It is foolish and naïve to think this collection of talent will be the new Miami Heat or winning an NBA Championship anytime soon.
All these young players, new faces, and moving parts make this new version of the Suns is similar to a dentist office abacus. For all the parts that do not match they are presented together in a manner that is visually entertaining and suitable.
That is what this team will be this year at the very minimum, visually entertaining and suitable.
Ideally, the team is returning two starters in Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat to add stability to the roster. Dudley is now the longest tenured member of the team having been here for four previous years. After those two the only other familiar faces are Shannon Brown, Channing Frye, and Markieff Morris. Slim pickings in the closet for a jersey to wear to opening night that does not have a price tag still on it.
In this type of setting introductions seem to be the appropriate thing to do.
The most familiar new addition to the team is the player they traded away a few years back in Goran Dragic. In a round-a-bout way the Suns found a way to turn a first round pick and Dragic into Dragic. He is a new and improved player with new found confidence and a presence after lampooning as the starter in Houston for the second half of last season.
Dragic is easily the centerpiece of the new Suns. The team is investing a lot in him financially and verbally building up the Return of the Dragon as more of the second coming.
It is endearing to fans, but the overall expectations being thrust on Dragic are exceeding what should be expected of a young point guard getting his first starting opportunity. The weapons being brought in will make Dragic's transition considerably more comfortable.
Claiming Luis Scola off Amnesty Waivers is an immediate help with his chemistry having played with Dragic in Houston. During the off-season they targeted versatile wing scorers in Michael Beasley and Wes Johnson.
The addition of Johnson was a great one in that the parts moving out and the parts coming in were extremely beneficial to the Suns. Acquiring Johnson allowed them to send out Robin Lopez who would have been an expensive back-up center and send out the contract of Hakim Warrick, while bringing home a first round pick.
This was an important off-season for the Suns as they moved on from one era and looked to begin another behind young, new talent. Beasley and Johnson are both former Top 5 picks that have a lot to offer after being cast out two years into their NBA careers due to a lack of fit. With the Suns the expectations are not as they were for both of these talented young players.
Making the move to acquire Johnson is likely the last big move of the summer for the Suns. Baring an unforeseen move adding a center to the roster is the last thing on the teams' agenda now.
The wholesale changes are not just on the court as the front office has seen some shaking up as well as Brad Casper -- the Suns President of Business Operations -- stepped down. He is focusing on other business ventures. This is nothing new as Casper oversaw this position since October after Rick Welts stepped away a month prior in September.
Change is necessary for exponential growth and the Suns are taking that to heart.
Alvin Gentry now needs to figure out how to make all of these moving parts on the abacus that is the Suns roster now. How is he going to make the stars, the squares, and the circles all slide accordingly along the curvatures of the NBA season and land neatly at the end?