FILE: JULY 5: According to reports July 5, 2012, The Phoenix Suns will trade Steve Nash to the Los Angeles Lakers for first round draft picks in 2013 and 2015 and second round picks in 2013 and 2014. Nash will sign a three-year $25 million deal with the Lakers. PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 25: Steve Nash #13 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on April 25, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Spurs defeated the Suns 110-106. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The truth is we won't know if the Suns made the right move trading Steve Nash to the Lakers for four to six years down the road.
Everyone wants to judge something when it immediately happens. I am as guilty of it as anyone else. (psssstttt listen to this podcast where I, Seth Pollack and Vince Marotta analyze something that can't yet be analyzed)
I understand Suns fans dislike Los Angeles, but you have to take the emotion out of this. If Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and Robert Sarver made a move that ends up being better than what the Knicks offered it was the right decision.
The Suns acquired a 2013 first round pick, 2015 first round pick, 2013 second round pick and 2014 second round pick from Los Angeles.
Let's tackle the Knicks-Suns perspective first -- IMAN SHUMPERT
It was a one person trade; the Suns were trading Steve Nash for the Knicks 2011 first round pick and a bunch of salary fillers who wouldn't be on the roster for more than one season.
Shumpert is a tremendous talent, a freak athlete, but it's not 100% he becomes an All Star type player. How he develops and continues to grow needs to be monitored. If the Suns passed on a Tony Allen clone, it's not the end of the world (I love Tony Allen, not meant as an insult). If the Suns passed on a guy who ends up turning into a top-5 shooting guard in the NBA they're going to kick themselves.
With the Lakers deal you are getting more unknowns. Draft picks can be used in a variety of ways (I'm assuming selling is not an option this time). Over the next three years the Suns have five first round picks and five second round picks. That brings an ability to reshape the roster and fill it with young talent.
This is the point in the discussion where people say "but the Lakers 1st round draft picks aren't going to be worth anything because they will be late picks (25 or later for argument sake"
Let's take the 2011, 2010 and 2009 drafts. Taken 25th or later were Marshon Brooks, Norris Cole, Chandler Parsons, Isiah Thomas, Jordan Crawford, Greivis Vasquez, Quincy Pondexter, Landry Fields, Devin Ebanks, Rodrique Beaubois, Taj Gibson, Dante Cunningham, Dejuan Blair, Jonas Jerebko, Jodie Meeks, Marcus Thornton and Chase Budinger.
I could have made the list more extensive, but that is at minimum a group of 17 who are rotation players. It's unlikely you get a superstar, but Phoenix can add contributing players for a cheap price that can help the team either by playing or being a trade chip.
As I quickly mentioned before the draft picks don't necessarily have to be used to pick where they are slated. If there is a player the Suns love and want to move up in the draft to get Blanks and Babby have the means to make it happen.
When teams are looking to trade star type players they always want back first round picks as part of the deal. Phoenix has the ability to manufacture an appealing package.
The Suns can throw together a combination of Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Goran Dragic (there is a wait period before they can trade him) and Jared Dudley, which would feature players all on affordable contracts.
Add draft picks to that, it's not getting you Dwight Howard, but you can get a 3rd possibly 2nd banana level player.
Two guys I think make sense for the Suns to have on their radar are Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala. Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley (plus draft picks) for either of the two works from a financial perspective.
If you made a trade like that other roster moves would have either came before or after, but the Suns have the flexibility to continue to be aggressive.
For now Phoenix needs to keep adding quality players on reasonable contracts, not overspending is key. Mediocrity with solid, young players and a stockpile of draft picks coming in the future isn't a bad place to be. The Suns are in a better spot now as a franchise than they were the year before with Steve Nash on the roster. There is reason for optimism, hope, an unknown that didn't exist before.
There are many avenues the Phoenix Suns can travel down.
Wednesday was the true start of a process the Suns should have started two years ago -- sorry had to go there one more time. It took longer than it needed to, but the Phoenix front office has the team going in the right direction.
Agreeing to send Steve Nash to his top choice instead of forcing him to the East Coast was the first of many big choices.
In the upcoming years as the Suns set out on a path to re-join the elite of the Western Conference, many difficult decisions will need to be made. Scouting, drafting, free agent signings and exploring all trade opportunities must be done with proficiency.
Passing on a certain player in the draft or signing the wrong free agent can set the process back one year, two years or maybe even more. Building a winning NBA team can be a tedious, difficult process.
We will now find out if Lance Blanks and Lon Babby are up to the task.
You can get more Suns coverage at Bright Side of the Sun.