If there's one thing I've learned from being a Suns season ticket holder, it's that people love gimmicks and the ability to chant names. There were a number of playoff games last season where the crowd at US Airways Center would chant "MVP" for both Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash. It got to the point where I expected we were about one more big-time game from Jason Richardson receiving the same treatment.
In that same vein, for the past two seasons, Suns fans have been united in a love for forward Louis Amundson. Each time Amundson stripped off his warm-ups and entered a game, fans would regale him with chants of "Louuuuuuuuuuuuuu" - and yes, that is the exact right amount of "U's".
But it's not just the chanting that has made Lou a fan favorite. He plays with a high-energy style and reckless abandon that is near infectious to watch. He also has a ponytail and he used to ride his bike to the arena! Sure, he may catch a ball with all the grace and effectiveness of Edward Scissorhands, but PONYTAIL!
Now Lou Amundson is a free agent, and with the Suns' recent additions of Hakim Warrick, Hedo Turkoglu, and a desire to possibly get Earl Clark some playing time, it seems that his stay in the desert is up.
If the sheer volume of comments from this thread on Bright Side of the Sun are any indication, people are up in arms about his departure. My question to them (and you) is simple... why?
I get the fan-favorite business, but the way I see it, Lou is what he is - a good energy guy for 12-15 minutes a game who is as offensively limited as it comes in the NBA.
This is something the Suns can't replace on the cheap?
The Suns quickly snapped up Warrick from the free agency line and he'll presumably serve as the team's backup power forward. Warrick certainly doesn't play defense or rebound like Lou, but he's a gifted offensive talent who should thrive in the Suns system. A bit different than Lou's "baby deer standing up for the first time" offensive style.
As for the defense and rebounding parts, it just comes down to what I think is a correct judgment call. Phoenix probably feels like they can pay someone a third of what Lou is seemingly going to try and command to fill that same role. That someone may just be rookie second round pick Gani Lawal. But it's definitely not Taylor Griffin.
I realize this is tantamount to treason in the eyes of many Suns fans and probably matches the time I picked the Lakers to win in the Western Conference Finals, but listen, I don't hate Lou - you've just got to see him for what he is.
I hope he does manage to get that multi-year deal he's looking for, but it shouldn't come from Phoenix. If he's worth what he thinks, shouldn't he have a deal by now? The market rarely lies.