Things are bad in Phoenix Suns land but at least they are stable. The same can not be said for the Denver Nuggets who appear to be inching second-by-second closer to a massive trade that would send Carmelo Anthony and hometown hero Chauncey Billups to the New Jersey Nets.
The deal which looked moments away from being official on Sunday, has now stalled as the new Nuggets front office tries to see just how far they can push the Nets. Time being on Denver's side, they seem to have decided to squeeze every once of Melo Juice they can out of their star before shipping him to the East.
The risk for the Nuggets in dragging things out is the impact on the team's performance on the court. All the rumors and turmoil threaten to turn an already unstable team into a hot mess of emotional goo. Of course, if the Nuggets eventually make the trade, as they surely eventually must, then the team will sink into rebuilding mode anyway so why not drag things out and extract every possible ounce of value.
Tonight will be a test to see just how disruptive and distracting the highly public trade negotiations might be to the Denver team. And who knows, the deal might even be done by the time the Suns walk out on the Mile High Court tonight.
And if there's any team that could use the extra edge some trade distractions, or an actual trade, can give, it's the Suns.
Five games under .500 (15-20) and coming off a less-than-impressive home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix is entering a two week stretch that Coach Alvin Gentry feels is make or break time.
"I told the guys the next two weeks is basically our season. We can't dig a deeper hole than we are in and the schedule is favorable. We have to play well, but we have a chance to maybe make up some ground here if we play well. If we dig any deeper of a hole, all of a sudden we've got a tough stretch of games coming up and it gets to be impossible to dig yourself out of that hole," Gentry said on Monday before the team boarded the charter to fly to Colorado.
The Suns have six of their next 10 games on the road including a trip to New York and the final home game of the stretch against the Boston Celtics.
Grant Hill, who left Sunday's game with a right knee sprain, is listed as a game-time decision. Goran Dragic is expected to play through a bone bruise he suffered on his knee during the same game after colliding with an opponent.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. local time and will be broadcast on My45 locally and nationally on NBA TV. Bright Side of the Sun will host a live game thread for fan discussion as well.