Recently in this space, I advocated the trading of Steve Nash before the crystal in his hand started glowing on his 37th birthday. I (and others of my ilk) were immediately mocked for a buy high, sell low mentality that had a stronger whiff of misguided desperation -- stronger even than Khloe and Lamar's newest scent.
Fair enough; after all, everyone knows the market on aging point guards only rises over time and the Phoenix Suns have nowhere to go but up. And then down. And then up again. And then down. And then hover around .500. And the proverbial forty cents on the dollar couldn't be better than the fifteen or zero cents collectible upon deposit next (shortened) season.
Regardless, it appears less likely by the day that Nash will be traded this season. "We've already made one huge trade, and we've got to let that settle out before we do anything more, but we've always got our eyes and ears open," Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby told the Arizona Republic. "We will do our due diligence."
What due diligence, you might ask? See if Vince Carter's got enough gym bags to ensure he can take all his belongings to his car in one trip after the last game of the season?
No, due diligence like this:
"The (Cleveland Cavaliers)' standard marketing plan, which forced season ticket holders to renew for this season before last year’s playoffs if they wanted postseason tickets, will ensure owner Dan Gilbert his best year financially despite the woeful product on the floor."
Does this marketing plan sound familiar to you season ticket holders? Remember this from last season?
"The Phoenix Suns will begin selling tickets for its first two home playoff games to the general public on Monday... Suns' season ticket holders will have priority access to playoff tickets."
And please note when "the best prices expire" for next season's season tickets: two days before the trade deadline.
As you consider reserving another 41-plus games of Suns basketball, consider what you might actually receive. Will Nash be shuttled off this summer for another shot or two at a ring? Grant Hill might enjoy Phoenix, but he also might be willing to commute for a year to take on a title chance. Heck, will all of this happen on February 19 because Babby and GM Lance Blanks are somehow 'blown away' by a deal?
Collecting draft picks might be the best option available this summer. As Scott Howard pointed out, tanking wouldn't even be necessary. There's no obvious superstar in the 2011 NBA Draft, but the depth of talent would really help a team on its way to losing quite a bit of depth in the next 18 months.
Still, there's no apparent reason to encourage people to call up 48 hours after barely snagging those best prices to cancel their order, so perhaps the Suns stick to their holstered guns until the offseason.
After all, no one in Arizona has any particular confidence in selling a youth movement. In Sun City, it's actually illegal. That's why you hear Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers on his day of hire talk about winning immediately while acquiring every good quote of the last decade to keep the illusion up through spring training.
And it's also why the man most gravity-challenged Arizonans identify strongly with will be sticking around through at least Feb. 18 and likely through the end of the season. No one running a franchise in Arizona thinks you'll support a team that has a clear plan back to glory but shared short-term pain first.
There's a certain intellectual dishonesty in the approach for both teams, but there's also something to be said for running your franchises like a real business where you strive to get back a dollar on the dollar. And then another dollar. And put down another one, please. You're not done yet. Keep droppin' 'em. There you go.