Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: April 4, 2010 1:34 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2010 2:19 pm
 

Bogut injury puts scare into contenders

BOSTON -- The video of Andrew Bogut's horrific arm injury was bad enough. The specter of a late-season injury to their own teams was enough to make stomachs turn Sunday at TD Bank Garden.

In separate pre-game interviews, separated by a few minutes and about 50 feet in the locker room hallway, Doc Rivers and Mike Brown both reacted with the expected head-shaking and somber tone when asked about the devastating fall taken by the Bucks' center Saturday night. The more they talked, it was clear both understood that they could be walking in Scott Skiles' shoes at any moment.

"We could go out here today and something could happen," Brown said before his Cavaliers played the Celtics. "We’re going to have to have some contact in practice, and even if it’s five possessions or three possessions, something could happen. Something could happen driving home in your car. There’s all types of what-ifs, what-ifs, what-ifs. And if you try to be too careful then stuff can still happen and you won't get accomplished what you need to get accomplished to be ready. That’s a tough injury for Bogut. You hope that doesn’t happen to anybody else. But in the same breath, it’s part of t game and part of life."

Unlike Brown, Rivers isn't contemplating whether to rest his stars heading into the playoffs; Cleveland is one win away from wrapping up home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, while Boston is trying to overtake Atlanta for the third seed. If they do, there's a chance their first-round opponent will be the Bucks, who will be without Bogut until next season.

"It was just a freak accident," Rivers said. "It was horrific. It was awful to watch. But it happens."

Ray Allen, a former Buck who had been preparing for possibly facing his former team in the playoffs, said, "This is a tough time of the year because they are making playoff plans, selling playoff tickets and they’re right there in the hunt. I think every coach dreads that."

Rivers was adamant -- and I agree -- that Bogut was not the victim of a dirty play. Running out for a court-length pass and breakaway dunk Saturday night against the Suns, Bogut dunked ahead of Amar'e Stoudemire and tried to hang on the rim in an effort to protect himself and Stoudemire.

"If he could've hung onto the rim long enough to get his feet back, he wouldn't have been injured," LeBron James said. "Just a freak accident."

There was no significant contact from Stoudemire, who may have had a hand on Bogut as he went up -- if that. The issue was that as he tried to protect himself by grabbing the rim, Bogut lost his grip and tried to brace the fall with his right arm, which bent catastrophically beneath his entire body weight.

And with it, the Bucks' aspirations of going deep in the playoffs crumpled, too.
Posted on: February 20, 2009 4:34 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2009 12:46 pm
 

Bad break for Suns, Celts (UPDATE)

It was all wrapped up in such a tidy little gift box for the Suns. After the embarrassing mismanagement of coach Terry Porter's firing during All-Star weekend in Phoenix, coupled with efforts to trade both Amare Stoudemire and Shaquille O'Neal, the Suns embarked on the Alvin Gentry era with a 282-point explosion in back-to-back victories of the Clippers. After the trade deadline passed Thursday, the Suns apparently were ready to leave the shameful soap opera behind and step into a sorely needed cocoon of normalcy.

They kept Amare and Shaq and at least would be able to evaluate the product on the court without the distraction of financially motivated decisions coming from their fickle owner, Robert Sarver.

Then came the news Friday that Stoudemire underwent surgery to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye, a procedure that likely will cost him the rest of the 2008-09 season. Along with it will come the conspiracy theories and second-guessing. Just what this struggling franchise needed.

Stoudemire was injured in the midst of his 42-point, 11-rebound outburst Wednesday night against the Clippers. It is the same eye that was accidentally poked by then-teammate Boris Diaw in training camp, resulting in a Kareem-like fashion statement but no major damage. Goggles wouldn't do the trick for Stoudemire this time, though. He needed a trip to the eye surgeon, Dr. Pravin Dugel, who informed the Suns that Stoudemire wouldn't be able to return to physical activity for about eight weeks. Given that the playoffs begin eight weeks from Saturday, and that the ninth-place Suns have no reason to expect they'll make it in without Stoudemire, Phoenix is back to focusing on the tough choices ahead this summer. The basketball court, alas, will not be their sanctuary.

Did the Suns know in the hours before Thursday's trade deadline that Stoudemire would be lost for the year, and does that explain why feverish trade talks surrounding the All-Star forward stopped on a dime like Steve Nash? A good theory, but largely irrelevant. Suns president Steve Kerr said at the news conference announcing Gentry's appointment to interim coach Monday that he wanted to keep the roster intact and evaluate the impact of the coaching change. The same day -- two days before Stoudemire's injury -- Nash informed reporters that he'd spoken with Kerr and asserted, "We think the team is going to stay the same."

It'll stay the same for the next 29 games, anyway. After that, Kerr, assistant GM David Griffin, and yes, Sarver, will try to figure out what to do with the $36.4 million owed to Stoudemire and Shaq next season -- nearly half the team's payroll for two guys they spent the past three weeks trying to trade.

At the same time the Suns were digesting the impact of the Stoudemire injury, Kevin Garnett was en route to Boston for an MRI on his right knee. He landed awkwardly on it Thursday night during the Celtics' 90-85 loss at Utah. Funny how karma operates sometimes; the Celtics arrived in the middle of the night -- where else? -- in Phoenix, where they're spending the next two days preparing to take on the Suns without Garnett Sunday. Garnett will be examined by team physician Dr. Brian McKeon at New England Baptist Hospital Saturday. The Celtics are optimistic it's not a long-term injury, but they've already ruled Garnett out for the next three games -- Sunday at Phoenix, Monday at Denver, and Wednesday at the Clippers.

What does all of this mean? In the West, it means your playoff field is set, because Dallas and Utah no doubt will be able to hold off the Amare-less Suns, who enter the weekend one game out of the eighth spot. In the East, it means Orlando GM Otis Smith was either resourceful, clairvoyant, or both when he pulled the trigger on a three-team trade that brought Rafer Alston to O-Town as a very capable replacement for injured point guard Jameer Nelson. A week ago, it looked as though Nelson's injury would cause the Magic to bow out gracefully from their perch among the quartet of teams capable of winning the championship. Now, they're the only one of the four who did anything significant at the trade deadline to help themselves.

The Celtics will be examining a fairly deep list of big men, including Mikki Moore (released by the Kings) and Joe Smith (who could be bought out by the Thunder). They're also in the market for a defender with length who can shoot (hey, what happened to that James Posey guy?) with Tony Allen sidelined eight weeks following thumb surgery. They have some time to evaluate their options and add someone by the March 1 deadline for playoff eligibility. Assuming Garnett's knee checks out OK, KG will be back and the Celtics will try to avoid walking into the playoffs with a limp.

UPDATE: Indeed, the Celts got welcome news Saturday when McKeon diagnosed a strained muscle behind Garnett's knee. The MRI showed no structural damage, and KG will miss 2-3 weeks.

The Suns? Once again, they're a mess. Will Amare stay or go? Does anyone want a Hall of Famer on his last legs drawing a $20 million salary? Will Nash get a chance to chase down a championship while surrounded by capable teammates? Or is he destined to play out his days as the lone box office draw on a rebuilding team?

All good questions. Let me see if I can find a pair of goggles through which I can see the future, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

 

Posted on: February 20, 2009 12:24 pm
 

Stoudemire out 8 weeks after eye surgery

Amare Stoudemire didn't get traded, but the Phoenix Suns will still have to find a way to live without him. Stoudemire underwent surgery Friday to repair a partially detached retina in his right eye and will miss about eight weeks, the team said in a news release.

“We are very glad to hear that Amare should have a 100 percent recovery relative to his vision and his long-term prognosis is excellent,” Suns president Steve Kerr said. “Obviously, it is very disappointing to lose him at this time. We are all very excited about the progress the team is making, but Amare’s health and the health of all our players is our number one concern.”

It's not clear whether the injury affected the Suns'  ability to move  Stoudemire at the trade deadline. In the Suns' first two games after the All-Star break, they totaled 282 points in back-to-back victories over the Clippers under new coach Alvin Gentry. Stoudemire had 42 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night in a 142-119 victory.

Posted on: February 16, 2009 4:04 pm
 

When does the buck stop with Steve Kerr?

PHOENIX – The worst-kept secret in the NBA became official Monday afternoon when Suns president Steve Kerr announced he was replacing fired coach Terry Porter with assistant Alvin Gentry.

“I’ve signed a multi-week contract,” Gentry joked, referring to the interim tag his appointment carries with it.

How many more weeks are left on Kerr’s contract, by the way?

With that statement, Gentry unwittingly touched on the state of flux that continues to engulf the organization. Kerr said the coaching change does not preclude any changes to the roster before Thursday’s trade deadline. He’s still taking and placing calls, with the crux of the matter being whether Phoenix finishes the season with the roster intact, tries to make a trade that will improve it in the short term, or buckle to financial pressures and dump salary in a move toward the future.

“I know you all are waiting for me to say we’re not going to trade anybody,” Kerr said. “But this is the NBA. This is business as usual.”

Business as usual for the Suns, anyway.

While Kerr said his intention is to “keep what we have and go forward and see what we can do with it,” he left out the part about whether everyone in the organization wants to do that. There have been strong indications in recent weeks that managing partner Robert Sarver is pushing for financially motivated trades that would dump salary and clear cap space for the future. I can’t imagine Sarver is eager to keep the roster intact after eating about $4 million of Porter’s contract only 51 games into it.

So the dysfunction continues, and Kerr is next with the bull’s eye on his chest. Asked how he likes his job, he smiled and said, “Just peachy.”

Just another day in paradise.

 

Posted on: February 15, 2009 8:50 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2009 4:51 am
 

Amare talks turn to Chicago, but ... (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- As Amare Stoudemire warmed up for the NBA All-Star Game on his home floor Sunday night, the Suns' efforts to trade him circled back to the Chicago Bulls, three people with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

The Suns are discussing financial and basketball trades with several teams, and disagreement within the organization -- and in the mind of managing partner Robert Sarver -- continues to complicate matters, one of the people said. One faction of the organization views trading Stoudemire as a "giant mistake" that would be difficult to recover from and views the firing of coach Terry Porter as a sufficient move for now. Asssistant Alvin Gentry is expected to take over for Porter Monday.

The Suns' efforts to find the best deal for Stoudemire have come back to the Bulls partly because of Phoenix's interest in Tyrus Thomas, one of the people said. The trade likely would have to include at least one of the following -- Drew Gooden, whose contract expires after this season, and Larry Hughes, whose deal comes off the books after 2009-10.

If the Suns decide to dump salary and go young, there could be an additional smaller deal that follows any Stoudemire move, one of the people with knowledge of the team's strategy said. Though several other teams are still in the mix and are being apprised of the progress with Stoudemire, one rival executive familiar with the talks said Portland evidently is no longer an option.

Stoudemire received a warm welcome from the home crowd during the All-Star starters' introductions at US Airways Center. He pounded his chest in return and smiled. Was it hello or good-bye?

UPDATE: With 40.1 seconds left in the West's 146-119 victory, Stoudemire swooped in for a breakaway dunk. He admitted wondering if it would be his last as a Sun.

"At that time, I just wanted to do a fantastic dunk," Stoudemire said. "And then after that, when I got done, I thought that might be the final dunk here. And if it was, two thumbs up."

But the Suns' situation is so convoluted that Stoudemire at once referred to Gentry as the new coach and the next minute said, "I have never gotten an official word from our organization. So I'm still not totally sure if he’s here or not."

Stoudemire said he'd spoken with team president Steve Kerr briefly this weekend, and Kerr said this: "He said from a financial standpoint, it hasn't changed. But hopefully, I’ll be a Phoenix Sun. ... Like I told you guys, it was 60-40 me being here. It still hasn’t changed. Hopefully, that 60 is true and I will be here. But I feel like there’s a 40 percent chance I won't be."

 

Posted on: February 14, 2009 4:43 am
Edited on: February 15, 2009 4:27 am
 

Gentry in line to replace Porter (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- Terry Porter's job, like the Phoenix Suns' roster, has been hanging in the balance for several weeks. As Suns managing partner Robert Sarver grapples with which direction to take next, there is a "good chance" assistant Alvin Gentry will take over the head coaching job, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.

That decision, like the fate of Amare Stoudemire, Shaquille O'Neal, and numerous other players, is in the hands of the fickle Sarver, who denied Friday that Porter's job is in danger.

“No, no. That’s an erroneous rumor,” Sarver told the Arizona Republic when asked about a New York Post report that Porter would be fired and replaced by team president Steve Kerr.

But the Suns have been discussing every aspect of their flatlining organization for several weeks, including whether to dump salary and trade either Stoudemire or O'Neal and whether to abandon the failed experiment of replacing Mike D'Antoni with Porter, a defensive-minded coach saddled with frustrated players forced to play a dramatically different style than the up-tempo one that was good for 58 wins per season over the past four years.

The person with knowledge of discussions about Porter's job security stressed that nothing is certain until Sarver actually signs off on it.

"Everything's fluid until the moment it actually happens," the person said.

UPDATE: In fact, urgency within the organization to make a coaching change appears to have overshadowed efforts to make a major trade before Thursday's deadline. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Sarver leaned hard on Kerr to seriously consider moving to the bench, but Kerr managed to avert such an untenable situation. He wants to coach someday, but the Suns' situation is too dysfunctional for learning on the job. With no ideal offer on the table for Stoudemire, Kerr now appears focused on making the right coaching decision, with Gentry the most sensible candidate -- at least in the short term. The Suns may consider expanding their search for a long-term replacement if Porter is fired or reassigned.

The appeal of Gentry is two-fold -- his experience and ties to the D'Antoni regime. His familiarity with the D'Antoni offensive system in which the Suns thrived would appeal to Steve Nash and Stoudemire, both of whom could be reinvigorated by the change.

Porter told the Arizona Republic Friday that neither Sarver nor Kerr had spoken to him about losing his job.

Gentry, previously a head coach with the Clippers, Pistons, and Heat, is a holdover from D'Antoni's staff who didn't join the former Suns coach on the Knicks' bench in New York. Gentry was viewed by some as a logical replacement when D'Antoni left amid disagreements with management over the direction of the Suns' roster following Kerr's decision to trade Shawn Marion to Miami for Shaquille O'Neal in February 2008.

If Sarver goes through with the decision to fire Porter and replace him with Gentry, he would be repudiating Kerr's decision to hire Porter in the first place. It is a point that was not lost on longtime Suns executive Jerry Colangelo, who seemed to implicate Kerr in the Suns' current struggles when he spoke Friday at a Basketball Hall of Fame news conference.

"When Steve Kerr selected Terry Porter, that was his guy," Colangelo said. "He had the faith and confidence in him. It’s either worked out or hasn’t or it’s something that’s being questioned right now. Steve has to be responsive to that one way or the other. Terry’s a good guy. He’s worked hard at it. He inherited a team in transition. People have to be held accountable, and those making those decisions should consider all of that."

 

Posted on: February 13, 2009 7:39 pm
 

Amare: '60-40 they keep me'

PHOENIX -- Amare Stoudemire was right about one thing Friday when he said, "It's going to be an interesting 10 days." He just had his dates wrong. The trade deadline is six days away, and by Thursday we'll know if Stoudemire is staying or going.

As of now, Stoudemire said he's handicapping it at 60-40.

"Sixty keeping me, and 40 not keeping me," Stoudemire said. "Teams are asking about me and wanting me, so that's a good thing."

Stoudemire attracted one of the biggest crowds at the All-Star media session Friday, and for good reason. His team is furiously trying to reshape itself yet again by trading either Stoudemire or Shaquille O'Neal by Thursday. Stoudemire said he's been told by management that the reasons are financial.

"From a financial standpoint, it'll help them afford certain players," Stoudemire said. "I'm not sure if they're giving up on the season or still trying to win a championship. Not sure."

Speculation also continues to swirl about the future of Suns coach Terry Porter, whose job status has been the subject of organizational discussion for several weeks. But someone who still has a lot of clout in the Suns organization, Jerry Colangelo, made it pretty clear Friday that he feels Porter shouldn't be the only person held accountable.

"When Steve Kerr selected Terry Porter, that was his guy," said Colangelo, speaking at the news conference announcing the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame finalists. "He had the faith and confidence in him. It’s either worked out or hasn’t or it’s something that’s being questioned right now. Steve has to be responsive to that one way or the other. Terry’s a good guy. He’s worked hard at it. He inherited a team in transition. People have to be held accountable, and those making those decisions should consider all of that."

Colangelo, the architect of Team USA's gold-medal performance at the Summer Olympics in Beijing last summer, is an oddly positioned figure in these All-Star festivities. Having spent much of his professional life grooming the Suns into a class organization, he envisioned an All-Star weekend here that would celebrate not only the success of his city, but also the franchise. Instead, the Suns are in turmoil.

"That’s a hard thing to swallow after giving birth to the franchise and being so intimately involved in it after 40 years," Colangelo said. "There’s turmoil right now. There’s transition. There’s a lot of rumors and speculation regarding a coaching change and trades. For certain, because of the age of the players, there’s instability right now. A lot of things could happen in all of those areas. The only two people who can really comment and say something constructive about it are (managing partner) Robert Sarver and Steve Kerr. There’s a lot of stuff circulating and it appears there could be some things happening."

 

Posted on: February 13, 2009 11:44 am
Edited on: February 13, 2009 9:22 pm
 

Paxson, Kerr reports stir All-Star city (UPDATE)

PHOENIX -- Ready to get the All-Star coverage going. Nope, not much going on. Just reports that Bulls G.M. John Paxson will resign after the trade deadline and that Suns president Steve Kerr may replace Terry Porter as coach.

If the reports are accurate, too little, too late on both counts.

Anyway, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is shooting down the Paxson report in the New York Post, calling it "not credible." The Post also had the item on Kerr.   

Just wondering: If your G.M. is resigning, wouldn't you want him to resign before the trade deadline, so he doesn't make any more bad trades?

We'll be following up on these and other issues throughout the day. There's also the trade rumor of the day -- the Nets and Mavericks discussing a deal that would reunite Jason Kidd with Vince Carter. Interesting. Will let you know about that one.

UPDATE: I can confirm with my own eyes that Paxson is still on the job, having seen him walking around a downtown hotel where NBA business is being conducted. He politely declined to discuss his job status. More on that as it unfolds.

As for the Mavs-Nets situation, "nothing going on right now" on that front, a person with knowledge of the talks said.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com