Jan 28, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT
Suns owner Robert Sarver is optimistic. Or delusional if you want. Your pick.
He told the Arizona Republic that this team is not that far removed from last season’s version that rode a hot streak to the Western Conference finals. That’s pretty darn optimistic (or delusional) — this year’s version is five games back of last season’s pace and last year’s Suns closed the season on a 28-7 run. These Suns — with the worst defense in the league giving up 112.6 points per 100 possessions — is not going to make that run. This team is what it is.
More importantly, last season’s Suns were a playoff team. These Suns are 3.5 games out of the last playoff spot in the West and it’s hard to see how they make up that ground.
Don’t think that means Steve Nash is going to be traded.
“At this point, Steve is still playing at a very high level and is a very important part of the franchise,” Sarver said. “I don’t see us making a trade (involving) him this year. I just don’t see it.
“The two main reasons for why I’d like to see Steve stay here is he’s still the best player and most important player on the team and, in addition, we’ve got a lot history together. That means something.”
To translate, “we’ve got a lot of history together” really means “the fan base would desert me if I traded him.”
Here’s the real bottom line for Sarver — the bottom line. He said attendance was even with last season and television ratings have been up 18 percent. Combine that with the need for financial flexibility heading into a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and Sarver has little motivation to make sweeping changes.
Instead, that financial situation allows him to cling to optimism. Or delusions. Your pick.
“I feel we have the talent to be a playoff team,” Sarver said. “We just have to bring it all together and get more consistency….
“We’ve added a lot of new pieces to the team,” Sarver said. “It takes time for those new players to be integrated. Offensively, our team revolves around Steve (Nash). He is a rhythm player. I think it takes times with new pieces to get that rhythm.”
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