The Phoenix Suns have lost 4 of their last 5 games and they're one game under .500. With the age of their team, they need to find a way to start winning, or give up and start rebuilding. With a recent move, the Suns are attempting to bring some more wins to the desert and become a contender once again.
The Suns Send: Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Earl Clark
The Magic Send: Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Marcin Gortat, A 2011 First Round Pick, and $3 Million
What does this move do for the Suns? Well, several things.
-It rids them of Turkoglu's bad contract. In a season where his scoring and assists have gone way down, it's hard to see Turkoglu worth paying 10.6 Million next year, 11.4 Million the year after that, and, if Turkoglu wants it, 12.2 Million the year after that.
-They don't give up value by trading away Richardson. While Vince Carter's stats may be worse than Richardson's, it's important to remember that Carter had to play on a team with Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and Jameer Nelson, which reduces him to the third or fourth scoring option on most nights. And while Jason Richardson is a quality player, he never got as much press as Carter did. So Carter's presence might help to put butts in the seats if Phoenix doesn't get any better.
-It gives them depth at the Center Position. It's no secret that the Suns are jonesing for some centers, especially considering that 6'9" Hakim Warrick plays backup center for them. This should stabilize their rotation and keep them from collapses while Robin Lopez is off the floor.
-It gives them a Grant Hill-like defensive player in Pietrus. While Pietrus can make frustrating decisions at times (like stepping on the baseline over and over again), he is known for being a lockdown defender and can be a decent scorer. Essentially, the Suns can constantly have a defender on a key scorer for the other team, and they get someone who can score just as well as Turkoglu was scoring this season.
-Should they decide to rebuild, they've got a decent pick to do it with.
In my humble opinion, the Suns have just hijacked the Magic. They did the smart thing and traded the struggling Turkoglu to the only team that would actually want him and his contract. They lost Richardson in the process, but they gained a lot of assets back.
Below: What it means for the Thunder!
What does this mean for the Thunder?
In the long run, it means the Suns are getting a whole lot better. While talent-wise it was a lateral move, lineup-wise it works out well for them. It just gives us another team to compete with and worry about. It might anger Steve Nash and make him ask for a trade, but barring that, I think this will work out for them well.
For tomorrow's game, it means we have an easy win ahead of us. Given that the trade was announced today, it's unlikely that Carter, Pietrus, and Gortat will be shipped down to Oklahoma City in time to play. Steve Nash may or may not be out, and they will likely be fielding Childress or Dudley as their starting shooting guard. It'll be kind of like facing the Sacramento Kings all over again.
But, the bottom line for the Suns is: Does it make them a championship contender? No. They still don't have the talent to be that. But, does it make them a force to be reckoned with in the West? Yes, it does.