What about the Phoenix Suns need for a high scoring shooting guard did Bucks GM John Hammond miss? The Suns on Wednesday traded forward Boris Diaw and starting guard Raja Bell to the Charlotte Bobcats for the Cats’ shooting guard, Jason Richardson. After the trade, Suns GM Steve Kerr had this to say:
“We felt like we needed to shake things up a little bit. We wanted to add a great scorer in the backcourt to give us better balance to take some of the pressure off of Steve (Nash).”
Does that description of the Suns needs by GM Kerr not scream Michael Redd? And why does this sound kinda familiar?
A little over a month ago (34 days to be exact) I remembered that the Suns had put Diaw and backup guard Leandro Barbosa (who sliced through the Bucks D at will Tuesday night) on the trading block last summer. It’s on the record. I wrote about it when the Suns were in town to play the Bucks. I even offered some crazy advice:
“Given how active the Bucks look without Redd and that coach Skiles sure wouldn’t mind two more quick, active players with playoff experience, Bucks GM Hammond should take a good look at this trade, if Phoenix is willing.”
I got a little ambitious about it too and tapped into the Phoenix Suns Realgm.com fan forum to see what Suns fans thought about a Redd for Diaw and Barbosa trade. They were somewhat interested but wanted more, a power forward for instance (doesn’t everybody these days? And don’t they already have Amare Stoudemire?). One thing Suns fans generally agreed upon, however, was that the Suns wouldn’t trade Raja Bell, their starting guard and their best perimeter defender. This is why we discussed Barbosa instead of Bell, whom I assumed was off limits. As it so happens (and didn’t happen) he’s also the one guy on the Suns (other than Shaq) who happens to be a Scott Skiles kind of player.
Well, the Suns did part with Bell. (Suns fans, how could we have ever agreed to misjudge this so badly?) Now Bell and Diaw are Bobcats, and Jason Richardson is a Phoenix Sun. I can’t help but wonder whether John Hammond ever investigated a trade involving Diaw and one of the Phoenix guards for Redd, and why the Bucks couldn’t pull off this deal. Such is the speculative life of a blogger in the close-to-the-vest Hammond era, bearing in mind that it is possible that the Bucks simply had no interest in such a trade (oh, it hurt to write that; why am I even attempting objectivity?).
There was no question the Suns were in the market to get better now, this year, NOW while Shaq is still a semblance of the old Diesel and while Steve Nash still has a few tricks up his sleeve at point guard. Very much in favor of a Phoenix deal for Redd at least being discussed is that Jerry Colangelo, the Suns CEO, is at last report an unabashed Redd fan. Colangelo headed up the organization of the 2008 Olympic team and took Mike along for the show. I find it hard to believe that with the Suns looking for a scoring guard, Colangelo would have forgotten about Redd.
Richardson is an excellent player, as Bucks fans saw last weekend in a game the Bobcats nearly stole from the Bucks at home. At 28, Richardson is a year younger than Redd, is more athletic and an all-round better player as far as rebounds, assists and steals. He’s shot the ball better than Redd in the last couple of years as well. (That list of basketball things in Richardson’s favor has been getting longer). Yet neither player is a Raja Bell type defender, and, yes, there was a time when Redd was the more highly valued player.
There is one facet of Redd’s game that still has a higher value than Richardson’s: His contract. Redd is paid about $3.5 million more per year than the Suns new guard. Richardson has 3 years and $40 million left on his contract; the Bucks are on the hook to pay Redd $51 million over the next three years.
My conclusion here has to be that $11 million is plenty of incentive to call Charlotte instead of Milwaukee when looking for a shooting guard.
Other players: Rookie point guard Sean Singletary also went to Charlotte, while the Suns got small forward Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round draft pick.
Nash dismayed by trade: The trade of his best pal, Raja Bell, caught Suns All-Pro point guard Steve Nash off guard, too. In an Arizona Republic story, Nash talks about being “emotionally drained” by the trade and worries about whether the Suns will “blow up” the team after this season.
Bucks flounder in the 4th: There were times last night when Don Nelson’s Golden State Warriors ran circles around the Bucks. There were times the Bucks tightened the defense, hit some shots and clawed back into the game the Eastern Conference way – with toughness. Andrew Bogut and Charlie Villanueva had gained control of the paint for the Bucks with some good interior defense, and it looked as though the Bucks were poised for a road win against one of the NBA’s laziest defensive teams. At the end of the 3rd Quarter, it was an 82-81 game, Warriors in the lead.
In the 4th quarter, the Bucks forgot everything they did to make it a game and were, for the second night in a row, suckered into a run-and-gun shootout they couldn’t hope to win. The Warriors ran the Bucks out of the building 37-15 in the 4th for a 119-96 final score.
It all happened when the centers, Andrew Bogut and Andris Biedrins went to the bench. By the time Skiles put Bogut back into the game it was far too late. Nellie didn’t bother putting Biedrins back into the game, as though he knew it was over once the Warriors got rolling. He was right. Skiles resorted to veteran bench point guard Tyronn Lue to restore a sense of order for the Bucks (didn’t work). Michael Redd, working well with Bogut in the 3rd, had one of his best games of the year going … until the 4th. Skiles had this to say:
“We don’t yet get how hard you have to play and how focused you have to be for a period of time to win an NBA game. This is a good group of guys, and we just have to learn that toughness.”
Bucks were also playing their third game in four nights and looked the worse for wear and tear. It wears me out just writing about the Bucks early schedule but I think I’ve just used the last “Bucks nightmare schedule” card I had by the laptop. The entire stack is gone, and my sources at the Spalding company say that they are not printing any more this season.
Next post: Schedule excuse expires.