Seems so long ago, but it was just a year (ok Richardson and Johnson let a couple of years ago.) Even if you had no interest in the Suns, if like basketball, then you had to love those Suns. But you know how it goes, it's hard to keep great teams together, and the Suns are no exception. So what happened to them? Salary cap? Player egos? Injuries? Nope. Steve Kerr.
Steve Kerr has singlehandedly destroyed this time. First, he traded away Shawn Marion for Shaq. He's been lucky with this move. Shaq has played as good as you could possibly hope. Most importantly, he has stayed healthy. Nonetheless, this was a terrible mistake. Marion was a perfect fit. He played great defense, ran the floor, and could shoot from the perimeter. You are forced into a slower tempo game with Shaq.
As bad as that move was, Kerr was far from done. Next he fired Mike D'Antoni. This is the man who brought in the fast paced style of the Suns. This is the man who turned the franchise around and won a coach of the year award along the way. Now he's doing the same thing, but for the Knicks. The Knicks have admittedly been jettisoning players so they can make a move for LeBron James next year. Yet, they have already won almost as many games this year as they did last year. Back to the Suns. Kerr got rid of the man who turned the franchise around, and instead put in a yes-man in the form of Terry Porter.
But it just gets better... Next Kerr makes the classic mistake of trading for an overpriced "star" in the form of Jason Richardson. He got rid of two key players: Raja Bell and Boris Diaw. Bell was a great shooter, and Diaw was a big man who could pass. Richardson is a fine player, but he needs to be the focus of an offense. He doesn't have the outside shooting to complement the other players on Phoenix.
So what does all of this lead to? The Suns are on pace to win 46 games. That would be 8 games less than any full season under D'Antoni. They are also on pace to miss the playoffs, something that never happened under D'Antoni. Way to go Kerr.
Guess what, he's not done. Now he's looking to gut the team to save money. After all, this season is clearly a loss. In particular he wants to trade Amare Stoudemire. Yeah that makes sense. He's hurt Stoudemire by bringing in Shaq and changing the way the team played, so he responds by trading him away. This is going to be one of those historically bad moves, like drafting Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan or the Minnesota Vikings trading for Herschel Walker.