Blog Entry

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:35 pm
By Matt Moore

Consider it a question of morality. Yes, the business implications are strong. But at the end of the day, sometimes the best thing your business can do is conduct itself in the right way. It opens up partnerships, keeps your company in good standing, and boosts morale. So in this instance, despite how contrary to rational thought it seems, doing the right thing here is what's best for business.

The Phoenix Suns should do the right thing, and trade Steve Nash.

It's not a new idea; it's been discussed in length. But it bears repeating, and a look at the economic reasons why.

In the Arizona Republic, Suns GM Lon Babby is quoted as having studied the impact of rebuilding on franchises. The results were not pretty.
Babby and other team officials have examined the history of teams that, like the Suns, stalled at the conference-finals level and then had to decide whether to keep their core players together or tear up the roster. What they discovered: Teams that embarked on a massive rebuilding project took an average of 10 years to get back to the conference finals.

"And there's a lot of pain that goes into it," Babby said. "You're putting yourself in the hands of ping pong balls."
via blogs - Scott Bordow - Business factors into Nash decision.

This is relatively obvious logic. You mean tearing down the remnants of the success that you've built and suffering through years of failure in order to build around draft picks which are only acquired with a terrible record is painful? How about touching a hot iron with your bare hand? That sting a bit?
Little sensitive, just around the edges?

Of course rebuilding is painful. If it wasn't, everyone would go through with it a lot more and be much more excited about it. Also, no one would get fired over it, which would save franchises several millions of dollars in paying out the remainder of contracts. Not, you know, $300 million to prevent the lockout,but hey, every penny helps.

But what's overlooked in the study is this.

Everyone has to rebuild. Death comes to us all, and the end of contention comes to every team. The Lakers actually went through a near decade without contention in the 90's. Granted, they've spent the rest of the time pretty much skirting the laws of inevitability, but you can't expect the Lakers to play by the rules the rest of the NBA observes. They're just special. The Mavericks have contended for ten years, and finally won their title, which will likely convince Babby to hang on. But the Mavericks had the same management in place (read: Cuban), and benefitted from a series of fortunate events. They never missed the playoffs. The Suns are not the Mavs. 

No, instead the Suns face a worse situation. There is a scenario considerably worse than rebuilding, purgatory. It's when teams elect to continue trying to plug in pieces following the downslide of a roster, continually throwing veterans who can no longer contribute at the level of their prime but suck up the same amount of salary space, or mid-level players hoping one will suddenly bloom into an All-Star. It's expensive, it's ineffective, and it usually has the habit of depressing fans to the point where they bail on tickets. 

(Orlando fans, you'll want to get something for that ear bleed you have going.)

That's what slows down rebuilding projects. Yes, rebuilding takes a long time and is painful, if you do it ineffectively. Meanwhile, if you commit to it, if you throw your system into it, within three years you have a team that people are excited about that makes the playoffs. It's not just the Thunder, it's countless teams that have effectively restructured their rosters. Rebuilding is like anything else. If you do it poorly, you won't be pleased with the results. 

Keeping Nash guarantees that fans will keep coming out to see the team, until the team gets bad enough to where not even that impresses them. It keeps the Suns following ideas like "let's trade for Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat, that'll save us!" and "maybe when we get lots of cap room we can get a big free agent to play with Steve Nash, someone like Amar'e Stoude...oh." It also wastes the final years of a Hall of Fame player who has given the franchise nothing but his unending loyalty and MVP performances. Moving Nash kills two birds. It lights a fire under the franchise to find a new direction, even if that takes some time to pull off, and it does right by affording him an opportunity to pull a Jason Kidd and win a ring in his final years to cement his legacy. 

Sometimes the right thing is the best move, even if it hurts to do it. 
Category: NBA

Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:25 pm

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

Steve Nash is still arguably one of the best point guards in the NBA even at his age.  His defense isn't the best, but his offensive playmaking skills and team involvement are bar none.  He needs to go to a team like the Lakers, Heat, or maybe even back to Dallas to win a ring and cement himself in the books.

Since: Jan 13, 2009
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:10 pm

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

Nice Run...exactly how many title were brought to the valley of teh sun since los Nasho was brought in? 

Since: Jan 13, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:00 pm

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

The Suns are in the position they're in because they made some terrible trades and free agent signings. Start with Turkolu, then Carter, add Childress and Warrick. They also end up selling draft picks and young players that could have worked for them in their system. They keep shooting themselves in the foot. Phoenix is the Orlando of the west. Yes, a team can build on the fly, but it helps to have management that recognizes quality players and how and where they fit in a team.

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 11:14 am

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

If I was the owner of the Suns I would look at it this way...I run a business Period! First, I'm going to take in to consideration that just having Nash on the court, I sell about 30 million a year extra in fan attendance (tickets sold, food, games, shirts etc).  My salary to Steve Nash is just over 11 million.

So If I were to trade Steve Nash what value would have to come back to me for it to be even close to think about trading Steve Nash?  If I'm  the owner I check my own  Franchise history of trading on the go and not rebuilding while actually know spending a couple of years winning 45 games or so not making the playoffs or making it as a low seed but adding 3-4 players of Marcin Gortat type Value.  And I come to the conclusion that my franchise has been super successful at doing that.  The Suns have indeed made the playoffs 21 out of the last 24 years if I'm not mistaken. Because they have rebuilt without rebuilding on the go.  Whether it was going from Kevin Johnson & Charles Barkley to Jason Kidd, to Shawn Marion & Amare to Amare shawn, Nash, Joe Johnson, Nash Amare.

A. I also notice that this has made my Frnachise, percentage wise the 4th most successful franchise in the nba history, behind Lakers, Celtics, Spurs. Although the Suns haven't won the big one, thanks to being in the same conference as the Lakers who are almost always in the Finals...but that's another story.

B.  I notice that teams that rebuilt on the go like and don't strip everything a part are more successful than teams that do.  I look around and I see the suns, Jazz, rockets, Blazers, almost never completely stripping the team and continue to have success.  I compare that to teams that do total rebuilds and they seem to me to spend more time in the gutter than any other team out there.  I.e. warriors, Wolves, clippers, kings, Hornets. It seems that all these teams do is have a couple of years of good runs and then they strip the team and rebuild because they are going "no where". But the reality is for every run they have these teams spend 5-7 years rebuilding and that's why they are failed franchises. 

C. what does going "no where"? Does it mean a team that is not competing for the NBA championship is not going anywhere? That would mean that 25-26 teams are going nowhere and should rebuild.  Does it mean any team that can't make the playoffs, again the suns make the playoffs 90% of the time using their system so why would they go to the rebuild system that have punished the likes of warriors, Wolves, clippers, kings, Hornets?  No logic there either.

You see my friends you trade a guy when you get value that allows you to rebuild on the go...i.e. Kevin Love, or two top five picks in next year’s draft or a combination of players and picks (Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and a pick for Nash) otherwise why would you trade nash, to get junk back? You're actually better off holding on to him in the last season and using his 11 million off the ebooks to sign a big name free agent.  Trading Nash’s 11 million for 2-3 players with 11mil that are junk is not how you do business....unless you want to be the warriors, Wolves, clippers, kings, Hornets...these are prime examples of rebuilding teams...and most of them are up for contraction. 

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 10:16 am

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

Agreed completely...the Suns are going nowhere....Trade Nash and get the best possible value you can for him now before his decline worsens. I understand he's the icon of the franchise, but this is a business.  And as far as a business organization, the Suns have failed Steve Nash.  Their window is closed, send him to a championship contender and let him ENJOY his last few years in the league. All because they didn't want to cough up the money to Amar'e.  SMH.

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: July 28, 2011 11:14 pm

The Nash Conundrum and the struggle to rebuild

What a foolish mismanaged team. I suspect their "study" is fully flawed reasoning- not at all scientific. Variables like free agency are not considered in their conclusions. If they had valued what they had- like Amare they would not be in this mess. They ARE in a purgatory of their own making.

Trade Nash, set him free to take his last shot. The Suns do not deserve him.

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