(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
With the NBA’s trade deadline approaching on February 19 and dozens of rumors swirling around the halls of the US Airways Center, Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr met with the media Friday to update them about any speculations they might have.
Kerr responded mostly to the chatter circulating around the possible trade of Suns forward Amar’e Stoudemire. Before Kerr spoke to reporters, he met with the Suns All-Star at the team’s morning shootaround to inform him of where the organization stands at this particular point in time.
“I sat down with Amar’e (this morning) and I told him that I never liked it as a player when my name was mentioned – and it was no fun,” Kerr said. “He understands that it’s the nature of this business and there’s always going to be talk – and right now – there’s just more talk than before.
“I’m not going to make anybody any promises that they’re staying or going,” Kerr continued. It’s just that you have to understand that as a player that there’s always the possibility that you may get moved. Amar’e understands that and all of our guys understand that part of the business.
“That’s part of the reason that these guys get paid the incredible salaries that they do. There’s a price that comes with that.”
The trade talks surfaced after the Suns lost eight of their last 12 games, despite an immensely talented roster. Kerr believes that whispers surrounding potential deals have begun for an array of reasons.
“If you see a team that has a lot of talent and they’re struggling and it’s the trade deadline, you’re going to call them,” the GM said. “So yeah, I’ve gotten a lot of calls.
“I’ve used the line that if Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) could get traded or if Wilt (Chamberlain) could get traded, anybody could get traded. That doesn’t mean that everyone is accessible on our roster, but I’m not going to say anything about that because you never know what’s going to come up.”
As of a few weeks ago, the Suns were sitting pretty after winning 9 out of 12 contests. It looked as if the club was turning the corner to becoming one of the more elite teams in the league, but then as quickly as it came, its momentum stalled and the team fell into what Kerr described as a “rut.”
The greatest disappointment for the second-year GM has been the team’s inability to improve defensively. He believes that if Phoenix is to emerge from this “rut,” development will have to occur in that area. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a fix will ultimately come in the form of a deal for another player either.
“You have to assess what’s out there,” he said. “If there’s a deal that makes sense then you have to make that decision. If there’s no deal that makes any sense, then you don’t make a deal for the sake of it.
“We have to assess everything and in that regard, it’s no different from any trade deadline. You always talk to teams. That’s what our job is, but this year, it’s a little different for sure. “
Kerr said that he’s considering a lot of variables. Not only does the franchise have to consider a struggling economy, but it also has to consider the franchise’s future when a bevy of players’ salaries come off the books in 2010.
“We don’t have the momentum that we’d like to have, we are underperforming and there are financial concerns. So there’s things, there’s issues to talk about and to deal with and we have to do what’s best for our team going forward. That could mean doing something or that could mean doing nothing. “
To hear the complete audio interview of Kerr, click here.