The one thing constant in the NBA is change and that changed swept over the organization when the Suns traded away center Shaquille O’Neal to the Cavaliers for center Ben Wallace, swingman Sasha Pavlocic, cash considerations and a second-round pick.
President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr rolled the dice by acquiring Shaq two years ago in the hope that the Diesel was be the piece that would push the Suns over the hump for a championship. But today Kerr, citing that his team is in transition, believes that the team needed to move forward as an organization.
“We felt it was imperative going to forward that we gain the kind of cap flexibility and roster flexibility to allow us to start making some basketball moves,” Kerr said. “You can see from the deals that are going on around the league that if you have the upper-hand financially, then you’re going to make a pretty good deal.”
The deal that Kerr executed was the exact same proposal offered to the Suns at this past season’s trade deadline. However at the time, Kerr believed that the team was accumulating momentum under new coach Alvin Gentry.
“We owed it to ourselves and our players and our fans to make a push as it was we missed the playoffs by two games with Amar’e (Stoudemire) missing the last 30,” he said. “Who knows what would’ve happened if the stars had been aligned we might have been able to make a good playoff push?”
But as Kerr examined the team at the conclusion of the season, he felt that the team’s psychological make-up had altered and that changes needed to be made.
“I wouldn’t have felt that this team had the mojo… the magic,” he said. “That’s a big part of this in the NBA – you have to be moving forward. Clearly the last couple of years we’ve been on the decline and things have not worked out as well as we’ve hoped.
“So now it’s time to adjust you adjust by gaining flexibility and putting together assets that you could build around and could move that give you the kind of leverage to re-establish yourself as a great team. And that’s the path we’re going on.”