The Phoenix Suns are possibly the biggest garbage fire franchise in the NBA.
Consider that of the 15 Western Conference teams, 14 of them have spent at least one day since October 29 in an “if the season ended today, we would make the playoffs” scenario.
Phoenix has been in sole possession of last place since November 6, and the only time they were a top-8 team was when they won the first game of the season on October 17 before losing their next seven in a row.
Nobody in the NBA wants anything to do with that franchise. Eric Bledsoe forced his way onto the Milwaukee Bucks via trade at the beginning of the 2017-18 season and now gets to play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo on the No. 1 overall seed.
Devin Booker, their alleged All-Star, has never shown himself capable of being anything other than a guy who puts up a lot of empty points. Booker has scored 48 points or more in four games in his career, including a 70-point game against the Celtics. In all four cases, the Suns lost,
Speaking of Booker and empty scoring, one of the weirdest statistical anomalies in basketball is Phoenix’s 8-4 record when he scores exactly 15 points.
Saddled with a cheapskate owner in Robert Sarver, who is so universally despised that denizens of Phoenix are hoping he sells the team, the Suns have been forced to turn to Arizona’s pro football team to find anyone willing to work for them.
The people of Phoenix, for their part, showed Sarver in no uncertain terms what happens when you try to beg for arena money when your team stinks, as Phoenix resident Greta Rogers absolutely savaged the Suns owner in an epic speech at a city council meeting.
“Mr. Sarver has done nothing to improve this team in the 14 years he’s owned it,” Rogers said in December. “He’s never funded or bought — paid for — two or three key players, which makes any professional sports team successful or on the road to success. He’s so tight he squeaks when he walks.
“And you have been negotiating with this kind of person? Shame on each and all of you. And upon you, Ed (Zuercher, Phoenix’s city manager). I thought your principles were higher and better than this. We are not in the business of paying taxes to support private enterprise, and especially not an entertainment enterprise. They can support themselves or fail on their own lack of diligence.”
ESPN reported that the Suns’ search for a new front-office executive included Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is a friend of Sarver and who has served in a consulting role with the NBA squad as he transitions to life after a Hall of Fame-worthy NFL career. Fitzgerald, from all indications, also seems like a Hall of Fame-caliber person.
Fitzgerald was at the Ohio Valley Conference college tournament ahead of this year’s March Madness, where he joined Sarver alongside Suns interim general managers—yes, the Suns’ decisions have been made by a committee this year, one more tick in the column of “nothing good ever came out of a committee”—James Jones and Trevor Bukstein, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express reported:
Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver just sat down at the OVC tournament with Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald. Obviously here to take a closer look at Ja Morant, who could be right in the Suns wheelhouse depending on where their pick lands.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) March 9, 2019
Top NBA draft prospect Ja Morant played for Murray State in the OVC and if the Suns do not win the NBA draft lottery, and therefore can’t get Duke’s Zion Williamson, Morant is considered a strong potential roster fit to join Deandre Ayton in Suns coach Igor Kokoskov’s innovative Stand Around And Watch Devin Shoot offense.
In an interview with Phoenix’s KMVP-FM sports radio station, Fitzgerald stood up for his embattled friend.
“He’s drastically misunderstood. I love Mr. Sarver,” Fitzgerald said. “I spent a lot of time with him. I can’t think of anybody who I trust more than him. He’s one of those guys, he’ll look you in your eye, he’ll shake your hand. He would go out of his way to help anybody he knows. Once you know him… it’s easy to love him.”
Unless he’s threatening to move a basketball team with an illustrious history out of town.
The Suns were a proud franchise once. They gave the Boston Celtics all they could handle in the 1976 NBA Finals. They returned to the championship round with Kevin Johnson, Charles Barkley, and “Thunder” Dan Majerle in 1993. Under coach Mike D’Antoni in the mid-aughts, the Suns helped usher in the modern era of NBA basketball and restore fan interest after the low-scoring late 90s post-Michael Jordan.
The Suns haven’t had a winning season since 2014. They haven’t even won 25 games or more since 2015. And they haven’t made the playoffs since a Western Conference finals appearance in 2010, after general manager Steve Kerr left, first to go into broadcasting and then to coach the Golden State Warriors to four NBA Finals appearances in a row, three championships, and the likely No. 1 seed in the West playoffs this year.
Robert Sarver may be a fine companion on the golf course. But of all the post-NFL jobs Larry Fitzgerald could take, working for the Suns seems like the worst out of all of his available options.
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