As we play out the final weeks of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference with the Phoenix Suns.
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Phoenix is at a crossroads. Allowing Amare Stoudamire to depart without compensation was a big step towards rebuilding. Now the tough question with free agent in waiting Steve Nash. Very popular in Arizona, the Suns could ensure "some" fanbase by giving him a contract to finish out his career in Phoenix. Robin Lopez is a capable backup and the Suns would be best served retaining him if offers are not absurd. Given the Suns don't have much under contract in the backcourt, testing the waters with Shannon Brown and Aaron Brooks would make sense.
Who wants to spend their winter's in the desert? Phoenix leads the Association with more than $25 million in cap space. Will they keep the iconic Steve Nash?
The Suns are one of many teams on the edge of the playoff hunt. If they come up short, they again fall into the lottery. Atlanta owns the Suns second round pick. Given the makeup of the returning roster, Phoenix is in desparate need of a guard who can step right in. Weber State point Damian Lillard or Kentucky sophomore shooting guard Doron Lamb are potential targets.
Phoenix is in great cap shape, but can create more space by using the amnesty clause on Josh Childress and the $20 million over three years remaining on his contract.
The Good: Tons of cap space and a nice, warm climate to offer as sanctuary. Markief Morris appears to be a find and a front court building block. Marcin Gortat has developed into a legitimate pivot. Phoenix also has a potential lottery pick, but not much else.
The Bad: If Phoenix cannot re-sign Nash (or opts not to), expect attendance to take a major hit. If the Suns cannot entice several key free agents, they may resemble a CBA franchise next season. Aaron Brooks and Shannon Brown may be the future in the backcourt and that's not necessarily a good thing.
Phoenix has only eight players under contract for the 2012-'13 season. Robin Lopez has a qualifying offer and could draw support fromAa center hungry franchises, Sebastian Telfair has a non-guaranteed contract, but given he is the only true guard, it may be extended. Will Phoenix keep fan favorite Steve Nash? and how about the aging Grant Hill? Shannon Brown and Aaron Brooks could be brought back as starters, while Michael Redd has shown life of late.
Marcin Gortat, Robin Lopez
Josh Childress, Channing Frye, Hakim Warrick, Markief Morris
Sebastian Telfair, Jared Dudley
Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Shannon Brown, Aaron Brooks, Michael Redd, Ronnie Price
Who Are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
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Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
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