Didja hear that? Yep, it’s the sound of the championship windows of Dirk’s Mavs and Nash’s Suns slamming shut. Both were bounced from the first round of the playoffs on Tuesday night, and both are bound to see their teams remodeled to a certain extent over the summer. In both cases, GMs made major moves this year (Kidd to the Mavs, Shaq to the Suns) to put new pieces around these guys; in both cases the moves have to be classified as failures.
Why talk about this on a Bobcats blog?
For me, during the barren years between the Hornets and Bobcats, I considered myself a free agent NBA fan. Dallas became my team; subsequently I also followed the Suns when Nash signed there. How could a “free agent fan” not love those teams? They brought (relatively) free-wheeling offense back to the NBA, and had a lot of fun doing it. But after watching these teams struggle to get over the hump in the past couple of years, I fear that their impact may be marginalized.
Hopefully I’m overreacting a bit, and with some retooling of their respective teams, these guys will be right back up at the top of the Western Conference. But I really feel like the window has closed and they’re hitting the downslopes of their careers. Thanks for the good times, fellas.
And while I’m at it, a quick word on the aforementioned retooling. A lot of people are miffed about the quick firing of Avery Johnson; they cite his superb regular season record and the fact that he was within a couple of games of winning the finals in ’06. But that ’06 collapse, combined with the ’07 and ’08 first round exits is about enough for me. Add the committment the Mavs made to Jason Kidd and the fact that the Lil’ General’s system doesn’t mesh well with Kidd’s game and you’ve got more than enough reason to move on.
As for D’Antoni, here’s hoping the rumors are true and he’ll resign as coach of the Suns. I’d love to see him take over the Raptors, and try to work his magic with the core of Calderon, Bosh, and Bargnani (sure seems like they need another piece, though, doesn’t it?).
As for how to tweak the rosters of the Mavs and Suns going forward? You got me. My only suggestion: reunited and it feels so good.