Of all times for Phoenix to follow through on its renewed commitment to go fast ...
The Suns replaced coach
Phoenix lost in the second round of the playoffs in 2007, in the first round in '08 and missed the playoffs in '09, so this is a documented decline and not merely supposition. Yet here are the Suns, re-signing
This is going fast, all right. Careening fast, screeching around corners at such a rate that the decisions ricochet off blueprints.
Good players. Hall of Fame character guys. But Hill and Nash are able to make a huge difference in the standings only for teams pushing for a championship, and that obviously is not the Suns.
Maybe Suns management takes care of them and gets Nash and/or Hill to a title contender at some point, to go out with a final chance at glory. The classy Suns would do something like that. But that's a big maybe, based on more uncertainties -- the economy, the standings, the roster of the other team -- than either can count on in July 2009 as a definite escape hatch.
Nash and his agent,
But the upside to staying? Maybe Phoenix maxes out and is good enough to lose in the first round. It finished two games out of the playoffs last season despite a coaching upheaval and serious injuries. With No. 8 Utah at a crossroads moment with the
What a way to be on the same roster again.
Jackson's mother died in '02 after a lengthy battle with cancer, Barnes' mother died in '07 after a shockingly fast fight with cancer, and so the two decided something must be done. Charity events are the norm, especially in the summer, and golf tournaments are common fund-raisers, but two players joining a fight together is what makes their Athletes vs. Cancer event Aug. 8 in suburban Sacramento a rarity.
"You never find two guys doing it together," said Jackson, a 12-year veteran and Sixth Man Award winner in '03. "Him being from Sacramento, me living in Sacramento a lot of years, both of us losing mothers we were close to, my family knows his family -- we just think it's a great fit. I don't think I'd want to do it with anyone else."
Teammates on the '04-05 Kings, and further connected because Jackson is from North Carolina and Barnes played there while in the D-League, they will split the proceeds. Jackson has his money earmarked for college scholarships for students with a parent who has either been lost to cancer or is facing the disease now. Barnes is putting his portion into screening clinics in hopes of encouraging awareness and early detection, more aware than anyone how important that can be: His mother was diagnosed Nov. 1 and died Nov. 27.
"It's just something that I know they're smiling down on us here and what Bobby and I are doing," Barnes said.
Both remain free agents. Barnes, a part-time starter with the Suns last season, said there is a good chance he will sign with the Cavaliers, though other teams have shown interest. Jackson, a Kings reserve in '08-09, has talked with clubs but has yet to get an offer. He broke his left hand three weeks ago, but said the injury will be healed long before training camp.
• Though disappointed to lose starting shooting guard
• The Mavericks' move to invest three years and a reported $25 million in 36-year-old