|All-Star Game host Suns are dysfunctional bunch|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 13 February 2009 15:01|
The high-octane darlings of basketball not so long ago, the Phoenix Suns have degenerated in to an uninspired team awash in rumors of trades and the possible firing of its coach.
``I don't know what's going on. We all are kind of not sure what's going on,'' said Amare Stoudemire, a starter in Sunday's All-Star Game and the main subject of the trade speculation. ``I don't know how it's going to play out, man. ... Nobody knows if we're still trying to win a championship or just trying to save money.''
It's not exactly the kind of showcase of the home team that then-Suns owner Jerry Colangelo envisioned when he lured the NBA to Phoenix for its annual mid-February bash.
``Here's the franchise that I gave birth. I gave my blood, sweat and soul to the franchise,'' Colangelo said . ``Yes, I'm affected by it. Even though I'm not involved today, it's part of me. And so I am affected by things that are being said or things that are being done - good, bad or indifferent.''
ral manager Steve Kerr shot down a Friday report by Peter Vescey that coach Terry Porter would be fired and Kerr would take over. Kerr declined further comment but while there is no doubt Kerr does not want to coach, Porter's status and that of Stoudemire are major subjects of an overall review of the team.
The Suns could trade Stoudemire to clear salary cap space that would be used to rebuild a team that's just hanging on in the race for a playoff berth, much as they did when they dealt Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway to the Knicks. Much of that money was used to sign Steve Nash.
``I think something might happen,'' Stoudemire said Friday at the All-Star players' media session. ``I don't know, there's a lot of rumors about Chicago, a lot of rumors about Cleveland, Miami. I think any situation, any team that I go to, I bring a lot to the table.''
Stoudemire said Kerr told him that any trade would be for financial reasons.
``Everybody's on the trading block according to them, myself, Shaq and whoever else, we're on the block,'' Stoudemire said. ``I don't know if we're giving up on the season or we're still trying to win a championship here.''
O'Neal, whose arrival in midseason a year ago signaled the end of the breakneck pace of then-coach Mike D'Antoni's Suns, would be difficult to trade because of his age - he'll turn 37 on March 6 - and big contract.
en good to me,'' said O'Neal, whose strong season earned him a spot on the West All-Star team. ``The training staff has rejuvenated my career. But I'm not in control.''
The Suns are 28-23, a game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
``Our personnel is stunning,'' Stoudemire said, ``and for us not to be playing to that caliber, I can't figure it out. I can't pinpoint it. I'm still trying to figure that out now. I talk to my guys all the time, `What's going on? Why are we not the team that we thought we were going to be?'''
These are tough times for Kerr, the former NBA standout who is a close friend of team owner Robert Sarver.
Kerr's brief tenure has seen the acquisition of O'Neal for Shawn Marion, the departure of D'Antoni in a ``philosophical difference'' and the trade this season of Raja Bell and Boris Diaw for Jason Richardson.
``I know for a fact that if things don't go right, there's three guys that'll get blamed - Steve one, me two and Terry three,'' O'Neal said. ``It's kind of unfair for Terry. He came in with his system, and a lot of guys here are not really used to the system. But I like Terry. He's a knowledgeable guy. He played the game. It's always the players' job to go out and get it done.''
Stoudemire said he likes and admires the general manager.
``I have respect for Steve Kerr,'' he said.
a business-minded kind of guy, he's all about business, he's all about, I think making money,'' Stoudemire said. ``I'm not sure if he's totally familiar with the sport of basketball.''
Stoudemire said he really doesn't mind the trade rumors because they show how wanted he is, but doesn't know why the Suns want to deal this self-described ``superstar, and rising star at that.''
Stoudemire insists he still believes that it's ``60-40'' he will remain a Sun.
But, he said, ``If my last home game is as an All-Star starter here, that would be a great way to go out.''
AP sports writer Andrew Bagnato in Phoenix contributed to this report.