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News » NBA Beat 2009-02-16

NBA Beat 2009-02-16

NBA Beat  2009-02-16

All-Star spotlight increases heat on disappointing Suns

PHOENIX - Hornets officials were in town lobbying for another All-Star Weekend in the Big Easy in 2014.

I'm not sure Suns officials will ever want another one, not after their All-Star weekend focused an intense scrutiny on a franchise in disarray.

A year ago, All-Star Weekend was all about rebirth, both of a community and an NBA franchise. New Orleans' big weekend went off without a hitch.

Phoenicians seem proud to have the All-Stars in town. Just don't ask about the home team.

At the break, the Suns are ninth in the Western Conference, out of the playoff picture, but still close enough to maintain hope for better days.

Expectations, though, were for better things under new coach Terry Porter, who would demand more attention to defensive detail and slow the offense to a pace more suited for Shaquille O'Neal.

Because the trade deadline arrives on Thursday, rumors began swirling last week that the Suns were in the mood to make a dramatic change by moving All-Star forward Amare Stoudemire.

The most popular table at Friday's media availability session didn't belong to LeBron James or Kobe Bryant. Reporters were four- and five-deep around Stoudemire, asking the same questions about a 26-year-old, four-time All-Star, whose days with the Suns appear to be numbered in single digits.

Why in the world would the Suns want to trade you, Amare?

"I'm trying to figure out what the focus is. I'm not quite sure. I thought I was the future of the franchise, and we were trying to win a championship here. It doesn't seem that way anymore."

How do you rate the performance of your new head coach, Amare?

"Uh, I like Terry Porter. I think he brings to the table some intensity defensively. I think he can help us. But right now, it's not working. We've got to make an adjustment."

This much seems evident: The Suns didn't plan on their collapse as a legitimate Western Conference title contender to coincide with a big weekend that had been intended as a celebration.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: February 16, 2009


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