Dave Hodges

More About: Whistleblowers

Robert Sarver for U. S. Senate

Robert Sarver should run for John McCain’s Senate seat. The parallels between these two buffoons are unmistakable. McCain has a done a masterful job of helping to run the country into the ground by championing such follies as corporate wars of conquest in Iraq and Afghanistan and selling out the American people by supporting the bailouts which has resulted in the most prolific bank robbery in the history of the world. And Robert Sarver has fattened his pockets through his personal version of fan bailout which has resulted in running the Phoenix Suns into the ground.  

Five years after Jerry Colangelo transferred control of what should have been a “dynasty for the decade,” Sarver destroyed the Phoenix Suns in a very similar fashion to what McCain has helped to do to the United States people. The United States is a former world power on the verge of collapse, and the Seven Seconds Or Less (SSOL) crew is but a mere memory and is presently on life support.

Yesterday, the Phoenix Suns traded Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers for three jockstraps and an autographed photo of LeBron James Most Valuable Player trophy.  
Two years ago, Sarver and his U of A drinking buddy, (General Manager) Steve Kerr championed O’Neal as the missing link to a championship. O’Neal was a profound mismatch for the SSOL style of play. However, Shaq did revive his career by making the All-Star team and achieving Third Team All NBA status. Now the Barnum and Bailey Circus clowns of Sarver and Kerr are willing to give him away and get nothing of playing value in return. Of course, they save $10 million and that is what Sarver has been all about since he acquired control of the Suns, making money. Sarver has been more of a Bidwill than Bidwill. And in strange twist of fate, Bidwill has morphed into the wise and venerable Jerry Colangelo.

Even Ray Charles could see that the O’Neal-Marion deal was a colossal mistake. The Suns won one, EXACTLY ONE playoff game with Shaq. Shaq was unable to play with Steve Nash because of their combined problems covering the pick-and-roll and Shaq’s lumbering transition style turned Nash into a very average point guard.

At least Kerr and Sarver could have received a first round pick for Shaq.

Then there is the Joe Johnson fiasco. With Nash, Marion, Stoudamire and Johnson, the Suns were set for the at least the next six years. Keeping the core of All-Stars together was a guarantee of 60 wins a year with the most exciting style in basketball. Even with Sarver’s penny-pinching ways, he could have surrounded the core with aging low cost veterans and the Suns are a championship contender until Nash‘s aging body breaks down, and by then, Johnson would become the main decision maker by default. How could Sarver have given up Johnson? Sarver will say that Johnson wanted out of Phoenix. What Sarver will not tell you is that Sarver twice lied to Johnson about contract extensions and salary increases. Would you want to work for a boss that repeatedly lied to you about compensation? Although this Sarver character flaw may not work well in professional sports, it would serve him well as a U. S. Senator.

Making money, not winning, is what Sarver is all about. Again, for financial reasons, Sarver and Kerr traded the Number 21 pick (Rajon Rondo) to Boston and they signed the most colossal bust in recent Suns history, Marcus Banks, to a five-year, $24 million deal to serve as Nash’s back up.  Fourteen million dollars separated Sarver and Joe Johnson. Ask yourself, would you rather pay $14 million a year to Diaw and Banks or just give that money to Joe Johnson? Again, Sarver moved forward with all the judgment and wisdom that being a Senator requires.

To save even more money, Sarver sold the Number 27 pick in the draft to Portland who ended up being Portland’s Sergio Rodriguez. By selling the Number 24 pick (i.e., Rudy Fernandez) also to Portland, Sarver saved three million dollars. Before Sarver writes a rebuttal and tells the Phoenix fans that signing Fernandez would have put Phoenix over the luxury cap, keep in mind that Fernandez did not come to the NBA for two more years. Sarver and Kerr could have signed Fernandez and did not have to pay any salary to him for two years. Sarver, in effect, told the Phoenix Suns fans to "Go to hell, I need the $3 million more than the team." With this move, Sarver crossed the line from just being a miserly owner to that being one of the most intellectually deprived owners in professional sports. In the 2008 draft, after his performance in the Olympics, Fernandez would have been one of the top three picks. The damage to the Suns future by this “Senatoresque” type of move is incalculable.  

Let’s not forget about Tim Thomas and how Sarver refused to pay an NBA paltry sum of money to keep a 6-10 big man who saved the Suns from elimination from the Lakers in the playoffs. A 6-10 big man who could shoot the three and who fit very nicely into the SSOL system and the Suns got nothing in value for him. That paltry sum of money came in handy for Sarver as he was free to buy Kerr several rounds of drinks as they reminisced about their old times on Speedway Boulevard. Let’s not forget about how Sarver dealt Suns big man, Kurt Thomas, to Seattle along with the 2008 and 2010 first-round picks from which Sarver saved about $8 million. No harm, no foul, right? Not exactly, Seattle waived him and Thomas landed in San Antonio, where he was a big factor in helping the Spurs beat the Suns in the 2008 playoffs as he played well during crunch time in all five playoff games. Do you remember the prolific three point sharpshooter, Quentin Richardson, for whom the SSOL was seemingly invented was released over a small difference in compensation as well.

Let’s also not forget how the Potentate of transition basketball, Mike D'Antoni, perhaps the best Suns coach ever, was run out of town by Sarver and Kerr for not playing his bench. What Bench? A quality Suns bench resides inside of Robert Sarver’s wallet!!! D’Antoni was followed by nice guy, Terry Porter, who was hired to install Sarver and Kerr’s notion of defense resulting in the subsequent abandonment of the SSOL. The players and fans rebelled and the Sarver and Kerr Terry Porter experiment was a miserable failure in less than half a season, but not before Sarver and Kerr gave away Suns mainstays, Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, for next to nothing for pointing out what everyone now knows; Kerr and Sarver do not belong in professional sports management. 
Why would anyone own an NBA team if they care more for making money than winning championships? But again, why would anyone want to serve in the United States Senate and willingly oversee and participate in the economic fleecing of this once great country? Robert Sarver is the ideal candidate for the United States Senate.
It is not practical for me to leave the country to escape the carnage caused by several United States Senators such as John McCain and Jon Kyl. However, spending money on the Suns is discretionary and I can indeed escape the same kind of carnage visited upon the Suns fans by supporting another team, such as the up and coming ASU Sundevils, but I confess that it will not be the same. SSOL was fun and it could have become a dynasty. Now, SSOL will merely “die nasty”.
I cannot do much about the government’s abandonment of the people but the Suns were a nice distraction. I wish Robert Sarver would foresake his continuing personal version of a fan bailout and sell the Suns to someone who has the discretionary income to become a legitimate NBA owner. Seven Second Or Less is dead and even with a new owner; it will take Seven Years Or More to rebuild the Suns into what they were when Colangelo handed off the Suns to Senator Sarver and his Congressional page, Steve Kerr.




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