- Tom Haberstroh
At the trade deadline, a few teams from the Western Conference waved their white flags on the 2011-12 season and made moves to "build" for the future. The Trail Blazers picked up a first-round pick and cleared cap space while the Warriors traded their top scorer Monta Ellis and plus-minus juggernaut Ekpe Udoh essentially for an All-Star center who cannot play due to injury (Andrew Bogut).
The focus, for many teams, is not on the here and now but on the horizon. For this reason, we're taking a look at the free-agency fits and needs of each team. On Thursday, we took a close look at the Eastern Conference, and in this edition, we set our eyes on the West.
If and when Steve Nash leaves Phoenix, at least the blow will be softened by loads of cap space. The Suns are set to sport a trim payroll outside the deadweight Josh Childress contract in the offseason, and they'll be looking for big help at every position except perhaps the center slot, where Marcin Gortat is arguably a top-five player at his position.
Entering a free-agency market stacked with centers and Deron Williams reportedly looking elsewhere, the Suns couldn't have picked a worse time to pick someone to receive the torch after Nash. Of all the unrestricted free agents out there, Kris Humphries makes the most sense -- even if that's not what Suns fans want to hear.
Tom Haberstroh looks at the free-agency plans for every Western Conference team and provides the best fits for each.