Free-agent team needs: West
We provide a free-agency blueprint for every Western Conference team
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.
The buyersPhoenix Suns -- $26 million under the cap
Coming off the books: Steve Nash ($11.7M), Grant Hill ($6.5M), Shannon Brown ($3.5M)
Biggest needs: PG, SG, SF, PF
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.
To read more of Tom Haberstroh's free-agency plans for West teams, you must be an Insider.