Suns News

Bordow: Suns Subtract Unhappy Bell, Add Dynamic Scorer

Phoenix will be Jason Richardson's third NBA stop after spending six seasons at Golden State and the start of this season in Charlotte.
(NBAE/Getty Images)
By Scott Bordow,
Dec. 11, 2008

Say this about Suns general manager Steve Kerr: He’s not afraid to take a risk.

Clearly, Wednesday’s deal that sent Raja Bell and Boris Diaw to the Charlotte Bobcats for shooting guard Jason Richardson — other, minor pieces were involved as well — is not as big of a gamble as trading Shawn Marion for Shaquille O’Neal.

But there is some chance involved.

Richardson, 27, is an offensive upgrade over Bell, who had become disgruntled under coach Terry Porter. He’s five years younger, more athletic and throughout his career has been a more prolific scorer. His numbers likely will go down here because he won’t be the No. 1 option, but he should still provide more scoring punch.

The Suns are taking a hit defensively, however. Bell might not have been the stopper he once was, but he still made the NBA’s All-Defensive second team last year. Richardson, on the other hand, is considered a defensive liability. Earlier this season, Charlotte coach Larry Brown publicly implored Richardson to pay as much attention on the defensive end of the floor as he does on offense.

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It will be interesting to see how a team featuring Richardson, Steve Nash, Amaré Stoudemire and O’Neal jives with Porter’s intent to make defense a priority. Just who is going to guard Kobe Bryant?

As for Diaw, his exit is no surprise. He was a goner the minute Mike D’Antoni left town.

Does the trade inch the Suns closer to a championship? I don’t think so.

But it does trade an unhappy player in Bell for a dynamic scorer who will be thrilled to play alongside Nash on a winning team.

From that perspective, the deal looks like a winner.

COPYRIGHT 2008, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.