Originally written on WeAreSuns  |  Last updated 7/25/12

Names like Goran Dragic, Michael Beasley and Wesley Johnson weren’t going to grab the majority of the headlines. Not with “Steve Nash is a Laker” demanding all the attention.

Take a closer look from the Suns’ point of view, however, and you’ll find something nearly as shocking as L.A.’s new No. 10.

Phoenix’s management is playing it smart in the offseason.

Gone is the big-name, worse-contract spending frenzy. Instead Suns brass is nipping here, tucking there, and ultimately doing what they said they wanted to do in the first place: staying competitive while remaining financially flexible.

Wednesday’s word of the three-way trade to send Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick to New Orleans — and getting Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick in return — was yet another feather in Lon Babby’s cap. The pending trade rids Phoenix of what seemed to permeate the roster over the last four years: bloated contracts for role players.

Outside of layup lines, Hakim Warrick was never going to see the court this season. Not behind a rotation including amnesty robbery Luis Scola, second-year prospect Markieff Morris and Channing Frye. Babby knew this, especially after the acquisition of Scola. He also came to realize what every contender already knows.

You don’t pay through the nose for role players.

Hence the departure of Lopez, a backup-quality center who wanted starter’s money. As mentioned earlier on WeAreSuns, other teams have been quick to bid adieu to bench/role players, knowing they are easily had and even more easily paid. If Phoenix truly needs a simple “rim protector,” it shouldn’t be hard to find one on the cheap.

And as for the returns, it’s apparent Phoenix is stockpiling — nay, hoarding — draft picks. The strategy goes hand-in-hand with the kind of players the Suns have pursued this offseason. Young. Unproven. Intriguing. Most importantly, cheap. Nothing piques other teams’ interest quite like those assets.

Make no mistake, the Suns will need those assets if they want to land the true superstar they will eventually need. Dragic can be a borderline All-Star. He proved it last season. Beasley can do likewise if he plays like it’s 2010-11. But it’s hard to picture anyone on the current roster becoming an unquestioned alpha dog. Without one of those, all of the Suns’ nice pieces will be just that.

Babby swung for one in Eric Gordon and missed, the only downer in an otherwise encouraging offseason. It’s a shame, because Gordon would have changed the tone of the last two weeks from mildly intriguing/encouraging to downright exciting.

Plan B was O.J. Mayo, a less-talented option who wanted more money than he was worth.

Breaking all tradition, Phoenix passed.

Instead, the Suns will wait until next summer…or until they can directly benefit in a trade. Ironically, Phoenix is well positioned to play the part that seemingly every other team played on the Suns in years past.

You have to applaud Babby if he continues to be smart until that moment comes.

Matt Petersen can be reached at wearesunsblog@gmail.com. You can follow WeAreSuns on Twitter at @WeAreSuns.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Fred Jackson released by Bills after eight seasons with team

RGIII won't be starting Week 1, but he's on the ticket

Appellate Court sides with MLB in minimum wage lawsuit

Giants owner at Brady hearing, reportedly at judge's request

Indians owner attempting to sell minority stakes to raise cash

Kirk Cousins reportedly named Week 1 starter by Redskins

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Raiders lose starting lineman to ruptured Achilles tendon

NFL should keep its hands off wide receivers’ gloves

Report: Redskins owner not blocking RG3 trade

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs ace Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release two-time Pro Bowl CB Tim Jennings

Courtroom artist has been practicing drawing Tom Brady

John Kruk: Take Curt Schilling with 'a grain of salt'

Will Smith's "Concussion" trailer must be terrifying for the NFL

Aikman: Redskins are more dysfunctional than Kardashians

Luck for Luck? QBs who won Super Bowl in fourth season

Harmon treats media to beers, whiskey after two holes-in-one

Five big storylines for the 2015-16 NBA season

Most crucial player for each remaining playoff contender

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

U.S. Open women's preview: Can anyone stop Serena?

Buffalo Bills need to start Tyrod Taylor at quarterback

WATCH: Broncos defender drops Reggie Bush, skirmish ensues

U.S. Open men's preview: Will there be a surprise champion?

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

10 takeaways from Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Cubs' Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers

Chicago Bears release Tim Jennings

U.S. Open men's preview

U.S. Open women's preview

D'Angelo Russell zings Lakers fans

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker