It has been quite the exciting week for Arizona sports fans. The Cardinals pulled out a miraculous win on Sunday. It was then confirmed on Monday that the Suns were finalizing a deal to bring a 10x NBA All-Star to Phoenix in Chris Paul. Pretty impressive start to the week if you ask me, especially in unprecedented times like these. Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Coming into Sunday’s game, the Cardinals were facing a very hungry 7-2 Bills team. They had to be firing on all cylinders in order to pull this one out. In a very back and forth game, the Bills controlled the narrative heading into the 4th and early Cardinals mistakes were looking like the difference maker. A few missed opportunities seemed to be their Achilles heel against the Bills. Josh Allen unloaded to Stefon Diggs for the TD with 40 seconds left to put the Bills up 30-26.
With the game literally coming down to the wire, the Cardinals regained possession of the ball but with very little room to work with. Kyler Murray marched the Cardinals down the field, nonetheless. With 11 seconds left on a 1st & 10 play, Murray scrambled and unleashed an absolute bomb down the field as first year Cardinal DeAndre Hopkins snagged the catch heard round the world. Hopkins again put on display why he is worth every penny.
I can only send my condolences to Houston. Having Bill O’Brien serve as the GM and Head Coach was never a good idea. O’Brien proved exactly why by dealing away the franchise’s best player in what is now a leading contender for the worst trade in recent memory. In addition, Murray was named week 10’s hungriest player and even got to rock the iced out Snickers chain passed along to a different player each week following a dominant on-field performance. I have a feeling we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of what K1 and D-Hop are capable of.
Everyone has had a bad case of the Mondays. Arizona sports fans probably weren’t expecting the week to get off to an even better start after that insane finish to Sunday’s game. Well, here’s how it did.
It was reported Monday afternoon that the Suns & Thunder were finalizing a deal to send CP3 to Phoenix. It has been a speculated move for a few weeks now, given the Suns’ interest in Paul’s veteran skillset. The trade became official later that evening. Paul was officially a Sun, and he was joined by forward Abdel Nader. The Thunder received Ricky Rubio, Kelly Oubre Jr., Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and a 2022 first round pick in return.
Ricky Rubio may have taken the trade to heart, taking to Twitter to express his disbelief. “What a business,” he exclaimed with the upside down smiley face emoji. Hey man, you’ve played long enough in the league. You should know the hand you’re dealt can be a hard pill to swallow. Rubio was then traded back to the Timberwolves on draft night for the 25th and 28th first round picks.
One concern may be that the Suns were too generous, shipping out a lot more than they were receiving. Obviously this move is not a long-term decision, as the 35-year-old Paul is nearing the latter stage of his career.
This will be Paul’s third team in two years. The Suns are hopeful that pairing him with Devin Booker can establish an elite backcourt duo. Can they compete with the Lakers or Clippers? Or does this team smell like a 6 or 7 seed in the realm of the Trail Blazers or Jazz? Only time will tell, but it should definitely make for some interesting basketball. With Paul’s veteran basketball IQ, Booker’s playmaking ability, and Maryland big man Jalen Smith at No. 10 in the NBA Draft, the future is definitely now in the Valley.
There is a great deal of promise for the Suns and the Cardinals. It’s time to win now, though. The Cardinals were a win shy of winning the Super Bowl over a decade ago, but are still one of 12 franchises to have never lifted the Lombardi Trophy. The Suns last championship was never, yet another Sun Belt showcase with no titles. K1 and D-Book are only ages 23 & 24 respectively, not at the apex of their careers, and are becoming the faces of two Arizona sports franchises desperately yearning for success.
Murray hasn’t dealt with the sophomore slump, and for Cardinals fans’ sanity, hopefully he keeps it that way. The Cardinals finished dead last in the NFC West at 5-10-1 in 2019. Some even speculated Murray should have played baseball instead. Murray has made the critics eat crow so far this season.
The Suns finished a perfect 8-0 in the NBA bubble, but missed out on the eighth seed. If the finale of last season is any indicator of what’s to come for the Suns, there should be a lot of excitement in the locker room coming into this season. With some new threads and a 10x NBA All Star joining the ranks, who can blame them?
Things are certainly looking up for Arizona sports. Finally.