You know Manny Moe & Jack. They’re the three best friends your basketball team ever had! They’re better known as Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus. They debut with the Suns Thursday night at the US Airways Center against the Heat.
(Courtesy of Sarah McLellan – Arizona Republic)
Smiles and laughs framed the table at which Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat and Mickael Pietrus sat on Monday afternoon as they were introduced as the newest members of the Suns organization.
In between expressing their excitement about the potential of the team and what they plan to bring to the lineup, the trio engaged in playful banter and even deadpanned about Steve Nash.
// “We feel like we fit well in this offense, and it’s been a storied organization for years and years,” Carter said. “We just want to continue to build and help this organization get to where we feel they can be and that’s winning championships. They have a great piece, and I think the point guard this year, um, what’s his name?”
“Mickael Pietrus,” Pietrus answered.
“No,” Carter replied amid a chorus of laughs. “Nash.”
While the Suns were concluding a three-game road stint against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday, the newbies remained in Phoenix to receive physicals and process their new roles with the team. They were shipped from the Orlando Magic along with a first-round pick in the 2011 draft and $3 million in exchange for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark in Saturday’s transaction.
The anchor of the trade, Gortat, anticipates he’ll be competing for playing time with big man Robin Lopez if the two aren’t paired together. Also, expect him to show what he’s learned playing behind Dwight Howard.
“Finally stepping out of that shadow is a huge, monster opportunity,” Gortat said. “I’m looking forward, and I’m definitely waiting for Steve Nash to play the pick and roll on the side, in the middle, whatever he wants to. I gotta make sure I have my eyes open. I’m really excited.”
Leaving a championship contender in Orlando isn’t exactly in the blueprint to win a title for an aging player such as Carter, but he believes the opportunity to win is here with the addition of the “right pieces” over time.
“We all have to be committed to one another, making that dream happen and then when everybody believes, great things happen from there,” Carter said.
And then there’s Pietrus, who slides in as the Suns’ best perimeter defender and with a career-high 39.1 percentage on 3-pointers this season. He’s been hampered with a knee injury recently but was willing to dance a popular routine to demonstrate his health.
“You want me to do the Dougie for you?” Pietrus said. “I’ll be playing on Thursday with my team, and I’m very excited about it. I’ll do the Dougie for you after the game, too.”