The search for a replacement for Leandro Barbosa, out for up to 10 days with a sore left ankle, is on. The Suns are looking at players in the National Basketball Developmental League, among other minor leagues, including point guards with NBA experience such as Smush Parker (who started this season on Detroit’s roster) and Omar Cook, Suns president Bryan Colangelo said Monday.
The Suns could sign somebody to a 10-day contract as early as today, Colangelo said.
Barbosa is expected to go on the injured list. Starter Steve Nash also is banged up with thigh and back ailments.
The Suns also are surveying the trade market. Thanks to their trade of Zarko Cabarkapa to Golden State, they have an exception to the salary cap that would allow them to sign a player who makes up to $1.4 million without shipping anybody out.
"We’re looking for a player who would fit the needs of the team," Colangelo said. That presumably means somebody who could give them scoring punch off the bench.
"No conversations of significance" have taken place involving trading away a player currently on the Suns’ roster, he said.
NOT AS SELF-ASSURED
By losing four straight, the Suns have lost some of the swagger they built up in running up a 31-4 record, the sixth-fastest start ever among teams with four losses.
"Win a few games and we’ll get it back," said Suns coach Mike D’Antoni.
"We all looked at this month as the toughest month," he said of the January schedule, which has them playing 11 of 17 on the road. "We’ll get through it."
The slump also put into question the Suns’ leadership in the absence of Steve Nash.
Shawn Marion, who is in his sixth year with the club, making him the "Senior Sun", suggested there’s only so much he can do because he "doesn’t have the ball" in his hands.
"The best way is to lead by example," said Marion, saying he would try to "be vocal on defense" and be as active as possible all over the floor.
Here are some numbers from the four-game trip:
• Amaré Stoudemire averaged 21.8 points on 39 percent shooting plus 9.3 rebounds.
His season numbers are 25.7 points on 56 percent shooting plus 8.7 rebounds.
• Shawn Marion averaged 14.3 points on 44 percent shooting plus 7.8 rebounds.
His season numbers are 19.3 points on 48 percent shooting plus 10.6 rebounds.
• Quentin Richardson averaged 16.3 points on 32 percent shooting, including 22 percent on 3-pointers.
His season numbers are 15.5 points on 37 percent shooting, including 34 percent on 3-pointers.
• Joe Johnson remained solid with 17.0 points on 47 percent shooting plus 4.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
His numbers on the season are 15.6 points on 44 percent shooting, plus 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
About 400 of the 2,000 tickets priced at $10 set aside for tonight’s game were still available as of late Tuesday afternoon. The proceeds go to disaster relief in South Asia. The tickets can be purchased online at Suns.com. ...
The Suns will donate $100 for each point the club scores. Also, the American Red Cross will have tables located throughout the arena to collect donations from fans. Each fan who donates at least $10 will receive a 2004-05 Suns Yearbook.