To me, letting Mike D'antoni walk was the beginning of the end. That man's coaching was underrated, and although there were obviously some deficiencies, I believe that last year, they might have been on the brink of something special, even with Shaq. The problem is that when Steve Kerr came in, he tried to be mr. Fix it. What he didn't realize was that adding a piece or two doesn't make this a half court team. In fact, bringing in more half court players and a non-run and gun coach (Porter) actually rendered a lot of our players ineffective. I completely agree that this era is over, and it's sad to see it end this way.
Whether people knew it or not, the era was over the moment Steve Kerr took over as GM and they canned D'Antonio. It's funny that people are talking about tearing apart this team now, when just 2 years ago this was the best team in the NBA. That team would have won the NBA title if not for the BS altercation (started by a Spurs player) that got Stoudamire & Diaw suspended. There was no reason whatsoever to tear apart that team and go in a "new direction".
This current version on the other hand... yes, tear it apart ASAP, and first and foremost start with the GM. Kerr is clueless.
The wheels fell off this wagon a year ago last February when they shipped Marion for Shaq, the very worst possible fit for this team you could imagine despite all the PR and media hype. D'Antoni followed right behind Shawn, and that made it clear what they thought they were trying to do. Follow that with this year: dumping the mess on an inexperienced coach, changing direction so many times it felt like a tennis match ... one stupid move after another slapping band-aids on a broken back ... and it wasn't hard to see where the Suns were going.
Well, they got where they were going. And getting here made for one miserable, boring, totally unenjoyable season, nothing fun about it. Apparently big promises and smart-ass antics don't win championships any more. They don't even get you into the playoffs.