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Hard Times For the Phoenix Suns? New Deal Turns Steve Nash & Co. Into Walking Billboards

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The Phoenix Suns are in the process of reducing their players to NASCAR-driver status with a new deal that allows corporate sponsorship of practice uniforms and the team's practice court.

The team announced today that they have struck an agreement with the Annexus Group, a Phoenix-based annuity-design firm, to put the company's logo on the right shoulder of the team's practice jerseys.

Oh, and remember the team's practice court? Well that's now the "Annexus Practice Court."

We know the economy sucks, but come on! Has the NBA really been reduced to nearly the level of the lowly WNBA?

The Phoenix Mercury this season inked a deal with so-called identy-protection firm LifeLock, headquartered here, to put the company's name on game jerseys and warmup suits.

Will it come to this for the razzle-dazzle NBA? Seems to us it's the next step.

Says Suns President and CEO Rick Welts, "We're proud to partner with the Annexus Group, an innovative locally based company that continues to build a growing national business."

This "mid-six-figure" deal comes just days after NBA Commissioner David Stern and league brass ruled to allow sponsorship of practices.

The team will be required to wear the jerseys and warmup suits during practices and for pregame shoot-arounds, and the coaching staff must wear attire emblazoned with the Annexus Group name during practices.

The Annexus Group will also use the practice court to hold meetings, seminars, and other business-related ventures. Hopefully when the team doesn't need it.

Sunnies, we never though we'd see you forced to stoop so low.

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