Report: Demps, Penn are front runners for Suns GM job

Posted by on July 15th, 12:45 pm

According to a Yahoo! Sports report Wednesday, San Antonio Spurs executive Dell Demps and former Portland Trail Blazers assistant general manager Tom Penn have become the two leading candidates for the Phoenix Suns’ GM job left vacant by Steve Kerr’s departure.

The hire will likely work under Lon Babby, who is expected to be named president of basketball operations next week, and will be the Suns’ fourth GM in six seasons.

Demps, currently the vice president of basketball operations for the Suns’ biggest rival, has spent five seasons in the Spurs’ front office. He also serves currently as GM of the Spurs’ NBA Developmental League team, the Austin Toros. Demps played three seasons in the NBA, coached in the NBADL and spent a season as a scout for the New York Knicks.

As part of the Trail Blazers’ recent front office overhaul, Penn lost his job with the team in April. According to the team’s 2009-10 media guide, Penn is a well-known “salary capologist,” with a great deal of knowledge when it comes to handling the cap and the collective bargaining agreement.

Before taking a job with Portland, Penn spent about seven years with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he worked under Jerry West. Before that, Penn was a criminal defense attorney (would have been a good guy to have on staff back in the Jail Blazers day, right?). Penn began acting as a player agent in 1994 and founded a company that showcased American basketball players on tours of Europe.

Both candidates clearly possess the requisite front office experience and are right where you would expect a GM candidate to be. Demps’ experience heading up the Toros’ front office could be a reason to go with him. Penn’s work with West could be a big plus, but the biggest thing working in his favor is his knowledge of the salary cap and CBA, as next season will see a new CBA after a potential lockout.

Tyler Lockman

Tags: Phoenix Suns · Phoenix Suns News

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lance // Jul 15, 2010 at 6:14 am

    Well, I think that the Suns should look at former Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard. He helped rebuild Portland into a successful playoff team. I think that his experience of knowing how to build a playoff team is critical for the Suns to have.

  • 2 Andrew // Jul 15, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Penn will do just fine.

  • 3 Kyle // Jul 18, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Anyone else see the report out today that Demps is the lead for the New Orleans’ job? Maybe this will push the suns to make an offer ASAP if they were favoring Demps.

    But then again, this article is over a week long and no one will probably see this comment!

  • 4 With Demps headed to New Orleans, Suns may tab Tom Penn| Valley of the Suns // Jul 20, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    [...] exit of Steve Kerr after the Suns’ surprise run to the Western Conference Finals. The other leading candidate to take over the GM duties for the Suns is former Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Tom Penn, [...]

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