Count Jermaine O’Neal among the “old guard” unhappy with the new changes in Planet Orange. The Suns’ backup big man reportedly got into a post-practice shouting match with general manager Lance Blanks, according to Yahoo! Sports insider Adrian Wojnarowski.
Y! Sources: Phoenix GM Lance Blanks and Jermaine O’Neal engaged in loud, angry confrontation near Suns locker room. tinyurl.com/bz8h7yd
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 22, 2013
O’Neal, according to a report from The Arizona Republic‘s Paul Coro, was already scheduled to miss Phoenix’s Wednesday road game against Sacramento with an “unstated medical issue.” That issue may have been more emotional than physical if the argument was as vehement as Wojnarowski’s sources indicated.
Jan. 18 – Suns fire Gentry
Jan. 20 – Suns promote Hunter
Jan. 20 – Majerle leaves Suns
Jan. 21 – O’Neal, Blanks argue
With the Suns in complete disarray (13-28, worst in the Western Conference), Blanks and the rest of Suns management decided the team was in need of a different direction, though apparently not everyone is pleased with the ultimate decision on how to go about it.
The confrontation is the latest of several reported rifts from within the organization following the hiring of head coach Alvin Gentry and the promotion of Lindsey Hunter, formerly the team’s player development director. Hunter’s hiring came at the expense of more experienced candidates in Suns assistants Dan Majerle and Elston Turner.
Majerle has already left the team after being passed over, and Turner may not be far behind.
Hunter’s prior position in player development has many thinking he will dole out more playing time to the Suns’ younger players, including second-year forwardand rookie point guard .
At age 34, O’Neal is the team’s oldest player and just one of two older than 30 (is the other).