Lon Babby signs a two-year extension with the Suns

Posted by on April 2nd, 1:27 pm

Lon Babby has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Phoenix Suns, the team announced on Tuesday. Owner Robert Sarver has put his eggs in the Blanks-Babby basket, and just as the Suns approached a summer in which it could get mighty interesting should the president of basketball ops not be retained, all of that thought has been thrown out the window.

The Suns, in short, will continue at their current trajectory.

While general manager Lance Blanks’ contract ends next summer, there’s reason to believe the new contract to Babby — it locks him in through the 2014-15 season — will ultimately give him the opportunity to turn the team around with what should be a number of big moves this offseason.

Phoenix clearly wants to have a shot at a top-five draft pick, and there’s a bet that the moving pieces will also include players on the current roster.

Furthermore, Babby’s extension firms up the front office that put its trust in interim coach Lindsey Hunter. His future definitely has a better chance of remaining in Phoenix with the news. Considering he was only brought on as a player development coordinator toward the end of last season, the jump to the interim coaching position is a pretty solid indicator that Blanks and Babby see him as more than a short-term coach to take on the burden of a struggling team.

Babby, who joined the Suns with Blanks in 2010 after Steve Kerr left his GM post, has had some success. As it stands, the reacquisition of point guard Goran Dragic is hard to argue with. So too was moving Jason Richardson for Marcin Gortat. The Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall draft picks were questionable to some but could still pan out as well.

Obviously, the Michael Beasley experiment has gone as poorly as could be — though the Suns arguably get more out of Beasley than they did from Josh Childress. How the front office dealt with the departure of Steve Nash and Grant Hill is another questionable piece of this puzzle.

But looking forward, the biggest piece of the rebuilding process comes this summer.

Again, we’d expect there to be potential for a very active offseason, and Sarver sticking to his guns simply reaffirms the process to, as Hunter has said often this year, stay the course.

Editor’s note: The story originally mentioned the non-signing of Amare Stoudemire as being a decision made by the current president of basketball ops, but it was actually a move made by Robert Sarver in early July of 2010, before Babby was hired on July 20.

Kevin Zimmerman is the lead blogger and editor for Valley of the Suns. He is also editor of AZDesertSwarm.com, an Arizona Wildcats\’ blog, and a contributor at SB Nation and Pac-12.com.

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Tags: Lon Babby · Phoenix Suns News

37 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    “Yo Tip settle down, what’s the reason for the laughter?”

    “I really can’t say, I guess I laugh to keep from cryin, so much going on………”

  • 2 Tony // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    “As it stands, the reacquisition of point guard Goran Dragic is hard to argue with. So too was moving Jason Richardson for Marcin Gortat, and the non-signing of Amar’e Stoudemire.”

    Wrong, wrong, and just plain wrong!! Statements like the one above, which is just nonsense, make me wonder if the VOTS’ staff works for the dummies in the Suns FO…..?

    Firstly, the Suns did not merely trade J-Rich for Gortat; but rather, in addition to giving up J-Rich, they also gave up a 1st round pick, Earl Clark, and Hedo for Gortat. Now I know the dummies like John will argue that the Suns got Peitrus and Carter in the deal as well, but there was never any intention from the Suns FO to keep either Peitrus or Carter beyond their remaining one year deal. I don’t disagree with letting Carter go, considering his contract price at that point, but giving up Clark, J-Rich, a 1st round draft pick, and Hedo in essence just for Gortat, was ridiculous.

    Secondly, Gortat’s acquisition was as a result of Sarver’s failure to adequately replace Amar’e. Thus, overall, the argument can reasonably be made that the Suns essentially gave up Amar’e, J-Rich, a 1st-round pick, and Earl Clarke for Gortat. Moreover, since Blabby Babby has repeatedly demonstrated himself to being a liar and because he used to be their agents; I would not be at all surprised to find out he was involved behind the scenes with Sarver’s Amar’e decision as well as Hedo’s and Childress’s acquisitions as well.

    Regarding Amar’s, you’re really making a false assumption; that is, that Amar’e would have gotten injured regardless of playing in New York or Phoenix. That’s just a lame assumption to make. Remember, Amar’e played under D’Antoni with the Knicks-playing 35-40 mpg-way too many minutes. Gentry did a much better job of managing his minutes and not overusing him like D’Antoni did.

    Secondly, do not ignore the climate differences between N.Y. and Phoenix. One of the reasons players tend to stay healthier and avoid musculoskeletal injuries while with the Suns is the warmer climate of Phoenix. The heat naturally helps to alleviate muscle stiffness. In NY, on the other hand, it’s often cold and snowing during much of the NBA season.

    Lastly, again Zimmerman you’re making an assumption that the Suns world-class trainers and specialists could not have made any difference to preventing Stat’s injuries. We all know how good the Suns medical staff are, so what is your basis for concluding that even they would not have made any difference?

    Lastly, while Dragic has developed into a good player, his age and skill-set are not really ideal for a rebuilding team. In particular, he’s already 26 going on 27 next month, and he relies far too much on his speed and athletic ability rather than any exceptional basketball-related skill. In other words, there is no one area of his game he excels in. It’s extremely risky to rebuild around an already in his prime pg, who’s success at the NBA level is tied so closely with his physical gifts (i.e., size, speed, and quickness). So the point is, the jury’s still out on whether the resigning of Dragic was a good move.

  • 3 Tony // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Zimmerman’s statements were so ludicrous that I forgot to mention my udder disdain, albeit I’m not at all surprised, with Babby’s two-year extension. This news really goes to show Sarver’s present state of mind. This guy has got to be delusional. Why else would he resign Blabby Babby?? What a freaking joke Sarver has turned the Suns into. Just such a shame.

  • 4 Forever is2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    How do you run a franchise or any business like this? Three straight years of no playoffs and we are extending front office contracts. Maybe I am mistaken but didn’t Sarver encourage if not invite Kerr to leave after getting the team to the WCF. Since Zimmerman wants to reference not signing Amare, how could he ignore the signing of HeDon’t Turkolu and the other stiffs that summer? IMO there is no way he deserves an extension.

    Sarver is trusting potential two lottery picks to what I perceive to be a complete team of basketball idiots. DBreezy I want to laugh but I am too angry to do so. Tony, just my opinion but I think the Suns fans would be better served if the 3 blind mice were lost on a deserted island with plenty of food and water so their well being would remain intact.. Well the only thing left now is to prepare ourselves for the drafting of Zeller with the top 5 lottery pick. Yikes!!!!!

  • 5 Ty-Sun // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Yep, let’s “stay the course” because the Suns aren’t yet the worst team in the NBA, only the 4th worst. But I have confidence that Babby, Blanks and Sarver can bring the Suns to the very bottom of the NBA next year! Maybe the Suns can even set an all time low for win/loss percentage under their leadership!

  • 6 bill.thomas // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Yep, and I bet we can double down getting Plumlee with the Miami pick.

  • 7 john // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    The only thing this could possibly indicate is that whatever type of “plan” is in place is coming along perfectly.

    What the typical fan would see from the Suns right now is a failure (“you are what your record says you are”), however, there are many reasons to believe that being bad is not a bad thing in today’s NBA, and there are two main reasons for that:

    1. LeBron James
    2. Kevin Durant

    If you don’t have one of those two guys on your team, I don’t see a whole lot of hope for winning anything significant over the next 5-7 years.

    Not one of us sitting in our La-Z-Boy’s knows a thing about the details of whether or not this front office actually wanted to be this bad at this time, but I’d have to guess that the only way an extension would be possible for Babby at this time would be if everything was going according to “plan.”

    I’m not nearly so pessimistic as most, but the realist in me admits I don’t trust any of the three we love to hate have a clue what they are doing.

  • 8 Ty-Sun // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    I think I finally understand Sarver’s plan! Especially with the new CBA, there is just no way that any team will ever be able to have a perfect 82-0 season… BUT it IS possible to have a perfect 0-82 season!

    Unfortunately it seems that Sarver has read “Paradise Lost” and really believes that it is “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.”

  • 9 DBreezy // Apr 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Foreveris,

    I can’t get too riled up because this was something that I expected to occur. The only surprise to me was that his extension was for two years instead of one to match up with Blanks. Perhaps we’ll have more clarity on that this summer. The biggest problem with Babby is that he isn’t a basketball guy and I think that puts far too much organizational dependence on Blanks. I think Babby is probably smart enough to correctly analyze basketball decisions after the fact, but to me that should be the role of the owner not the front office.

    I also can’t get too riled up because I think this is going to be a slow burning return to be a playoff team/contender, quite possibly 8 seasons(including the last three). I don’t want to peak too early! A team low on talent, unlikely destination for truly game-changing type free agents (Lebron/Shaq), questionable management, and a draft system heavy on one and done talents promises a tough road imo.

  • 10 Forever is2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I think I am going to find a sports management internship program somewhere and then find a job that will keep me on board the more I screw things up. Go to bed at night knowing my team is in last place with a 29 or 30 year old center who will not sign an extension with us, the point guard I just drafted cannot do a lot of things well and the forward I am paying $6m/yr to is not worth the money. I will sleep well knowing I am performing so well that I will have my contract extended. Now that is paradise. I need that job badly.

  • 11 Forever is2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Oh DBreezy, Babby is a licensed attorney and former agent so I know from an intellect standpoint he is a bright guy. However I have seen little evidence that he or Blanks have a clue how to effectuate a turnaround of the mess in Phoenix. Drafting Marshall and Morris did not boost my confidence. The bottom line is I think this front office is one of the most dysfunctional operations I have seen, perhaps ever in sports. Kerr is gone and Babby stays, go figure.

  • 12 Ty-Sun // Apr 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Okay, enough of the smart-ass comments from me.

    I am disappointed with the contract extension of Babby.

    Drafting Morris and Marshall weren’t the best decisions in hindsight. Morris has been inconsistent but I still think he’s a good backup 4. Marshall has shown some improvement since he’s gotten more playing time. Yes there are a few – a very few – players that were drafted after each of them that have produced more for the teams that drafted them. That is all in the past and irrelevant to the future of the Suns because it’s DONE and can’t be changed.

    Even if the Suns get lucky in the lottery and wind up with the #1 pick in the draft there is no sure fire NBA all star in this year’s draft. I have little trust in the FO to make good decisions either in the draft or during free agency. All I can do is hope that they get lucky and somehow make the right decisions.

  • 13 Forever is2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Go Mavs tonight!!!!!

  • 14 Scott // Apr 2, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Like others, I’m puzzled by the idea that Blanks has one more year on his contract and Babby now has two.

    I hope -gulp!- that doesn’t mean Blanks is getting an extension as well ….

    But it probably does. :(

  • 15 Scott // Apr 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Although .. if Blanks was to be fired and Barkley then taken on as new GM, Babby would still have a role, as someone would have to work out the contracts.

    Or – heck – maybe they’ve finally decided to accept my application for GM! In that case, a two year contract sounds reasonable.

    (Sits by phone.)

  • 16 bill.thomas // Apr 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Barkley cannot become GM, bc if he does, his egglant shoe sales will plummet. Besides, he is out of range of Sarver’s salary structure, (even assuming he would take lots of his pay in the form of pastrami and rye sandwiches).

  • 17 DBreezy // Apr 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Foreveris,

    No argument from me on their performance! It was kind of disturbing reading the Bright Side article as they touted Marshall and Kieff as examples of good rebuilding work. I understand Ty-Sun’s point and objective he’s correct. Thing is though to be successful you can’t fall back on the odds, you have to make some magic happen. There are several GM’s who have done so consistently, unfortunately I fear that Lance and Lon won’t be on that list.

  • 18 foreveris2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Well Ty-Sun, DBreezy and the rest of the gang, at a time when the season nears the end and once again playoffs are not in the Suns forecast, we need something positive to look forward to. Extending Babby wasn’t what I was looking for but we do have a likely top 5 lottery pick and maybe a second lottery pick with help from Utah and or Dallas. It is not a deep draft but with excellent scouting there is help out there that we can use. That is about as diplomatic as I can be under these dire conditions.

  • 19 foreveris2long // Apr 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Of all people helping the Lakers secure a badly needed win, our man Earl Clark is coming to their rescue.

  • 20 Scott // Apr 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    ***********************
    @Goran_Dragic What was the best lesson @shaq taught you?” Be yourself and always pass him the ball:) lol
    ***********************

  • 21 Luka // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Please don’t keep Lance Blanks around, that is all I ask.

  • 22 hawki // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:30 am

    Yale 2 Suns Fans 0

    Final

  • 23 hawki // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:32 am

    Yale Alum > Suns Fans

  • 24 Lon Babby // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:32 am

    I feel we have unfinished business. One lesson in life I’ve always subscribed to is..

    “Always leave things better than you found them.”

    This goes hand in hand with one of my five P’s of success I want to discuss briefly… Pride. Taking pride in the job you do, and seeing it through to the end. That’s the driving force behind extending my tenure here. Taking pride in the finished product with hard work and discipline.

    I ask our fans to take a view from 30,000 feet out and see the big picture.

    Transitions are undoubtedly difficult. As Lance likes to put it we are “cultivating the soil” right now. We hope to reap what we sow at some point. Call the draft picks the sunlight, our cap space the water, and the front office the manure.

  • 25 Rich Anthony, (KJL) // Apr 3, 2013 at 3:45 am

    to all of you saying that the suns have been in a 3-year slide under this management can’t have it both ways. a lot of you are the same ones who wanted PHX to keep Nash together post-amare and make a push. A lot of fans in general wanted this; PHX front office did just that with the free agents that were available to them.

    Really, this is year 1 of the rebuild, not year 3.

    I don’t care what anybody says, (and I don’t particularly like the current FO but I am reserving final judgement until after this off-season), I’m glad this extension took place because now there is stability.

    If they fired babby / blanks after this season, you have a few issues that would prolong a rebuild.

    First, the roster would still be gutted after this season, but with different people in charge come different philosophies. With that comes different coaching staff. With that comes different needs / wants in terms of incoming personnel, so instead of being on year 2 of a rebuild with a structured plan in place, you’re on year ZERO while you build a foundation to take you to year one.

    Job security also allows you to stick with your philosophy instead of reaching for one big lottery ticket. At least now there is a calm in the front office and they can get down to executing their plan, (players and personnel) without the added stress of getting cancelled.

    This season, and most recent off-season were used to cleanse the Nash era and set course on a new direction, (hopefully for us it ends up being a good direction). The young guys are getting the opportunity to develop – something we’ve been begging the Suns to do in previous years, and while these former middle-of-the-first draft picks might not end up as stars, they could be the guts of the team coming off the bench.

    Now we’ve got at least one really high draft pick coming and we’re still fairly flexible in terms of cap room. As i’ve been saying, I’ll wait until after this off-season to fully judge the front office. Hopefully this extension brings them added calm and clarity to execute some of their plans.

  • 26 Azbballfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 4:18 am

    I dont have alot ot add here that hasnt already been said

    Mavericks lost by 20 in a game they needed to win

    Suns fans better hope that Babby and Blanks have some amazing insight into this sport called basketball if they want to rebuild from what has been a 3 year disaster

    not rebuilding when stoudemire came along and instead sticking the team with role players with expensive deals didnt help

    insulting o.j. mayo with a bad contract offer didnt help

    then they go out and have basically the 2nd worst season in franchise history.

    does Sarver understand that gutting the teams front office and current team is better long term than whatever plan babby and blanks have put together?

    so far their plan is to draft poorly, sign free agents poorly, and now he expects them to magically get it right on the franchises’ best draft position since what Armen Gilliam 2nd overall in 1987?

    these whole 3 years have been an unintentional rebuild, only because nothing that this front office did worked out

    i cant count the dragic signing because its obvious he should have never been traded in the 1st place

    I bet there plan is to draft the worst lottery pick availible and then go out and give max contracts to people who dont deserve it, thus ensuring the whole rebuild process restarts all over again when the suns improve to be a marginal playoff team and their contracts are extended again

    this ensuring the Suns never get anywhere near the WCF again

    being an 8th seed is not acceptable

    screwing up on what will likely be lotto pick number 4 is not acceptable

    if you want to rebuild you have to do it right

    doing it right would have meant gutting the team and the front office

    i bet the Bobcats make the playoffs before the Suns do

    rediculous move, and i bet Blanks gets extended next so that you can be assured this plan i mentioned will come to fruition

    if the Suns get the #1 overall pick they will probably draft Cody Zeller who will have a decent 12 and 8 type of solid starter career

    bravo sarver! you have done again!

    you successfully turned a WCF team into a laughing stock!

    I cant wait to see what mediocre free agents we get this summer!

  • 27 Luka // Apr 3, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I think it may be time to start an “Occupy Suns” movement.

  • 28 azbballfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 6:00 am

    oops i noticed some spelling errors in my last post, oh well

    yeah i wonder how many fans are going to show up at the last home game of the season april 15th against Houston?

    Hopefully Blanks and Babby learned from their mistakes the past few drafts and get someone thats an impact player

    we have a team full of roleplayers and one good point guard, we dont need possibley 4 draft picks worth of career backups to add to that

    i may be angry now, but all will be forgiven if the Suns draft well

    How likely is that i have no idea

    the babby/blanks team makes it conveniently difficult to know just exactly what is the thought process when a move is made and who is to blame when something, say the whole season, goes wrong

    i think we play the Clippers Wensday night

    thats another loss unless chris paul forgets how to pass and blake griffin forgets how to dunk

    hopefully we can look competitive for a half

    The Suns are going to have to have the best draft in team history and have every free agent signing go lights out if they are gonna be any better than this year

    i just want lottery picks to pan out and not be career backups is that so hard?

    i am going to laugh if the Lakers miss the playoffs with 8 of their last 10 being at home

  • 29 Tom Leander // Apr 3, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I’m impotent.

  • 30 mileHighfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

    “Considering he was only brought on as a player development coordinator toward the end of last season, the jump to the interim coaching position is a pretty solid indicator that Blanks and Babby see him as more than a short-term coach to take on the burden of a struggling team”
    So who sees Blanks and Babby as the real burden of recent struggles?

    Wow, locked in thru 2014-2015? Thats like eternity in Suns forum yrs. Sad face.

  • 31 mileHighfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 9:17 am

    “I bet there plan is to draft the worst lottery pick availible and then go out and give max contracts to people who dont deserve it…”
    Enter Britney Griner. Theres more man/game in her than the three-headed monster combined :)

  • 32 mileHighfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 9:20 am

    “Transitions are undoubtedly difficult. As Lance likes to put it we are “cultivating the soil” right now.”

    Perhaps you meant ‘soiling the cultivation’.

  • 33 mileHighfan // Apr 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

    “Barkley cannot become GM, bc if he does, his egglant shoe sales will plummet. Besides, he is out of range of Sarver’s salary structure, (even assuming he would take lots of his pay in the form of pastrami and rye sandwiches).”

    Mr Bill,

    Charles has drafted exceptionally well in the Rising Stars challenge the past 2 yrs, isnt he 2-0 as GM?

    Thats more than enough credentials I say!

  • 34 Tony // Apr 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    @Rich,

    I did not know you could write such a long posting that amounts to nothing but dribble. And what is up with your constant criticism of Nash??!! Are you racist or something?

    By the way, stability is not equivalent to success. A stupid person can be stable, but that doesn’t make him smart. So, sure the Suns FO is more stable with Babby th3re; but at what cost? Contrary to what you said, this is year three of the Suns rebuilding process, with Blabby Babby at the helm. Last time I checked, the best evidence for success at managing a team is the team’s record. Under Babby’s “leadership,” the Suns have regressed from WCFs to the worst team n the western conference and third or fourth worst in the entire league.

    In sum, sure you want stability in a front office; but more first and more importantly, you want to be certain that you have the most capable people running the front office before you stay with them. It is this basic principle of management that Sarver has failed to understand.

  • 35 john // Apr 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    @Tony

    Dribble, when used as a noun, doesn’t mean what you think it means. I think the word you’re searching for is “drivel,” which means, “childish, silly, or meaningless talk.” We’re in basketball mode though, so that’s understandable.

    And either way, I’m not sure why you thought it was necessary to reply so late in the game just to insult someone pointlessly (and incorrectly, I might add). Most mothers teach their kids at a very young age, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

    Be happy, and cheers.

  • 36 DBreezy // Apr 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Foreveris,

    No need to be diplomatic, it is what is. I want to see more reasons for hope, but there aren’t many right now. My guess that it could be up to five more seasons before they’re on the upswing again has to do with more than just Lon and Lance. The state of the draft in the one and done era, the realities of the new cba and the time they take to filter in, and the Suns history when it comes to landing truly marquee free agents all play in IMO. It’s extremely tough to rebuild IMO if you don’t receive any tangible assets from the good players you had previously. And yes, subpar management makes it harder! Tough times, pull up a drink.

  • 37 Lance Blanks leaves the Phoenix Suns // Apr 22, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    [...] his current contract, is gone before getting to see his product through. Because of Babby’s contract extension earlier this month being staggered next to the end of Blanks’ deal, hints were thrown about that the duo [...]

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