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.