Babby on the GM hunt; Hunter remains coaching candidate

Posted by on April 24th, 6:00 am

Lon Babby wasn’t ducking the truth on Tuesday when he met with the media to discuss the decision by the franchise to part ways with general manager Lance Blanks. That only means the pressure is all on choosing the right replacement.

“I don’t for one minute absolve myself from the responsibilities and decisions that we’ve made,” the remaining member of the Suns front office said to the media present. “It’s my responsibility, ultimately. I don’t want anybody to misconceive what’s happened here as me pointing the finger or scapegoating (Blanks).”

“We’ve got to do things this in this offseason that begin to build trust and confidence that we’re headed in the right direction,” he added. “I can’t put a finer point on it than that.”

The next Suns general manager doesn’t need to hold general manager experience per se, but Babby said he expects the person to have front office experience.

That presumably puts the Grant Hill rumors partially to rest. Hill would be a non-traditional hire, obviously, but another hurdle to get over is the no-too-smooth parting of the Suns and Hill as a player this offseason. And considering Hill is looking like he’ll ride deep into the postseason with the Los Angeles Clippers, waiting around to speak with him doesn’t bode well with Babby’ push to have a sense of urgency as the draft approaches.

“I think the person just has to be a first-rate talent evaluator,” Babby said as he expects to replace Blanks with someone of a similar role. “… I can’t imagine a circumstance where first-rate talent evaluator hasn’t worked in a front office. I suppose it’s theoretically possible.”

Babby wouldn’t reveal even the length of his candidate list. But he did start the press conference by saying the franchise wanted to remain “respectful of the past.”

“I want to make sure that we acknowledge the tremendous success this organization has had,” Babby said, “be respectful to the people who played here, to the people who coached here and most importantly to the employees that have been here many, many years.”

Hunter still a coaching candidate

Now in limbo and without Blanks’ backing, interim coach Lindsey Hunter’s status is up in the air. He apparently is still in consideration, and Babby listed him as the only public candidate for the eventual permanent tag.

“Lindsey knows he’s very much a candidate for the job,” Babby said.

Babby added the Suns will in all likelihood fill the general manager position before a coach is named.

The summer of analytics

Babby on the goals for the summer from the organization’s standpoint: “I’ve sort of said to our staff that this summer is the summer of analytics. Last summer was really the summer of upgrading our medical facilities, training facilities.”

The beginning of a rebuild?

One potentially concerning part of Babby’s press conference was his repeated statement about this season being the first of a rebuilding process. The point came about twice, and it shouldn’t be that comforting for Suns fans considering many in the industry – including ESPN’s Chad Ford and John Hollinger in their futures rankings – saw this coming from a mile away.

“I think going into the season we expected to be better than we were,” Babby said. “I think at some point during the season, probably about midway through, we were prepared and did embrace where we were.”

Quotable

Babby on Charles Barkley as a potential GM candidate: “I’ll consider anybody and I don’t want to get into candidates. I think the job requires rowing the boat every single day. And it’s an all-consuming job. And my impression is he has a pretty full and good life and taking on a challenge like this might not be something he wants if he knew what it entailed, but I don’t want to go beyond that.”

Quotes from Babby’s presser via Suns.com

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: Lance Blanks · Lindsey Hunter · Lon Babby · Phoenix Suns News

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DBreezy // Apr 24, 2013 at 6:49 am

    @Scott,

    From the other thread,here’s an article about the Celtic’s Ryan McDonough.

    http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2013/3/27/4149404/botson-celtics-gm-ryan-mcdonough-profile

  • 2 Forever is2long // Apr 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    DBreezy, great material. Thanks. He is exactly the type of GM talent the Suns need. Talent evaluators come in all ages, shapes and sizes. This guy has a stable of non lottery players who Boston drafted or traded for who are good NBA players. The Suns need someone like him.

    I am glad Babby acknowledged the buck stopped with him on the moves by Blanks. I think Babby was wrong for either trusting Blanks too much or not overriding some of his moves, all to the detriment of the franchise.

    With emphasis being placed on a talent evaluator, gives the appearance they are unhappy with the last two drafts, to say the least.

    This may have been the 1st rebuild summer but if it was the Suns should be ashamed considering how Nash and Hill were past their prime and they had no young potential allstars. They failed miserably in deferring the rebuild process. IMO this front office has been a colossal failure during the past 3 years.

  • 3 Scott // Apr 24, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Articles tend to be flattering of their subjects, but Ryan McDonough did come off good, with particularly high praise from Rivers, and the anecdotes were insightful. Also, it sounds like McDonough can speak without sounding crazy or abrasive, which already puts him ahead of Blanks.

    So I would have to say, based on that article, that McDonough already sounds better than any of the candidates from the previous GM search.

  • 4 Scott // Apr 24, 2013 at 10:12 am

    @forever -

    Actually, isn’t it more appropriate to say (something along the lines of) that the last good draft by the Suns (using their own pick) was Amare, and the last good FA signing was Raja Bell? Since then, the Suns have been dragging along.

    The Suns have been weak at the top, unable to figure out what they wanted and to go get it. They struggled to get big men, they struggled to get point guards, and so on, while there were good players available out there.

    IMO, when Sarver bought the Suns the Suns already needed an upgrade at GM, because Bryan Colangelo was only average or slightly below average.

    Probably Colangelo should have been replaced with Griffin, as some people at the time suggested.

  • 5 Scott // Apr 24, 2013 at 10:19 am

    (Not that I’m all that impressed with the moves the Cavs have made, by the way. I’m not saying David Griffin would have been the mastermind the Suns really needed, but he might have been better than who they had.)

  • 6 Forever is2long // Apr 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Scott, Yep I go say a lot of what you just said. Absolutely I think Griffin would have been better than Blanks but then again I think Stevie Wonder would have been better than Blanks.I think Blanks was the worst GM I had ever seen or heard of.

  • 7 Azbballfan // Apr 24, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Yeah i mean this really should have been year 3 of the rebuild, but oh well

    The Suns need to focus on the right stuff here, and i think trying a quick rebuild with cut and paste job by signing a couple of middling free agents this summer would be a disaster

    Most fans dont really care about JUST making the 7th or 8th seed of the playoffs

    no team lower than 6th has ever won it all and exactly one team has ever gone to the finals as an 8th seed

    we need a patient, careful rebuild so that we dont end up in this same spot 3 years from now, wanting to gut the team and fire people out of cannons and what not

    We need to a GM and coach with either a proven track record or someone with such amazing credibility that they can gloss over mistakes and learn from them while still keeping the job

  • 8 serpalouis // Apr 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    First off, we keep the lean (Dragic, brown, dudley, gortat, haddadi, w. johnson, markieff.m, O’ Neal, scola, tucker, dump the rest, get a g.m. worth a damn, and a coach, Being a life long suns fan, and I watch damn near every game, and my money is on Mr. E.J. himself Eddie Johnson, this man knows his stuff, and was no joke on the court either. There are only a handful of people who call a game and know what they are talking about, and a few come to mind, like Marc Jackson(now a winning head coach), Steve Kerr(our fromer G.M. during the M.V.Steve years) and E.J., just to new a few. The big three on T.N.T(shaq,kenny, and sir charles)they aren’t coach mateial. Stay away from the van gundy’s(both), maybe Avery Johnson, hell if Phil jackson would take our phone call would be a win. Now as for G.M.’s now hear me out on this one, Alvin Gentry, He knows talent, he know’s what it take to win, and he’s been at so many stop already, he’s built up friendships and knows almost everybody in the nba and he knows our team. And we fucked him good, he deserved the whole year to get this team fired up. And they only fired him as a scapegoat, and as hunter show us, they weren’t going to play for anybody this year. and we owe Alvin, he took over porter and lead us almost to the finals.

  • 9 Scott // Apr 24, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    I agree it would be a bad plan to try to scramble and get back into the playoffs next year. What I’d rather see is the acquisition of young guys with potential, followed by another summer of gathering one or two pieces, maybe someone like Jabari Parker. Then, after a double scoop in the high lottery, try to make some noise in the playoffs.

  • 10 DBreezy // Apr 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    What I liked about the McDonough article is that there’s meat on dem bones. He has been a part of a front office that has gotten solid results and he’s been a part of those decisions. Like Blanks, it seems like some of these guys haven’t even put drugs on the table so to speak. That was a problem with Blanks and a hang up I have with the Wilcox guy who was also with Ferry in CLE and now ATL.

    I think the article also illustrates something Babby is going to have to come to grips with a bit. Most of these new age guys tend to be very quiet publicly, not as bad as Blanks, but I wouldn’t be expecting these guys to fill the PR role externally that the team seems to be hoping for. That may have to be a separate hire of a guy like Hill later on to fill some sort of role. I thnk Babby is gonna have to remain out front as I don’t think these guys will be like Riley, Ainge, or Kupchak in the visibility department.

    I suppose there should/will be focus on guys like McDonough for another reason. They’ve been a part of successful teams, but those teams will likely be done in the first round meaning they’re availability should be good. As opposed to chasing guys like Weaver or Lindsey who might not be available to June if they can even get them.

  • 11 Scott // Apr 24, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    From what little I know of it, Ryan McDonough sounds like a fine guy for the job. So many other guys don’t sound like they’d be anywhere near as good.

    It’s a bit like drafting a player, in that you need to seriously evaluate these guys, but everything they do is behind the scenes and in conjunction with other people … so it’s complicated.

  • 12 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Ya gotta love Barkley’s radio interview about the Suns GM position.

  • 13 Forever is2long // Apr 25, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Dbreezy you have to share as I did not hear it. Thanks

  • 14 Forever is2long // Apr 25, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Hunter may not be a good coach but he knows danger signs when he sees them. If reports are accurate he has contacted Pistons about work, it is a wise move with Blanks, his biggest sponsor, becoming unemployed.

  • 15 Forever is2long // Apr 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Ok Dbreezy I just read some pretty good quotes from the interview. I think Bill Simmons comments about Barkley becoming a GM for the Suns were pretty good as well when he essentially questioned why Barkley would leave an NBA job to work 4 years for Sarver. Good question.

    I agree with Barkley that anyone would be better than Blanks but I think there are better potential candidates than Barkley. Some owner with a backbone will give him a chance one day and I think he will do okay and might even be good.

    Generally speaking I think over achieving people in NBA circles are better coaches and executives than the former superstars because I think they pay closer attention to detail. Bird was probably one of the better ones as he seemed to have a great work ethic and did not rely solely on instinct. While Blanks would be classified as an overachiever, he seems to have lacked that needed skill to appreciate NBA talent.

    I doubt Sarver and Barkley would ever work as I could see Barkley threatening Sarver with severe bodily harm with some of the moves Sarver proposed or opposed. However it would be fun watching.

  • 16 bill.thomas // Apr 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I’m guessing Lance has a wife and two kids. Four people voted in the poll that the Suns shouldn’t have let him go, this Summer he would have turned things around.

  • 17 john // Apr 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

    @bill.thomas

    Nice. I hadn’t noticed that poll yet. That’s hilarious.

  • 18 Scott // Apr 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Re: the Barkley interview, you can see that Barkley is chafing at the routine of his current job and is looking for a new challenge. As he said, “For me personally, I need another challenge and that challenge is running an NBA team.”

    Bob Young on AZCentral makes a big deal out of Barkley having to answer to Babby and Sarver, but I don’t think that’s how it would go at all. Babby, I believe, would be content to write the contracts and let Barkley talk to the press, and Sarver would be content to sit back and watch.

    Keep in mind that this is what these guys wanted to do with Blanks as GM, and he was horrible. They wanted to be hands off.

  • 19 Scott // Apr 25, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    BTW, the NBA draft entry deadline comes up on the 28th (Sunday), so by Monday at the latest we’ll know if Isaiah Austin, Shane Larkin, and Adreian Payne are going to be in the draft.

  • 20 Grover // Apr 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    You know, I like and respect Babby as a person. He says all the right things, knows how things will come across, and when you hear him accept responsibility and not use Blanks as a scapegoat you know he’s got character and professionalism.

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t know basketball… Which is kind of an important part of running a basketball team. While he says all the right things, when you look at the decisions that have been made since he’s been GM it’s difficult to find evidence he can recognize talent or figure out how pieces fit together. Even if you claim his job isn’t to evaluate players – that was Blanks – it was his responsibility to evaluate Blanks and that was a clear miss.

    So… I like Babby. I’d love to go have a beer with him and I hope he has a happy, succesful life. As a person I want nothing but the best or him. I just wish he were running the Lakers and not the Suns.

  • 21 Ty-Sun // Apr 25, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    After an agonizing season it looks like an agonizing beginning of the off-season for Suns fans.

    Just a quick look at the poll can tell you that only a few fans aren’t happy at the firing of Blanks and I doubt that many of us thinks that bodes well for Hunter’s future as head coach of the Suns either.

    What are the Suns going to do next? That’s the agonizing part because I doubt any of our questions are going to be answered before the end of the playoffs. Many of the better candidates for the head coaching spot are assistant coaches for teams still in the playoffs so even talking to them about taking over the Suns probably won’t be possible until after their present teams are eliminated. And Babby has indicated that the Suns want a new GM in place before they address the head coaching question. That also might have to wait until after the playoffs unless the Suns are willing to hire someone not presently working for a team that is in the playoffs. Even if they hire someone before then, they will probably still have to rely on Treloar and the present scouting department during the draft.

    The agonizing part for Suns fans is going to be the wait. We all speculate and have our ideas as to who the Suns should hire but it just will not happen quickly.

    And we should be glad IF it doesn’t happen too quickly. Quick choices aren’t always thoughtful choices. Charles Barkley has been brought up as a possible choice as GM and that might please a lot of fans but there is virtually no evidence that Sir Charles would be a successful NBA GM. The same goes for Grant Hill.

    The Suns are at a critical point. A knee-jerk reaction in choosing either a new GM or a new head coach could be a disaster for the future of the franchise. Who either of those two should be is beyond me but I do know that the Suns need to take their time and do their best to get it right this time.

  • 22 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    @ Foreveris,

    Until the last two years I agree wholeheartedly about Sarver and Barkley getting along, even though Sarver desperately needs something more than a yes man in his front office. However Sarver has largely stayed out of the spotlight the last two years really only meddling when it came to Dragic and Scola which were actually positive moves from a personnel standpoint(yes I know you can argue Scola from a big picture standpoint). I think Barkley would be fine working with Babby in some sort of collaborative role like what Penn did with Pritchard in POR, but I can’t see him answering to Lon though.

    Also while I agree with your basic premise about stars in management positions, I actually think Chuck would do just fine with the right opportunity. He does play up the shtick on how he relates things in TNT, but he does know the game pretty well. I’ll always remember when Magic was on the set and they were talking about the former star thing in relation to Jordan in particular, and Magic said that Chuck was probably the best basketball mind of all them. He said just don’t put him on the bench though, because he’d probably kill a player or two! I also remember a couple of years ago when Chuck and Kenny started doing NCAA coverage and Greg Anthony really tries to ride Charles about his knowledge and prep. Funny thing was that more of Chuck’s picks won and for the reasons that he said they would. When you see them in coverage now, it’s a different relationship.

    Like Charles himself admits, he’d need help with detailed scouting and contract stuff, but my bet is that he’d make pretty solid decisions overall. That same willingness to make fun of himself constantly would probably help him have the humility to listen/work with others when need be unlike say a Jordan. He’s much quieter about it, but Bird is kind of the same way and I suspect that’s helped him be pretty successful in his front office career as well. Chuck isn’t coming here, but eventually he should get a try somewhere else.

  • 23 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    @Ty-Sun,

    The most agonizing thing to me isn’t the wait, it’s the current perception of the franchise. It’s the big fat silent elephant in the room. I’ll even go so far as to say this: Lon Babby might be one of the best minds generically (not basketball wise) the Suns have brought in during the Sarver era, but it’s hard to imagine him overcoming the negative perception this franchise has at the moment.

    Notice how there are rumors and rumblings about all of the vacancies so far, except the Suns? The only rumor we get is that our coach wants to interview in Detroit and I had to laugh to myself when I saw it because I found that news mildly disturbing despite Hunter’s poor performance. Why? Because while I have little doubt that Babby will conduct an extensive and quality search for both the GM and coaching position, I have great doubt as to whether any of the best candidates will accept the jobs. I don’t want to end up Blanks 2.0-some no name exec that an organization is more than willing to say bye-bye to.

    Remember Blanks was passed over for promotion by Gilbert when Ferry was fired for Chris Grant who then brought in Griffin instead of promoting Blanks. I also think current Suns GM candidate Wes Wilcox moved up in that org before Blanks, before ultimately following Ferry to ATL. Sure these are desirable jobs as JVG says, but there are also undesirable people for them. I also don’t want to end up with an even bigger coaching disaster than what the Suns have now. They could end up with some college coach who is a bad fit or some retread who’s been out of sight and out of mind for awhile and desperate to get back in, but is a poor fit for a rebuilding team. A Mike Dunleavy Sr type.

    IMO so much of that hinges on the current rep of the team. John may be right that a lot of bigger names would come if they paid them 10M per season, but that isn’t and quite frankly shouldn’t happen. I also think it would be easier if the Suns were holding a top pick in a stronger draft like next years purports to be. However that isn’t the case and I fear not the agony of waiting so long to find out who the new GM and coach could be, but who they end up with and the decisions/non-decisions that will be made during the wait to find out who’s in charge.

  • 24 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I also see Blanks is actually firing some live ammo now, claiming that he had little to do with Alvin’s firing and hat he warned Babby about signing Beasley to a long deal with guaranteed money. The Suns may not be talented on the court, but they are good at making news for the wrong reasons!

  • 25 john // Apr 25, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    That’s why I have no respect for employees/former employees who talk negatively about their work environments, even if it’s anonymously. The Suns seem to have a lot of that.

  • 26 foreveris2long // Apr 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Yeah DBreezy, Barkley will at a minimum be an average GM for someone one day. I think the Suns are looking for a conservative work at home studying scouting films around the clock, Barkley on the other hand might be watching NCAA gamess at the strip bar. While I think I could enjoy the drama between Barkley, Babby and possibly Sarver for at least 2 years until he would be charged for assault and battery for hitting one of his colleagues, the risk is probably too great for the Suns risk tolerance today.

    Where they find someone to walk into this mess, I don’t know.
    Gotta go will chat with you guys on this drama a little later.

  • 27 Ty-Sun // Apr 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    @DBreezy – I completely understand your points but mine was that for many fans the agony STARTS without any clear direction for the future. The agony may certainly continue depending on who the Suns choose for the GM and head coach positions. As for the “current perception of the franchise”, that too is part of the waiting. That perception will persist at least until the Suns have a new GM and head coach in place. I just don’t want the Suns to try and fill them too quickly and/or with people like Barkley, Hill or Majerle just to appease fans.

    The Suns have virtually no chance of bringing in a big name coach without grossly overpaying him. But the best thing for the Suns would be to bring in a coach with a reputation for teaching and developing young players. Unless Sarver is willing to shell out big bucks to lure away an already successful GM from another team, anyone they choose as the new GM will be little more than a roll of the dice.

    Yes, the Suns don’t have a good rep in the NBA right now and that hurts in the search for a new GM and head coach. The GM search should be most important for the Suns right now and probably the Suns shouldn’t worry about a new head coach until after the draft and the playoffs.

    But all I was really was talking about in my previous post was the agony of the fans who have to wait to find out WTF the Suns are going to do and which direction they will take going into the future. I’m fine with living with that uncertainty because I hope they ultimately make good choices. They might not but I think that, the longer they take to make those choices, the better they could be.

  • 28 Tony // Apr 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    @DBreezy,

    Terrific insights from you! If only certain other VOTS’ commentators could have your perspective and understanding of basketball…., instead of always defending Sarver or Babby! Regarding Gentry’s firing, I have no doubt that it was a decision made not just by Lance Blanks, but also Sarver and Babby. Blanks was never truly given the authority or autonomy to make critical decisions. That’s why he was commonly regarded as simply a glorified scout.

    Now folks, let’s put this silly Barkley as the Suns next GM rumor to bed. There’s no way he’s going to be the team’s next GM. First of all, I’m sure he would demand a pricey contract. Can anyone reasonably imagine, (other than the resident VOTS’ dummy), that Sarver would comply with such a demand? Furthermore, the FO-structure set up by Sarver would have to be dramatically overhauled. In particular, Babby’s power and influence would also have to be seriously reduced.

    Secondly, from Barkley’s perspective, becoming the GM of such an incompetent franchise could just as easily crush whatever favorable legacy he has. I’m sure protecting his reputation and legacy are important considerations for him.

    Lastly, I’m not so sure if Barkley is even the right guy for the job. Sure, just his presence will excite many frustrated Suns fans, but judging by his TNT basketball analyses and considering all his years spent in the NBA, his knowledge of the game is far less impressive than it should be. The majority of the time it doesn’t appear that he’s really paying attention to the games being played. Instead, he typically refers back to his preconceived notions about the character or capacity of the respective NBA teams playing, and uses that as a template for his analysis.

    Nevertheless, it’s silly to speculate because there’s so little chance Barkley, or Hill for that matter, will be the Suns next GM. More than likely, Sarver and Babby will hire another unknown and unproven person, who will likely be little more than another “yes-man,” that is, easy to manipulate.

    Regarding Babby’s recent comments about this summer being the “summer of analytics,” am I the only one bothered by his description of the Suns upcoming off-season? When I hear talk of using computers as the primary tool to roster development, that’s typically an indirect way of saying the organization is not going to spend money bringing in top talent. Instead, it generally indicates that an organization is going to recruit and hire the least expensive players they can find.

    That’s not to say they shouldn’t use computers to gauge probabilities and provide some guide as to players’ performances, but it shouldn’t be the main tool used. Instead, it should just be a supplement to traditional scouting and recruiting methods.

  • 29 john // Apr 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    @DBreezy

    You should be proud to receive such high praise from the resident VotS genius. :)

  • 30 Scott // Apr 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I would not mind Barkley becoming Suns GM. I think he’d make good choices, and critics, fans and vets would love to see it unfold. I don’t think he’d stay in the GM spot for more than 2 years, because by that time I think he’d figure he’d got the job done, and he would want to stop irritating the hell out of his coach (Majerle) in order to preserve their friendship.

    I also like candidate Ryan McDonough. While I’m not confident in his ability to assemble a working team, I think he can assess talent.

  • 31 Scott // Apr 25, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Heck, if the Suns did it right, they could hire Ryan (or someone similar) as an assistant for Barkley, so they’d have someone ready to step in when Barkley decides he’s done.

    For that matter, if the person they pick to assist Barkley has enough smarts, he could probably learn enough about contracts from Babby that in two years he could take over as full GM.

  • 32 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    @Foreveris,

    I hear ya about Chuck watching scouting film in a bar, somehow I could see Ainge right there with him if you’ve ever seen the two together. I’m sure Majerle as coach would be there too!

    @Tony,

    I don’t mind the analytical thing as long as there’s balance in the voices in the office. One thing that seems clear to me for the Suns relative to other organizations in all off this, is that they don’t have much of a foundational pipeline for future front office talent. Whereas a lot of other teams seem to have tons of up and coming potential execs, the Suns have had to consistently look outside of the organization because they didn’t effectively replace any of the people that BC and crew had in various positions like Griffin, Del Negro, Quinter, and Chapman for example. What ever happened to that Coach Nenad guy they hired a few years back? The cupboard is bare and we’re likely to go there again as it stands to reason that Treloar and crew will last only as long as the new GM takes to install his team. So they need everything including analytical IMO.

    @Ty-Sun,

    I hear you on your points, that’s why I said my things were what was most annoying to me personally. While Babby could hit back to back homers with his GM and coaching choices, if you forced me to put money on it I’d say that something else will ultimately change the league’s perception of the franchise. Either they will get a top two pick in a transcendent draft like next year’s could be which will automatically draw people, or Sarver will be forced to go to a traditional front office in two years when Babby’s deal is up making more candidates will to come here. It’s not Babby’s fault the front office is setup like this, but it is his burden.

  • 33 Scott // Apr 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    @DBreezy -

    Agreed that the Suns under Sarver are still searching for their operational foundation. They need to get that properly set … with quality people … so they can have continuity.

    So far, though, there hasn’t been any real quality to build around, so far as I can see, aside from maybe the move from D’Antoni (through Porter) to Gentry. And I don’t think Gentry was all that good, nor D’Antoni. (In both cases, it was Nash who made the team work.)

  • 34 DBreezy // Apr 25, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    @Scott,

    I actually think D’Antoni and Kerr could have worked together for this organization, but it was setup wrong from the top and both had flaws they needed to get over. They could have rebuilt this team starting in the summer of 08, but alas. Nash and Amare covered too many things organizationally.

  • 35 Tony // Apr 26, 2013 at 10:16 am

    @Dbreezy,

    Sure the Suns could have begun rebuilding in 2008, but I don’t disagree with Sarver for not doing so. In retrospect, besides forcing Brian Colangelo out as GM, one of Sarver’s early mistakes was hiring Kerr as GM.

    In addition to preferring to hire his FO staff to the lowest reasonable contracts, he also has consistently demonstrated a pattern of hiring inexperienced people. For instance, when Sarver hired Kerr as GM, Kerr has no GM experience and he made several early mistakes that caused the Suns to suffer in the short-term. However, to Kerr’s credit, he recognized his mistakes and corrected them. But the damage was already done at that point.

    In other news, I just stumbled across the transcript of Barkley’s comments in his radio interview the other day, and it was refreshing to read such candid honesty about the Suns FO, in contrast to Lon Babby. However, I don’t think Barkley made his case to Sarver or Babby. To the contrary, his remarks probably made it even less likely they hire him.

    However, if Sarver has any shred of humility and intelligence, he could use Barkley’s comments as a springboard for regaining the public’s trust. In particular, hiring Barkley after his recent comments will show that Sarver accepts some blame for the Suns situation and that he’s willing to go to great lengths to make this a winning franchise, including hiring someone who just lambasted him. At a much smaller scale, it’s similar to the strategy President Obama used in his first term; that is, offering Hilary Clinton a prominent position as Secretary of State.

  • 36 DBreezy // Apr 26, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    @Tony,

    There’s a certain amount of practicality in my comments above on D’Antoni and Kerr. Obviously I don’t run the team, pay the bills, or carry the burden of the reputation that several of this franchise’s moves have created. So I’m basically like NBA 2K13 and could hire and sign whomever I want! Sarver can’t however, but he could have done better with the best of what he had IMO.

    Kerr was a neophyte GM, who made a lot of mistakes because of it along with Dave Griffin who was really the GM when D’Antoni held the title. That said he has a good overall rapport with fans, players and most of the staff and he seemed to learn enough from his mistakes that I think he would have been ok over time.

    His relationship with D’Antoni was flawed from the start and I think Sarver had a lot to do with that. Sarver brought Kerr on in his head to ‘fix’ what D’Antoni had done rather than to work with him on getting the Suns a chip. That affected the way Kerr approached things with D’Antoni and how D’Antoni reacted to them. You could see it from the start and I remember blogging back and forth with Coro about in the summer of 2007 where he insisted there was no friction. We learned later that there was friction between Kerr’s crew and the D’Antomi brothers reminiscent of Gentry/Hunter/Blanks.

    This is a bit of hindsight because in 2007-2008, I really didn’t understand what the league perception of working for Sarver was and figured the Suns could at least get Doug Collins if they fired Mike D. That said, Sarver probably should have given D’Antoni an extension simultaneously with hiring Kerr. If D’Antomi trusts Kerr and his job, he likely doesn’t resist Tibs or someone else as defensive coordinator. More importantly, I think those two would have been more valuable around the league during the inevitable rebuild than what the Suns have or probably will get after this search.

    My 2008 rebuild comments were also hinting at some salary cap roster issues coming into the 2007-2008 season. Marion wasn’t going to get an extension, but he still held value as a player and expiring deal for the Suns to add some parts with. Nash and Bell would be off the books after the following season as well giving them value too. I believe that was the year after LB won 6th man so his value was still high. I wasn’t saying move all of those guys back then, but there was enough to be able retool on the fly ahead of the 2010 season where everyone knew there was a chance of big things.

    Amazingly, Sarver had no real plan to keep anyone around outside of Nash-and this was before Stat’s eye injury when he was tearing things up. They’ve missed the playoffs 4 out of 5 seasons since that summer of 2008 and a lot of quality people have steered clear of this place in that time. 2008 was probably the time to move, WCF appearance a year later aside because this is a nasty hole they’re staring into.

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