The big news from the Phoenix Suns came as a surprise and was somewhat lost in the flurry of news between Opening Day for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Arizona Cardinals trading for Carson Palmer and the Phoenix Coyotes and the NHL Trade deadline.
The Suns extended team president Lon Babby, giving him a two-year contract extension.
On the surface, it seems like a surprising decision given Babby's track record since joining the Suns. Babby has overseen the deconstruction of the Suns, taking a team that advanced to the Western Conference finals during the 2009-2010 season to a team that now has the worst record in the Western Conference.
Most of the personnel decisions have backfired from the beginning of Babby's tenure. Being a very successful player agent hasn't translated to being a great team president for Babby.
Part of the timing of Babby's extension might simply be owner Robert Sarver wanting to give the overall impression of having confidence in Babby and his plan for the organization. Allowing Babby to twist in the wind would have probably have sent the wrong message and created more questions then answers.
What does this mean for the Suns moving forward? That's the big question. Suns' general manager Lance Blanks has one year remaining on his deal while head coach Lindsey Hunter carries the interim tag.
The results for both Blanks and Hunter have been mixed. If the Steve Nash trade didn't look like it might turn out to be in the Suns favor, I think it is likely that Blanks would be replaced at the end of the season.
Hunter currently stands at 10-24 and hasn't had any more success then former coach Alvin Gentry. Hunter and Gentry's records put a lot of the onus on the roster that Blanks has put together, something that I wrote about here.
If Babby holds on to both Blanks and Hunter for another season and the team finishes at the bottom of the NBA standings again, it is highly unlikely that Babby will have the ability to hire another general manager and another head coach given his track record.
Ultimately, this two-year extension for Babby is in reality more like a one-year deal with his fate tied to that of Blanks and Hunter. The Suns will need to show improvement next season for any of the three to be back for the 2014-2015 season.
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