Initially I planned on writing this article to praise Phoenix Suns team president Lon Babby on his decision to fire general manager Lance Blanks. It was a move that needed to happen, but something that I was unsure Babby would do given his relationship with Blanks.
Babby talked about the Blanks firing in much the same way the team tried to discuss the decision to part ways with Alvin Gentry. If you are going to be the president of an NBA team, you are going to have to get your hands dirty from time to time. It is OK to say that you fired someone—it might actually give the Phoenix fan base a sense of relief knowing that management understands the Suns need to become better.
Babby, to his credit, was quick to say that he deserved part of the blame. Speaking on the Doug and Wolf show on Arizona Sports 620, Babby said "I don't think it's appropriate for me to not accept my share of responsibility, I'm ultimately responsible, I'm the president of basketball operations and I think I have to accept that responsibility and learn from it."
Which begs the question: Why does Babby receive a two-year contract extension while Blanks is fired with one-year remaining on his contract? Don't get me wrong—I believe that Blanks needed to go, but nothing has happened in Babby's tenure as team president to make me think he is the right person to right the Suns' ship.
The other concerning thing that came out of Babby's conversations with the media was Babby stating that he is looking to hire a "first-rate talent evaluator" for the general manager position while also making it sound like he was going to be directly involved in running that side of the operation.
Babby is not a general manager, nor is he someone to evaluate players. Any truly qualified candidate is going to hear Babby talk about the Suns' management structure and pass on the already dysfunctional position. The Suns need to bring in someone to be general manager and let them run that side of basketball operations.
The other concerning thing about Babby's press conference was that he stated that Lindsey Hunter is still a candidate for the permanent head coach position. There is nothing that Hunter displayed that would cause you to believe that he is going to develop into a quality NBA coach next season.
Babby has a chance to make a clean break from Blanks and Hunter. He is unlikely to get another opportunity to hire a coach or a general manager, so he needs to make this one count. If the Suns have another 25-57 season next year, Babby will likely be out of a job and the Suns will be starting over from scratch again next year.
Going into such a critical offseason the Suns need to be hiring the most qualified general manager possible instead of limiting their options at the beginning of the search.
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