HoopsHype Lindsey Hunter rumors

February 4, 2013 Updates
February 3, 2013 Updates

I reported a team source saying that if the Suns' players voted, they would've picked Dan Majerle as their choice to succeed Alvin Gentry, not Lindsey Hunter. A second team source doesn't categorically dispute that but said more core players were in favor of Hunter than Majerle. The results since Hunter has taken over supports that. Sulia

January 27, 2013 Updates

New Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter won his first two games, but it’s highly doubtful that Alvin Gentry sent a congratulatory note to his successor. Suns insiders say that Gentry more than once had Hunter removed from practices when Hunter was serving in his role as a first-year player development coordinator. Hunter was regarded as a spy for the front office, which was all but confirmed after the Suns fired Gentry and tabbed Hunter over Gentry’s longtime assistants, Elston Turner and Dan Majerle, each of whom was more deserving for the interim post New York Daily News

January 26, 2013 Updates

Suns insiders say that Gentry more than once had Hunter removed from practices when Hunter was serving in his role as a first-year player development coordinator. Hunter was regarded as a spy for the front office, which was all but confirmed after the Suns fired Gentry and tabbed Hunter over Gentry’s longtime assistants, Elston Turner and Dan Majerle, each of whom was more deserving for the interim post. New York Daily News

January 25, 2013 Updates

"First off, it was clear that he was the right guy based on what I was hearing from the support staff, from players, and others," said Blanks, who - like Babby - joined the Suns after Steve Kerr's abrupt resignation as general manager and the Sarver-led free agency period in 2010 in which Phoenix added the likes of Hakim Warrick (now in Charlotte) and Channing Frye on long-term deals and Amar'e Stoudemire signed in New York. "And the thing that I kept hearing is that they wanted to have the level of accountability, structure, leadership, honesty, someone who was willing to tell them the truth to their face. And they were all saying — as I saw it, and as we saw it in the interview process — they were saying 'Lindsey' without saying 'Lindsey.' "He's a 17-year NBA veteran player. He's been around the business, roughly, about 20 years. He's worked in front offices, he worked for us scouting for little to nothing. He's a workaholic. He gets in the office at 6 in the morning, easy. He's up late at night with the guys getting shots up. …There is a precedent for (this sort of hiring). We've seen other teams recently who have hired young guys who have played who can relate to the players well and who are willing to develop them and challenge them and make them as good as they can be. It just made sense." USA Today Sports

Blanks said there was another Western Conference team that wanted Hunter on its coaching staff as well, so the Suns were relieved when he stayed put. Yet because of the widely-held perception that Hunter had been deemed the heir apparent on the bench going into the season, his presence put unwelcome pressure on the coaching staff. That much was clear in the reaction of the assistants to the Hunter hire, as Majerle has since eviscerated his former bosses publicly and Turner made the decision to leave. USA Today Sports

Both men were interviewed for the job, but Majerle would later claim that the two-day process was a charade. Blanks, however, swears the two-day interview process that led to Hunter's hiring was sincere. "At no time have I or did I talk to Lindsey about being the next coach (before Gentry was gone)," Blanks said. "I just think it was a function of what happened to him last summer with that interview process. We sat there, and we were going down parallel tracks — 'what do we do?' And absolutely it was a process where we go, 'Well we can interview this guy or interview that guy. We can call someone possibly from the outside in.' We went through every possible scenario. "Why would I put myself and the organization and our front office under so much scrutiny if it wasn't a pure decision. Why do that? That's stupid. So at the end of the day, I did what I thought — along with Lon and (director player personnel) John (Treloar) — what we thought was the best decision for the organization. Lindsey Hunter had no idea we were going to interview him until four or five hours before we interviewed him. If you ask me this every day for 20 years, I will tell you the exact same story…because I'm speaking from my heart, so I don't have to make up stuff, or spin it, or anything else. USA Today Sports

When the news broke that Gentry was out in Phoenix, I shared my admiration for Gentry and noted how he seemed to be the fall-guy in what was a complicated and dysfunctional situation. Before long, I was being called "salty" by someone who would turn out to be the father of rookie point guard Kendall Marshall. A back-and-forth ensued, but the eventual revelation was that Kendall Marshall was a big fan of Hunter's and there was some hope that his promotion would improve his situation. Marshall, who was taken 13th overall out of North Carolina, played in just 11 games under Gentry and played more than seven minutes in a game just once. "Lindsey has had confidence in Kendall," Dennis Marshall said via direct message. "He worked him out every day, sometimes twice a day. They seem to get along well." USA Today Sports

But third-year Suns general manager Lance Blanks — who found himself dousing more flames this week after he had a heated argument with veteran Jermaine O'Neal — insists there's a plan in place that will pay off so long as there's some patience. "I feel, actually, great (about the big-picture)," Blanks said in a lengthy phone interview with USA TODAY Sports. "In this business, you can't wiggle your nose and manufacture success, or rub rocks together. You've got to roll up your sleeves and do the things that are necessary to be successful." USA Today Sports

January 24, 2013 Updates

After missing three practices and a road game, Turner and Suns management agreed to part ways with his full salary paid. “The impression that I got was that it may be tough to find a spot for a 16-year veteran with 15 straight years of winning experience,” Turner said Thursday morning. Turner went to a coaches’ meeting Tuesday morning but was told by interim coach Lindsey Hunter that Suns management wanted to speak to him before he took up the offer to return to the staff. “The whole meeting had a dark cloud hanging over it,” Turner said. “It just gave me the impression that roles may change. Instead of viewing me as an asset, it made it seem like they couldn’t use my experience or they would have to try to work me in. The whole tone was negative.” Arizona Republic

January 22, 2013 Updates

When asked how he felt about the coaching change, Gentry gave the impression he wasn't exactly on board with the idea. "Decisions are made that you don't agree with," he said. "They have the right to do that." Gentry said he will use this new-found time off to visit his daughter, visit other teams around the league and visit his friend Larry Brown at Southern Methodist University because, quite simply, he can't stand to just sit around. "I'm going to focus on my next endeavor and the next place that I can possibly be." Arizona's Sports Page

But according to Van Gundy, Gentry should not have been forced to shoulder the blame for the team's recent woes. "I thought he did an outstanding job in Phoenix," said Van Gundy. "I think he's a good coach and a great ambassador for any organization. I think he's exactly the type of man you would want your son to play for and to emulate. "I couldn't speak more highly of a person than Alvin Gentry." Arizona's Sports Page

If Turner and the Suns part ways, the team is expected to look within the organization to fill out Hunter's coaching staff. Corey Gaines, who has WNBA coaching experience and has served as a scout and player development coach for the Suns, is a likely addition to the bench, sources said. CBSSports.com

Tayshaun Prince smiled when asked about Lindsey Hunter. The former Piston was named interim coach of the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, and Prince recalled the vital role Hunter played in 2004 when the Pistons won their last NBA title. The move was surprising because Hunter has no coaching experience. He was promoted from the team's player development area. But Prince said Hunter, whom he called a "player-coach" when he played, has what it takes to succeed. "Obviously taking over a team that's been struggling is going to be difficult," Prince said after the Pistons' victory over the Celtics Sunday. "I'm definitely anxious and excited to see it because I know what type of guy Lindsey is, so I want to see how his plan (works)." Detroit Free Press

January 21, 2013 Updates

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