HoopsHype Lon Babby rumors

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January 25, 2013 Updates

A request to interview the Suns' president of basketball relations, Lon Babby, for this story was rerouted in Blanks' direction. Blanks, to his credit, was more than willing to detail the controversial decision to put Hunter at the helm and address a number of perceptions about the hire. USA Today Sports

January 19, 2013 Updates

On what Babby wanted to see from Gentry that he did not: “I don’t want to get into the details of evaluating what led to the decision. This is not something we planned for. As short as a month ago, Robert Sarver was direct and blunt in saying Alvin would be here for the rest of the year. That was our intent all along. That was a commitment that we had made. But sometimes in this business you get to a point where it just doesn’t feel right and we just reached that point. We met after the game last night. Robert, Alvin and I met long into the night and met again this morning and just felt like it was the right time for each of us to move on. How you get to that point is something that we look at closely and try to learn from but I don’t think it serves anybody’s purpsoe to share all of the details and all of the reason, either from his side or from our side.” Arizona Republic

January 18, 2013 Updates
October 29, 2012 Updates

The Suns went for the gold in trying to negotiate a deal to acquire James Harden from Oklahoma City, but Houston landed the gold medalist Saturday. The Suns have assets of salary-cap space, draft picks (10 in the next three years) and players on good contracts but no offering struck Oklahoma City’s fancy, and the Thunder sought more than Phoenix was willing to give. “We were engaged in discussions on numerous occasions,” Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said. “We most recently met in person when we played them (in Tulsa, Okla., on Oct. 19). At the end of the day, there wasn’t a deal that was workable for both sides.” Arizona Republic

October 23, 2012 Updates

When the Suns faced Oklahoma City on Friday night in Tulsa, Okla., and Thunder guard James Harden was sitting out the game because of a groin strain, the BOK Center’s largest crowd ever (beating George Strait’s record) broke out a “We want James!” chant. There is no truth that Suns executives in attendance — Lon Babby, Lance Blanks and John Treloar — started the chant. But there is no question the Suns want Harden, a former Arizona State star who will be on a track to become a restricted free agent in July if he does not agree to a contract extension by Oct.31. Arizona Republic

If he is a restricted free agent, you could assume that Phoenix and other teams would offer Harden a maximum-level, four-year contract. The bigger question is whether Harden will be allowed to get to that point and whether signing Harden to an offer sheet would be as fruitless as it was for the Suns with Eric Gordon. Harden could accept slightly less than a maximum deal with his preference in Oklahoma City, whose small-market finances would like him to sacrifice money to lessen the more punitive new luxury tax’s impending burden. The Thunder’s maximum-level contracts for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and a four-year, $48million deal for Serge Ibaka make a Harden decision taxing. But with multiple teams sure to come with a maximum offer for Harden, it is hard to see him agreeing to less, especially after how his agent, Rob Pelinka, handled Gordon’s situation. Arizona Republic

October 12, 2012 Updates

Suns president Lon Babby wasn't thrilled about trading Nash to the Lakers, calling it a "basketball decision" that was better than losing Nash for nothing. Phoenix will now have significant salary-cap space next summer, giving them the ability to sign one or two major free agents. "My first reaction was I can't do that," Babby said. "As time went on, [Suns owner] Robert Sarver was really good and said, 'We have to make a basketball decision that's best for our franchise.' " Yahoo! Sports

September 22, 2012 Updates
September 21, 2012 Updates
July 30, 2012 Updates

"The Suns and the Lakers have competed in the same division and conference for a long time," Sarver said. "But I think we're at different stages right now in terms of the two teams. At the end of the day, this just gave us the best option for assets, too, and from a basketball standpoint, if you kind of take the emotion out, it was the best thing for the Suns, for the franchise. I think we've shown in the last couple of years that drafting is one of our strengths, so it kind of played into our strengths. It's one of the things we definitely have to use to move our franchise forward, especially with the new rules with the new CBA." NBA.com

"People ask me whether it was a financial decision," Babby said. "I would say the answer was no. Because we had to get younger. We had to get more athletic. That great era had pretty much run its course, and if Steve was going to stay we would have to have a high-end backup or a borderline starter, because he was going to be 39, then 40." NBA.com

The transaction flurry that has defined the Suns this month has not included a contract extension for head coach Alvin Gentry. And that's not a surprise. We were escorted to the acceptance porch of this reality during Lon Babby's preamble-to-summer press conference back in June. "My view is if a person has a three-year contract, you assess it at the end of three years," the Suns' president of basketball operations said when asked about Gentry's status with the final year of his deal approaching. "That's how I'm going to be judged. I've talked to Alvin, and he's perfectly fine with that, and you know, there are a lot of very successful coaches in the league right now coaching in the final year of their contract. "This notion that you always have to be one year ahead, I don't think it's in his best interest, I don't think it's in our best interest ... but it has absolutely nothing to do with an assessment of his coaching ability or his performance. He understands that. He's our coach." Fox Sports Arizona

July 27, 2012 Updates
July 3, 2012 Updates

"After visiting the Suns, the impression the organization made on me was incredible," Gordon said in a prepared statement. "Mr. Sarver, Lon Babby, Lance Blanks, the front office staff and Coach Gentry run a first-class organization, and I strongly feel they are the right franchise for me. Phoenix is just where my heart is now." Arizona Republic

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