HoopsHype Lon Babby rumors

September 10, 2011 Updates

Suns President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts came to work Friday to tell team employees, many of whom he has worked alongside for nine years, that he is leaving them. Already mired in a league lockout, Suns employees did not need this news about their beloved boss but they helped to ease Welts' anxiousness about the move. As Welts revealed plans to leave by Sept. 15, he was joined in Managing Partner Robert Sarver's office by Sarver, Vice Chairman Sam Garvin, President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby - and good cheer. Arizona Republic

He wanted to shoot down any notion that he was being pushed out the door by the Suns, praising the support he has received from team owner Robert Sarver. "I think amicable is probably an understatement," Welts said of his leaving the franchise. He said both he and Sarver were concerned that some might have a misperception that, because of the timing, the Suns wanted him to leave. "Nothing could be further from the truth," Welts said. "From the time I made my announcement in May, the Suns, and Robert in particular, have been unbelievably supportive." He said that he and Sarver had just spoke again by telephone to thank each other. ESPN.com

Sarver said in a news release that the business side of the organization will report to general counsel Jason Rowley as the team searches for a new president. Sarver thanked Welts for "his tireless work on behalf of the Suns." Lon Babby remains the Suns' president of basketball operations. ESPN.com

The Suns are promoting General Counsel Jason Rowley to executive vice president to assume Welts' duties on an interim basis. A national search of candidates, including Rowley, will be conducted to fill the spot. Rowley joined the Suns in 2008 and represented Sarver's purchase of the Suns in 2004. "He's got a breadth of knowledge of business," Babby said of Rowley. "He's a problem solver and that's a big asset for someone in that position." Arizona Republic

July 29, 2011 Updates

Babby and other team officials have examined the history of teams that, like the Suns, stalled at the conference-finals level and then had to decide whether to keep their core players together or tear up the roster. What they discovered: Teams that embarked on a massive rebuilding project took an average of 10 years to get back to the conference finals. "And there's a lot of pain that goes into it," Babby said. "You're putting yourself in the hands of ping pong balls." Arizona Republic

May 10, 2011 Updates

Here is what Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby said after the season about the team's planning: "We're going to find the solutions but we've got a lot of work to do. The challenge right now for us is, and I don't think this gets enough play in the analysis, we've got to prepare ourselves for whatever the new rules are going to be. A collective bargaining agreement is not just about the relationship between the players and the teams. It's also about dictating what mechanisms are available to you for building a successful team. Until we know what those are, we're trying to prepare ourselves for every conceivable scenario. But until we know what the rules are, you don't know what weapons you have to get better and what the model is for how you should get better. That's a big challenge. Arizona Republic

"How we go about getting what we need is going to be dictated largely by what the rules (of a new collective bargaining agreement) are. I think we have a pretty good sense of what the areas of need are. What means will we have to be able to do that? Will it be free agency? Will it be trades? Will it be the draft? Will it be a combination? That's going to be a challenge. We don't have those answers and we might not have them for a few months. "We come to work every day and try to prepare for every possible scenario and do a very honest evaluation of our team and all those who work here to see who we can do better and what their priorities are in terms of getting better. Trying to engage in a whole lot of scheming about what the various possibilities are. That's part of why we were brought here." Arizona Republic

March 28, 2011 Updates

To that end, though, Babby will recuse himself from contract negotiations with Hill this summer, leaving the Suns' discussions with Hill -- and with Babby's former partner at Williams and Connolly, Jim Tanner -- in the hands of Phoenix's assistant general manager, Lance Blanks. "I'm going to let Lance do it, because I just can't do it," Babby said. NBA.com

February 11, 2011 Updates

Yet, there's at least one guy closely connected to what's happening in the desert who believes -- firm as team president Lon Babby was in stating that Suns management isn't at all excited by the prospect of blowing things up and trying to rebuild with youth -- the Suns do intend to explore how much they can get for Nash in the offseason. Whenever the NBA has another offseason after labor negotiations. "Steve is a Phoenix Sun and I don't think it's an exaggeration to say he's the face of that franchise," Bill Duffy, Nash's longtime agent, told ESPN.com this week. "But logic dictates that it would be prudent for the Suns to start looking at their long-term future in the summer, so we would expect that they may entertain moving him during the summer. We are ready for that and we anticipate a very respectful process if they decide to look at starting over with a younger core." ESPN.com

February 6, 2011 Updates
February 5, 2011 Updates

Nash still swears he has no intention of making that request, as forecasted back in December right after Phoenix shook up its roster. Asking to be dealt is not in the works as a birthday present to himself and not something Nash is plotting to spring on the Suns before the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Nash insisted again this week, as he lunched on five-bean soup and the healthiest of chopped salads at one of his go-to temples for food purity, that he won't be lobbying Suns owner Robert Sarver and new team president Lon Babby to send him to a contender. "Maybe I'm old school," Nash said, "but I signed a contract to play here and I want to honor it. I feel like I owe it to my teammates and the city and everybody to keep battling until they tell me it's time to go." ESPN.com

January 29, 2011 Updates

The Suns found a way to have a common center at practice on Thursday. Players and coaches gathered at midcourt and sat in a circle with Managing Partner Robert Sarver and President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby. Each took a turn sharing what he and the next man could do better to help this 20-24 Suns team. "Keep plugging away and keep trying to get better, compete a little bit harder," coach Alvin Gentry said of the messages. Arizona Republic

January 12, 2011 Updates

Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby opened his weekly KTAR-AM (620) segment this morning with an apology to Suns fans. "I apologize on behalf of our team for that game last night," Babby told KTAR's "Doug & Wolf." Babby, as he often does, had traveled with the team to Tuesday's 132-98 humiliation at Denver. "It's one thing to lose," Babby told KTAR." "it's another thing not to compete. And that's the part of this that I'm having a hard time fathoming and will not accept and our franchise will not accept it and our ownership will not accept it and our community should not accept it. "There's no way that anybody can tell me from a talent standpoint that should happen. There's a chemistry issue, I suppose. We've got to dig ourselves out of this by competing." Arizona Republic

January 7, 2011 Updates

The idea of trading Nash will keep popping up as long as the Suns linger outside the playoff picture with a star who turns 37 before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby's repeated response is that Nash is "the sun, the moon and the stars" of the franchise to make a point that Nash is here for the season without saying it unequivocally. "He (Babby) told me a month ago when it first sprung up that he had no plans to move me," Nash said. Arizona Republic

Nash signed an extension in 2009 that runs through next season. He shows no interest in asking for a trade. "I signed up for this," Nash said. "I'm committed to trying to build a team here. Obviously, last year was a phenomenal year. Tied 2-2 (in the conference finals), I thought we could win a championship. I genuinely believed we could and would win it. It's tough to be in this position six months later. I'm still committed to it. I love the guys. I think we've got potential but we've had so much change and haven't been able to put it together. If we want to point fingers, we've got to point some at ourselves and say, 'We haven't put it together.' "I'm still happy. I just want to try to win games for these fans and our team because that's the most frustrating thing." Arizona Republic

January 6, 2011 Updates

With the Suns falling out of the Western Conference playoff race (14-19), the first thought becomes: Will Nash be traded? The national media posed that question and threw out possible scenarios, but president of basketball operations Lon Babby assured Nash he isn’t on the move. “He told me a month ago when it first sprung that he had no plans to move me,” Nash said. “I think I’m at the stage of my career now where I’m not going home, worrying about trades and stuff like that. I really, genuinely don’t think about it when I leave here,” Nash added. “And you to be honest I’m the last to know, I don’t usually follow closely. I usually find out from you guys and get a sense of ‘is something going on?’” Valley of the Suns

December 31, 2010 Updates

With Suns president Lon Babby, a former agent. On maintaining civility with agents: "When you're doing business negotiations, then the most successful ones are the ones that are win-wins for both sides. Identifying what you can give to the other side that's important to them without compromising what's important to you is what makes for a successful negotiation. And in this business, that's magnified a thousand-fold because you're dealing with the same people over and over again. So I tell my kids: 'When you have the leverage, that's the most important time to be gracious, because tomorrow they're going to have the leverage and you're not -- and maybe they'll remember how you treated them under similar circumstances. They may not cut you a break, but at least they'll be gracious about it." SI.com

December 27, 2010 Updates

Since Turkoglu was drafted into the NBA in 2000, Babby had personally represented him. In fact, as recently as the summer of 2009, Babby negotiated a five-year $53-million deal with the Raptors for Turkoglu’s services. But when Babby accepted his position with the Suns, in order to avoid a conflict of interest, he had to strip off his “agent hat” and put on his executive one. Ironically, it didn’t take long for his new hat to replace the old hat’s usefulness. That irony wasn’t lost on Babby. “I’m going to be sad to see him go,” Babby said. “He’s a great friend of mine and I appreciate that. “But I also know that it’s great the way it turned out for him because he’s going back to a place where he’s had his greatest success and I know he views it as home. So that takes the edge off a little bit.” NBA.com

With front offices around the league in daily contact with each other, potential trade scenarios began to emerge with Orlando that included Turkoglu. That’s when the personal and professional worlds officially collided. “In some sense it’s just one more negotiation but the consequences of it are great,” Babby said. “I used to hate when I was an agent to get word that one of my guys was traded. “I think everybody forgets the human aspects of it. If (Suns GM) Lance (Blanks), myself or any one of us in this room found out that we were moving to Orlando tomorrow we would be a little discombobulated. I think we try to be sensitive to the human elements of this and the disruption that it causes.” NBA.com

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