Rise like a Phoenix! It's a simile full of cheese and a cliche that's used far too often. But in the case of THIS Phoenix Suns franchise, it might just be justified.
It's a well-known path that led this club to their current state of ruinous ashes. The mistakes are numerous. The decisions fateful. But that's the past and all that matters now is the future and as Mr. King so aptly stated, the most important decision is the replacement for the failed Lance Blanks.
Today, we get our first hints at who might be on that list and the names are intriguing to say the least, starting with Grant Hill.
Phoenix Suns, General Manager Lance Blanks part ways
The long-held internal hope that popular former Suns player Grant Hill, who plans on retiring, will patch up a strained relationship with Babby, his former agent, and return as GM has been resuscitated. Suns Ring of Honor member Charles Barkley has expressed hopes of being a GM and met Sarver for the first time this year, but the organization could not compete with his TNT salary.
Grant Hill. The guy who once told me that he wanted to stay involved in basketball after his playing career was over. The guy whose family still resides in Phoenix. The man who would walk in the door with instant credibility and respect.
He's almost the perfect partner for Lon Babby and one would have to think that their long relationship could overcome a little blip that came after Lon (rightly) only offered Grant a one-year deal last summer.
But the story doesn't end there. Other names mentioned in Coro's report include:
[...]Milwaukee assistant GM Jeff Weltman to people with local ties like Tony Ronzone (USA Basketball scouting director and Dallas player personnel director), Eddie Johnson (Suns analyst) and David Griffin (Cleveland vice president of basketball operations) to experienced, out-of-work GMs like David Morway (Indiana fame) and Mark Warkentien (Denver).
It all makes you wonder if SB Nation's Tom Ziller is onto something when he wrote the following about the Suns situation:
A very odd straw on Lance Blanks' back ends his Suns career - SBNation.com
Basically, it looks like the Suns' bosses -- Babby and Sarver -- used Blanks as a hatchet man, and made sure he cut off his own legs in the process.
I scratch my head over this one.
Lon Babby is a very smart guy. I don't put it past him to look at the situation facing the team he took over and determine his first task was to clear the decks of all the mistakes his boss made in the Summer of Sarver (2010) and realize that the process was ALWAYS going to painful. Bringing in a fall guy to do the dirty work does make sense.
If that was his plan, he picked a perfect guy to bumble his way through the next few years while managing to avoid any fatal mistakes, namely taking on a massive contract for a player like Rudy Gay or Josh Smith.
Then again, it's easy to ascribe motives like this in hindsight and it implies a level of deceit and ruthlessness that I'd rather not put on Lon's head.
We can argue if the Suns should have started to rebuild two years sooner, but that horse is beaten, dead and buried. Now, the decks are clear and the Suns have assets to work with so they can...well, rise from the ashes. The idea that Grant Hill could be the guy to come in and lead that process is very promising indeed.