Before the 2019-20 season starts and we get a whole new wave of things to hate from a new GM, let’s take a trip down memory lane to lambast some of our prior Phoenix Suns GMs.
What GM decision still irks you today, still makes your skin crawl at the mere thought of it, drives you up the wall and ruins any conversation when its mentioned?
For me, it was when Channing Frye signed a mid-level free agent deal with the Orlando Magic in 2014 after an incredible feel-good almost-playoffs season. The season was spurred by the improved play of Goran Dragic and explosive athleticism of Eric Bledsoe, but most of all by the comeback story of Channing Frye.
Frye had missed the entire 2012-13 season with an “enlarged” heart that could have taken away his entire career. He spent months trying not to raise his pulse or blood pressure, learning yoga and meditation and generally living an entirely different life. Finally, he was cleared to return to basketball almost a year later, just before training camp in 2013.
The Suns, led by rookie coach Jeff Hornacek, really leaned on Frye’s maturity and his special pick-and-pop connection with point guard Goran Dragic. The duo led the league in points-per-possession on pick-and-pop plays, and helped carry the Suns to 48 incredibly unexpected wins.
So why let him go? The Suns barely made a contract offer, making sure he wouldn’t take it so they could maximize their free agent cash. Frye himself said later that he was disappointed with the Suns terrible contract offer and was basically shown the door while the Suns dumbly pursued the likes of LeBron James. As they waited for their moment with LeBron, they watched Frye walk to Orlando.
Frye never recaptured his glory from his Suns days, Dragic’s own relationship with the Suns deteriorated, and within a year the Suns would fall into a half-decade abyss.
That’s the first GM blunder that came to mind for me, but clearly there have been dozens over the years.
Here’s a few that came to mind when we discussed this on the mid-week Solar Panel podcast that aired last night:
- letting Channing Frye walk in 2014
- trading Dan Majerle for Hot Rod Williams way back in the stone age
- hiring of Earl Watson in 2016 — both the interim hire AND the full-time hire (honorable mention: Lindsey Hunter)
- firing of Alvin Gentry in 2013 and Hornacek in 2016
- signing of Isaiah Thomas in summer 2014
- Live listener contribution: drafting Markieff Morris over Kawhi Leonard in 2011 (honorable mention: the whole Blanks era)
- Live listener contribution: Not re-signing Joe Johnson in 2005
- signing Brandon Knight to that $70 million contract in 2015
- ruining things with Goran Dragic, the nicest guy ever to walk the halls of TSR Arena
- the Shaquisition in 2008 (especially knowing Marion scuttled the trade for Kevin Garnett)
- Live listener contribution: Scola and Beasley in 2012
- Live listener contribution: not trading rights to Josh Jackson for Kyrie in 2017
- trading Bogdan Bogdanovic for Marquese Chriss
- trading Kurt Thomas away in summer 2007
- Live listener contribution: deciding not to pay Amare all the money in 2010
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Dave has access to the team as a credentialed media member since 2012, while Greg brings his insights as a former Suns employee for half decade who still has his connections. Tim is a pro radio/podcast personality who grew up in Tucson and now lives in Florida. All three hosts are lifelong, unabashed Suns fans.
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