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Former Suns GM Lance Blanks dies at 56

NBA: Phoenix Suns Media Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lance Blanks, who served as Phoenix Suns GM from 2010 to 2013, died at age 56 on Wed. May 3 in Dallas, TX. No cause of death has been made known.

Serving as GM at the beginning of a rough decade as a Suns organization, Blanks was responsible for such moves as trading Steve Nash to the LA Lakers, the re-acquisition of Goran Dragic (after first trading him) and the PJ Tucker signing. The team was 98-132 in his three seasons.

Blanks played college ball at Virginia and Texas, averaging 20.0 points in two seasons for the latter, leading the Longhorns to the Elite 8 in his second season. He would go on to play three seasons in the NBA between the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves, totaling 289 points over his career.

Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president of basketball operations and teammate to Blanks during his two seasons in Detroit, said in a statement:

“Lance was a light for all those who knew him. It’s been a privilege to have called him one of my closest friends. I’m eternally grateful for all the support he has shown me throughout the years. His legacy will be carried on, not only by his family, but by all those whose lives he touched for the better. You will be dearly missed, brother.”

Blanks is survived by his mother, Clarice, two daughters, and granddaughter. From the same statement, Clarice said, “My child, mama loves you.”

Update: Suns released their own statement, which reads:

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lance Blanks. He loved basketball and contributed to the game as a player, executive, scout and broadcaster. We got to see his passion for the game firsthand in his time as Suns general manager.

Beyond basketball, Lance was a devoted father to his beloved daughters and a revered friend to many.

We extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this most difficult of times. He will be missed.”

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