Suns GM wants to win, not honor past
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
There was a time when Planet Orange meant something very different in Phoenix, when the annual playoffs runs and scintillating seven-seconds-or-less style meant the city was ablaze for its team. Now? Planet Orange is a place where there’s always a fire to put out.
The Phoenix Suns’ decision to part ways with well-liked and respected coach Alvin Gentry and replace him with unproven Lindsey Hunter last week was the latest unpopular move in what has become the most painful regime going in the NBA. It came after owner Robert Sarver had sworn Gentry was safe for the entire season even with the team’s struggles, and it remains unclear what prompted the timing of the ousting.
From the sign-and-trade of beloved point guard Steve Nash to the rival Los Angeles Lakers in the summer to the unsuccessful signing of Michael Beasley to the ugly fallout of the Gentry firing (assistant Dan Majerle resigned and assistant Elston Turner is reportedly will do the same), every move made these days is another blow to the Suns’ battered approval rating. The heat, it’s safe to say, is on Suns ownership and management more than ever before.
But third-year Suns general manager Lance Blanks — who found himself dousing more flames this week after he had a heated argument with veteran Jermaine O’Neal — insists the plan that’s in place eventually will pay off.
“I feel, actually, great (about the big-picture),” Blanks said in a lengthy phone interview with USA TODAY Sports. “In this business, you can’t wiggle your nose and manufacture success, or rub rocks together. You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and do the things that are necessary to be successful.”
And that, as Blanks saw it, included promoting Hunter from his position as player development coach to interim head coach – even if it meant he came under fire.
Blanks, the former player who came to the Suns in the summer of 2010 after a decade spent as a scout and in the front offices of the San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers, is wired to win it all. He was part of two … [For more on NBA A-Z: Phoenix Suns GM wants to win, not honor past, click here.]