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Almost two days after parting ways with Alvin Gentry, Suns name Lindsey Hunter interim head coach

Jan 20, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Detroit Pistons v Orlando Magic, Game Four Getty Images

UPDATE 11:17 a.m. ET: The Suns have named player development coordinator Lindesy Hunter as interim head coach, the team announced this morning. We’ll have more on Hunter following this afternoon’s press conference.

PHOENIX — In case you weren’t sure of what the plan was in Phoenix to right the sinking Suns ship, we have some good news to pass along: You’re not alone; the organization doesn’t seem to have any idea, either.

Well over 24 hours after the Suns parted ways with head coach Alvin Gentry, the team has yet to name an interim head coach. It’s hard to imagine that the search will last beyond Sunday, considering that the team is exclusively looking at internal candidates. But the fact that this all wasn’t worked out ahead of time tells at least part of the story of this Suns team that finds itself at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said at a press conference on Friday that he’d prefer to wait until a coach is named to describe the qualities he’s looking for in the person who will guide the team the rest of the season.

“Let’s wait until we pick the guy and then we can describe why we picked him; maybe that would be easier,” Babby said. “There are so many characterisitics that a good coach should have. Not everyone is going to have all of them. There is a tendency when you pick someone to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll pick the right person internally for where we are and where to go but let’s wait until we pick that person. I’d rather describe the reasons or have [GM Lance Blanks] describe the rerasons or have the person describe why they are the right fit rather than do it hypothetically.”

This deflection was pretty much par for the course during Babby’s presser, where he essentially refused to get into the details surrounding the reasons for Gentry’s dismissal, other than to say that management felt that the team was regressing.

“I don’t want to get into the details of evaluating what led to the decision,” Babby said. “This is not something we planned for. As short as a month ago, Robert Sarver was direct and blunt in saying Alvin would be here for the rest of the year. That was our intent all along. That was a commitment that we had made. But sometimes in this business, you get to a point where it just doesn’t feel right and we just reached that point.

“How you get to that point is something that we look at closely and try to learn from, but I don’t think it serves anybody’s purpsoe to share all of the details and all of the reason, either from his side or from our side.”

Assistant coaches Elston Turner, Igor Kokoskov, and Dan Majerle are all believed to be in the running to ride out the lost season with the interim tag, as is player development coach Lindsey Hunter.

Gentry ended up taking the fall for poor front office personnel decisions, plain and simple. Babby said at one point during the press conference that the change at the head coaching spot doesn’t change the team’s plan from a personnel or player development standpoint, and that management’s plan was “intact.”

That would imply that a plan was in fact in place to begin with, which is hard to imagine considering how long it’s taking to simply appoint a current member of the staff to run the team the rest of the way.

  1. grizzlystrike - Jan 20, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Babby Blanks and Sarver are a joke

    • nbascreed - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM

      I’m always a little disappointed by these business dudes whose orgs get here when by all other accounts they were shrewd and decisive managers in their other lives. Sarver built a freaking bank and sold it by age 23 (with the help of his dad presumably but nonetheless)!!! Having worked in banking and finance I can tell you that running a basketball franchise of 200 employees is much much easier than building a bank corp. It’s not even close.

      Like most owners, they buy these things as fans and stand off to the side while pretend businessman and ex athletes run day to day operations. I bet the Suns would look much different on the court and operationally if Sarver and his A-Team was as engaged in the Suns day to day as they are in his banking enterprise. The problem is, like the Wolves (and most other franchises) the Suns are probably running a negative EBITDA and the owners are subsidizing this liability for the right to be called an NBA owner…it’s a hobby not a business to Sarver…which is why he (shrewdly) won’t make investments and why this kind of malaise exist!

  2. drewzducks - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    He must be still waiting to hear back from Lennay Kekua.

  3. jhuck92 - Jan 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    “Let’s wait until we pick the guy and then we can describe why we picked him; maybe that would be easier.” He doesn’t sound sure himself. Might as well pick a guy off the street with such broad credentials (or a lack thereof).

  4. mcqphx - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Insert Benny Hill theme song.

  5. delusionalcardsfan - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Phoenix Bums!!

  6. azpackerbacker - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Sarver: Worst. Owner. Ever.

    • scalfor3 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:44 AM

      You misspelled “Sterling”

  7. adoombray - Jan 20, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    None of us Suns fans feel really great about the Gentry thing, but speaking for myself at least I am glad they tried. I don’t want a team that tanks for picks. I want to get my moneys worth when I go the game. It didn’t work out, and Beasley really was a terrible terrible decision, i’m not letting the front office off the hook: but better to brick than dribble out the clock for next 4 or 5 years “building assets”

  8. dysraw1 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    hey who knows maybe Hunter will be innovative an real developer of talent, or lucky like PJ. Carlessimo

  9. sunsation3413 - Jan 20, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    Quite honestly I dont think Sarver is making all these bone headed decsions. The one he made to get the Suns in this position was to hire Lon Babby and give him the power. This guy has ruined the team with his poor draft picks and free agent signings. He has no clue how to assemble a team and is worse at talent evaulating. Lets see….Josh Childress, Hakim Warrick, Michael Beasley, Wesely Johnson, Kendall Marshall. No need to look further. And now Lindsey Hunter. he has zero coaching experience. there are 3 other assistants with many years but None of them were hired by Babby. hunter is another puppet just like Lance Blanks. If Robert Sarver wants to gain back any respect he needs to clean house in the front office and get some people who know basketball to take their place.

  10. harryaz - Jan 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Jerry – we need you back.

  11. mgscott - Jan 20, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Doesn’t Steve Nash have anything to say about this ?

  12. numba1recx19 - Jan 20, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Hunter is a pretty smart player, gon be a great coach.

  13. scalfor3 - Jan 21, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Lindsay Hunter was cool as a player. Good luck as a coach, he’s gonna need it with that roster.

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