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Report: Suns’ O’Neal, team GM in profanity-filled argument. O’Neal not with team on road.

Jan 22, 2013, 3:55 PM EDT

Jermaine O'Neal AP

Losing is hard on a locker room and the Suns aren’t really used to it — even when they didn’t make the playoffs the past couple years they almost did thanks to Steve Nash. Then they traded Steve Nash.

Already Alvin Gentry has been let go as coach and now comes a report that Jermaine O’Neal and general manager Lance Blanks got into a profanity-filled argument outside the coach’s office Monday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and the NBC Sports Network (and comfirmed by Paul Coro or the Arizona Republic).

The upshot is that O’Neal did not practice with the team Tuesday and did not travel with them to Sacramento for a game Wednesday.

“It was really bad,” one Suns source said Tuesday afternoon.

The confrontation happened after interim coach Lindsey Hunter’s first practice and unfolded within earshot of several Suns players in the locker room, sources said.

O’Neal is frustrated with the direction of the Suns’ rebuild and wanted more clarity on his future this season, a source with knowledge of the confrontation said. At 13-28, the Suns have the worst record in the Western Conference.

Part of the reason the Suns parted ways with Gentry is he gave preference to veterans like O’Neal and some in management wanted the young prospects on the team to get more run. O’Neal had averaged 15.6 minutes a game on the season but so far in January that is down to 11.9 a game.

O’Neal has a one-year deal with the Suns, a franchise in a complete rebuilding mode. Is O’Neal available by trade? I’m sure he is, there is nobody on the Suns roster that should be safe. Is he going to get more burn? Not likely.

That’s frustrating. Shouting matches with the GM rarely help these matters, however.

  1. skinsfanwill - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Going from 15 minutes to 11 isn’t that big of a difference. He is washed up anyway. He should be happy he gets on the court.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 23, 2013 at 7:03 AM

      wtf is the gm, does he play.
      how many times do you see a gm on espn.

      the gm will be fired soom.

  2. thetooloftools - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    O’Neil’s best days are far behind him. He’s just sleepwalking for a paycheck. Play like you think your going to lose, and your going to lose.

  3. bougin89 - Jan 22, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Who doesn’t want an average big man who is totally unreliable/injury prone?

  4. lovinthatsomanyhateonnd - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    say what you want about O’neal, but this is all on the GM and Sarver…they DESTROYED our team, and believe me when i say fans will side with O’neal…we are disgusted, as evidenced by the lack of seats being filled lately (and that will only get worse..hope Sarvers real estate business is booming, cause he will lose money this year with the Suns)…his switch to a completely unproven coach from a proven one was atrocious, and then the top two assistants walk away? Majerle leaving was eye opening, it means “they are tanking this season, and i want no part of it”…please, please, please SELL THE TEAM SARVER! WE DONT WANT YOU AS THE OWNER ANYMORE!!

  5. maxxlou87 - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    I can’t believe this guy used to be a top 10 player for a year or two. Jermaine needs to be on a team who is going to the playoffs. He is a good reserve for a playoff team you cant deny that. What NBA player has ever had a happy career losing?

    • maxxlou87 - Jan 22, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Or at least knowing what winning is like, then sent to a struggling franchise

  6. dannymac17 - Jan 22, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    This guy is such a head case. I always blamed RonRon but i really think this is the guy who instigated everything on that Pacers roster.

  7. 3fingerlenny - Jan 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM


  8. vols84 - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    My suns are a train wreck. Bring back Collangelo.

  9. abchome - Jan 22, 2013 at 9:54 PM

    Looking at the bright side, this is yet another testament to Phoenix medical staff. You can’t be angry for lack of playing time if you’re ailing/injured, like the last few years.

  10. bryannolen88 - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Apparently, It did not happen. Here is what Jermaine had to say on his twitter.
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    People should be ashamed of there selves for reporting things to the public that are absolutely not true! smdh!
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    Altercation? False! Argument about a coaching change or coaching hire? Even more false! That’s is not my position or job to determine that!
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    Lindsey hunter is now our coach and we will do anything and everything to support him and try to turn this season around!
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    Coach gentry will be missed but its also apart of the business in sports! We all had hands in on the 13-28 start not just the coach!
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    But coach hunter is our coach now and we fully support him!
    Jermaine O’Neal ‏@jermaineoneal
    And for the person that’s leaking the B.S to the media at least have the balls to acknowledge yourself or at least get the info right!Damn

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 22, 2013 at 10:09 PM

      Interesting. He can deny it all he wants this was people within the Suns organization who spoke of this and the reporters who got it (such as Paul Coro) I trust more than an athlete who denies it happened after the fact.

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