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Suns part ways with GM Lance Blanks

Apr 22, 2013, 6:37 PM EDT

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The Suns have parted ways with GM Lance Blanks, the team announced on Monday via official release.

The move doesn’t come as a huge surprise, considering that president of basketball operations Lon Babby was just given a two-year contract extension, and some organizational changes were obviously necessary in the wake of the dismal 25-57 season in Phoenix.

“Lance has been a trusted friend and colleague,” said Babby. “I thank him personally and professionally for his hard work on behalf of the Suns.  We will continue to prepare for the offseason even as we look for his replacement.”

Blanks made a series of questionable decisions that ultimately never panned out during his time in Phoenix. The Suns traded Goran Dragic (and a first round draft pick) to Houston for Aaron Brooks at the trade deadline in 2011, before bringing him back in free agency on a four-year, $30 million deal this past summer.

Phoenix also went out and got Marcus Morris at the trade deadline this year, which is a literal duplication of a player they already had on the roster in Marcus’ twin brother, Markieff Morris, and may have been made for reasons other than those purely motivated by basketball.

Blanks’ biggest miss, however, might have been going out and signing Michael Beasley for three years and $18 million. Blanks went all-in on Beasley, talking him up at every opportunity and even spending time trying to mentor the young man personally.

Blanks helped make sure Beasley was anointed almost immediately as “the man” in Phoenix, and part of the early-season trouble in the locker room was due to Beasley playing starter’s minutes long past the point where he was actually earning them.

With Alvin Gentry in the final year of his contract and dealing with a rebuilding situation and a roster in flux, and with management unwilling to extend him before the end of the season, the veteran head coach became an unfortunate casualty of Blanks’ decisions.

No determination has been made yet on the interim status of head coach Lindsey Hunter, but with Blanks now gone (who was among Hunter’s biggest supporters in the organization), it would be easy to see the Suns going in another direction there if they feel they can secure a more experienced head coach who may be a better long-term fit for the franchise.

A report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com already has the Suns reaching out to other possible head coaching candidates.

  1. tjromanello - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Thanks to Blanks, the Suns are going to be in the basement of the NBA for a good amount of time.

  2. scooper15928 - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Look, I’m glad Blanks is gone, but to be perfectly honest what has the man done that was so awful in the past couple seasons to “keep them in the basement for a long time”. I think Suns fans are overreacting. Trading Dragic and signing Beasley were his two biggest mistakes, and drafting Marshall wasn’t great either (not that there were many better options available). But Jermaine O’Neal was not a mistake. P.J Tucker was not a mistake. Signing Dragic and picking up Scola were not mistakes. Markieff Morris ended the season on a great note and I wouldn’t call him a bust, and the Suns made two minor but beneficial moves at the deadline this year. So I don’t really think we can pin this whole “sucking” thing on him.

    Also, this sounds crazy, but I’m defending the Beasley move. As a rebuilding team, you have to take risks and sign players who may or may not pan out in order to start winning again. Every team makes mistakes, but there was no way of knowing that Beasley would have a terrible season back in the summer. I was never a big fan of Beasley, but showing some initiative and signing players like him who occasionally do pan out and blossom with a change in scenery is a lot better than sitting on your ass and doing nothing.

  3. Rich Peters - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Reblogged this on Higher Ground.

  4. bux1022 - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    When you go from Kerr to Blanks you end up in the basement, next to the people under the stairs!

  5. vols84 - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Jerry Colangelo and Coach K. A winning combination for USA and for Phoenix. Make it happen.

  6. lucifershuttlesworth - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Suns have been firing blanks all year.

  7. phx1311 - Apr 23, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    I was so excited at the beginning of the season, then it became obvious this was a tank year. Still love my suns though so I hope we make solid draft picks for next season.

  8. patfic15 - Apr 23, 2013 at 8:07 AM

    The Dragic move was solid. I like Scola. Beasley? Well that had bad ending written all over it.

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