Things continue to shape up as more information comes out and it doesn't look good. Just weeks after the euphoric end to a better than expected season, the Suns seem to be imploding from the top down.
Instead of an anxious summer focused on making the best Amare decision possibly, the Suns are a team in free-fall, as the rift between ownership and management threatens to drag the franchise down for years to come.
Best case, the team will start the season once again with a large deficit of fan goodwill that they will have to earn back the hard way. Again. All momentum from this best season having been destroyed in the last 24 hours.
Worst case, think 20 years of Bidwell-run Cardinals or perhaps the LA Clippers -- low-balling coaches and key players, which leads to poor team morale and an organization that can't attract top free agent player or coaching talent.
I tried to be patient with this situation and not overreact, but at this point, 24 hours later, with the information that's come out and having heard from the key parties directly, there is absolutely no way to see anything positive coming out of this. I fear the Suns are in for a rough road as Sarver hopes to milk a couple of good years out of Gentry, Hill and Nash before their contracts are up and the team flounders as it tries to make crucial moves this summer when Amare opts out.
The latest sad news ...
Today, Paul Coro reported the following about what Kerr was offered, "a one-year contract to stay at his current salary or a three-year deal that would repeat his previous one except for adding a third-year bonus. That meant Kerr's first-year salary would be a cut of about 10 percent from last season, when his salary ranked in the upper one-third of West GMs."
KTAR's John Gambodoro continues to insist that Kerr was not offered a pay cut and today, while interviewing Robert Sarver on his radio show, said that Kerr told him there was no cut. But Sarver, when asked directly, didn't deny the cut and talked around the question.
Even more depressing is Sarver stating that the Suns would pick up Gentry's option year, keeping him one of the lowest paid coaches in the league through 2011/12 instead of giving Gentry a new, better deal. How do you think that's going to fly with Alvin and with the players who support him?
David Griffin, who is widely respected around the NBA and clearly qualified for the job, is the only chance for consistency in the front office. Unfortunately, Sarver made it clear that Griff doesn't have any kind of inside track and said he would give an interview if David wanted one.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the only guy the Suns could bring back with any hope of continuity in the front office. Then again, why would Griffin want the job if his hands would be handcuffed so badly by an owner who continues to show all the savvy of a bull in a china shop?
Were you shocked by Kerr's decision?
"Nah, I wouldn't say shocked. Nothing in this business will shock ya."
"He's had some good opportunities -- including going back to TNT -- and they made a hard sell to him this week, as well, as a team called to see if he'd be interested in being a head coach, which is something at some point in time maybe he'll end up doing."
What changed in the last 24 to 48 hours to make Kerr not come back?
"It's a stressful job ... at the end of the day, he decided this is what's best for (him) personally."
Steve Kerr told me (Gambo) he was not offered a pay cut at all, was he offered a pay cut on this next contract?
"A lot of these contracts -- GMs, players and coaches -- are based on what the market is and the market is, there's 30 teams, so there's 30 GMs, there's 30 coaches and there's 450 players. That's really what sets the market. In terms of Steve, he really wasn't at the top, but he was well compensated. He was in the top one-third of the Western Conference general managers and if you look at our payroll, our payroll is in the top third.
"Listen, you can't have the third best winning percentage in the league for six years and go to the Western Conference Finals three times unless you have good people and in order to get good people you have to pay them fair compensation and what makes sense in the market place."
Do you have to act quick to get a replacement in time for July 1 when free agency starts?
"The answer would be yes and no in that order. We have one of our best players who is a free agent.
"In terms of whether having a GM on board, I don't think that's going to make any difference.
"What's more important to players is number 1, the dollar amount of their contracts. Two, who are their teammates going to be, number 3 who's their coach going to be, number 4 what city are they going to live in and number 5, is this going to be a good fit, am I going to get to play, is this a winning team."
Were there philosophical differences between you and Steve that made him not want to come back?
"Over three years, we've made some good moves, we've made some bad moves.
"Do we agree on everything? No, we don't. Do we agree on 90%? Yes, we do."
Where are you with Gentry's contract (which has one year left and then a team option for the second year) and did that play any role in Steve not coming back?
"No, I don't think so. Steve was very excited about the job that Alvin did and so am I.
"Gentry signed a three year deal with the third year a team option. We are one year in.
"Picking up that third (year) option just makes sense, so that's what will be done."
What about David Griffin for GM and how quickly do you move forward on search for GM?
"I don't feel time pressure. What's important is that we get the right person in the job, so we will be looking everywhere. I don't have any preconceived notion as to who's the lead candidate or who isn't, who we'll include or who we won't include. We'll be assembling a list together of 20 to 30 candidates that will be looked at and narrowed down to a pool to be interviewed by several people in the organization and we'll go from there."
Will Griffin be on that list of candidates to be interviewed?
"If that's what he would like, he would. Yes."