At practice today Phoenix Suns head coach Lindsey Hunter stated that he is focused on getting his team ready to play basketball. They are working on tactical elements of the game, adding play wrinkles here and there, as well as getting the teams confidence up.
The morale and energy of the team is vastly important especially during this trying season. But putting together a staff is an immediate necessity.
"That will kind of play itself out," stated Hunter after reminding us he has only slept about four hours in the past 48. "I am concerned about our team and our players. That is my biggest concern, making sure guys are getting everything they can from me."
"I am sure, but I do not know personally," Hunter addressed the potential resentment from the other two not getting the job. "I am sure being a coach and wanting to be a head coach, and then not getting the opportunity; I am sure that hurts. I understand that and I am compassionate about that part of it. I don't know what will come from any of this, but you wish the guys that are not with us the best and the guys that are with us are going to work."
Obviously there will be some resentment towards the front office from the lead assistant and the local legend, both of which have been on an NBA bench here and abroad longer the Hunter has been retired. They each have a claim to the job, but this played out with Hunter as the interim.
Each wanted this opportunity to run the team for 41 games, but did not get it. That leaves the staff shorthanded with Igor Kokoslov, Noel Gillespie, Corey Gaines, and Ralph Sampson.
Hunter has been in communication with the duo gauging their interest in a return to the bench under his supervision, "I am not sure. Our front office probably has more knowledge about it than I do. I talked to them the initial day and I talked to Elston this morning."
As is the staff has some great experience to bring, but are going to be shorthanded, they know that, and are prepared to head into Sacramento as is.
"We are fine right now," says Hunter. "I always like listening to the great coaches of the NFL if someone gets hurt, next man up. that is the way we have to approach it."
One member of the Suns staff has the approach his grandfather taught him to lean on, and that is being loyal.
"Like my grandfather used to say, loyalty is you don't talk loud, you do," stated Kokoslov on staying on board here in Phoenix. "Meaning don't tell me you love me, show me. Loyalty to Alvin when he was here, to the organization as long as I am working for this organization, and that is not going to be a question."
Kokoslov has a connection to both Hunter and Alvin Gentry as a seven year assistant for gentry from the Clippers to the Pistons, and the the Suns. He coached Hunter for three years with the Pistons and won a Championship. Loyalty to the players and the organization supersedes any resentment towards not getting a position of want.
Two coaches may defect after not only losing their their leader, but also losing opportunity. Regardless this is a business and the show will go on without both if necessary, but when will the rest of the show be named? There in lies the ever growing issue with this downward trending franchise.