More photos » Matt York - AP
4 months ago: Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver gestures to Indiana Pacers' Danny Granger after Grangers missed a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 6, 2010 in Phoenix. The Suns won 113-105. (AP Photo/Matt York)
In the last couple of days, some important Suns voices have given interviews. I'll be linking to them here, and posting some of what I thought were the most interesting (i.e. stuff I didn't already know) nuggets of info.
How long have the Suns been discussing Turkoglu? What kind of front office is Sarver planning? How much money is Sarver going to spend? Did Leandro Barbosa get blindsided or forced out? Or did the Suns accommodate his request for a fresh start? What does Goran think of all the moves?
First, there's the Robert Sarver interview on KTAR (as a link off the KTAR sports page). I don't have a transcript of this, but these (paraphrased) items stood out to me:
Suns have been wanting Hedo Turkoglu for years.
Turkoglu was a name they were discussing since the end of the season, even using it as a selling point to Amare in those last days of June. (This means they'd planned to have Turk play SF in the same front court with Amare and Lopez. Given the transaction - LB + Jones for Turk - that definitely could have happened.)
Even after acquiring Josh Childress and Turk, Suns may still do some tinkering this summer, though he didn't mention specifics.
He's looking to start out the season at about $65 million, midway between the "cap" and the "tax." (Right now, the salaries stand at about $62 mill or so. Add in spots 10-13 at minimum, and you're right around 64. Maybe Sarver is factoring in using the 2 mill bi-annual exception for a vet big. But really, any new rotation additions would have be accompanied by losing 1-2 players at the same time. There's just not enough minutes for the people we have, let alone another veteran big man.)
He mentioned that the Suns have a lot of assets, and that the $65 million allows them to add someone during the season if the fit was right. He mentioned the remaining $6 in TPE specifically, plus the depth of the team in general (I love this - it means no more scrimping if there's a huge weakness someone can fill, or there's injuries).
Regarding the front office, he said they currently still have about 20 people in the Operations dept, and that Todd Quinter did most of the scouting/selling on Childress. (Have I mentioned I love me some Chill?)
He also said he wanted to add an analytics department (this has become the latest craze in basketball, used extensively by Houston, OKC and Portland, to name a few. Personally, I think this is a long time coming. Suns are one of only about 7 teams that don't already have this department.)
When asked about the GM hire, he said he wants to hire a few people (which indicates to me that both of the rumored names - Dell Demps and Tom Penn - might be brought in, in addition to Babby. Demps is a talent evaluator, while Penn is a cap guru and analytics guy)
Next, we have an Alvin Gentry interview with Suns.com. Interesting/new tidbits:
Regarding the LB trade: "This is just one of those situations where he just felt like he wanted to be in a different place and have an opportunity to play more minutes. With J-Rich (Jason Richardson) playing the way he is and Goran (Dragic) coming on, he thought it might be best to be moved and play somewhere else. I understand that. There’s no hard feelings and we wish Leandro nothing but the best, and I think he’ll be successful wherever he is." (I didn't know LB expressed desire to move on. Makes sense, of course.)
Regarding Hedo, and mixing with Nash: "One of the things we haven’t been able to utilize over the years here is Steve’s ability to be a shooter. If he’s not the best shooter in the league, he’s in the top two or three shooters. We like for him to be the guy off the ball some coming off screens and I think Hedo will allow us to do that." (To me, Nash has never been a good spot-up shooter. He's best off the dribble, as is Dragic. But then, the sample size of spot-up opportunities is pretty small.)
regarding Childress: "He’ll be one of those guys that we ask to defend Kobe (Bryant), Paul Pierce, Dwyane Wade, LeBron (James) and guys like that, and do the best job that he can." (He will be a nice changeup with Hill and Duds all taking turns)
Regarding his personal trainer, and why he came back to the US just this past week after a few weeks on vacation: "I came here to the States to work with my personal coach Nenad Trajkovic. He’s Serbian and signed with the Suns...Last year he was in Phoenix like for two weeks and they saw what kind of improvement I made. We share the same agent so it was an easy for them to sign him and I’m very happy about it." (Suns signed Goran's personal trainer? Sweet!)
Regarding expectations in Phoenix: "...everybody was expecting me to play the same game as Nash, but I have a different one. Journalists in Phoenix, they were expecting me to play the same as Steve. I don’t have the same game as Steve. I’m not a Nash clone. So then, Alvin just gave me an opportunity, I relaxed and just started to play my basketball. And then when you have a good game you realize you can play at this level." (So maybe we should stop trying to change players, and just allow them to play to their strengths? Umm, excuse me, Goran. Don't you realize us fans and journalists know what's best? Hedo needs to become a rebounder/banger, and so does Frye. Oh, and can you get us 10 assists a game in 20 minutes next year? Otherwise, we'll call you a shoot-first guy and write you off. kthxbye.)
Regarding Hedo: "Hedo Turkoglu is a great guy and a great player and he can help us a lot. The club is getting players with great characters and our chemistry is great."
Of course, there's been tons of talk and spin on the internets lately. And Sarver and Gentry said a lot more than I mentioned above. But I just wanted to post what I thought was interesting, so don't get all up in my grill. Click the links to hear/read all of it.
Also, Seth got some good quotes from Todd Quinter this week. Check out his fanshot lower down this page for the link.
If you've seen another interview from a Suns person that had interesting nuggets in it, please paste the URL into the comments below.