As you can tell from the BSotS coverage all week, the Phoenix Suns have managed to get themselves into the news on almost an hourly basis since their last game 6 days ago.
An unusual break in games was filled to the brim with controversy, starting with the ouster of head coach Alvin Gentry, to naming an interim coach (Lindsey Hunter) who had never coached on any level in any capacity before, to mutiny amongst the assistant coaching staff, to rumors of fights amongst players and front office folks, to the new head coach's inability to even run a practice yet, to a reminder of an ongoing FBI investigation against the aforementioned head coach and zero votes of confidence on a national scale for the latest Suns moves.
What could possibly happen today to top the last 6 days of angst? Oh yeah, it's game day!
The new coaching staff, taking over what was already the worst team in the West, takes on the no-longer-worst-in-West Sacramento Kings in a road game tonight that starts the second half of the Suns 2012-13 schedule.
Truly, this is must-see TV.
How will Lindsey Hunter manage the game? Will he remember that it's his job to call timeouts and execute substitutions, or will he turn to new lead assistant Igor Kokoskov or WNBA head coach Corey Gaines for instructions? Who else will be on the bench alongside him?
Will he coach to win, or coach to develop?
Who will play minutes? Will he stay with the veterans on the roster? Or go with more minutes for youngsters and big offseason acquisitions brought in by the front office, including Markieff Morris, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson and Kendall Marshall (Diante Garrett, who is outplaying Marshall on the Bakersfield Jam, is still down in the D-league)?
Of the players who get on the floor, how will they respond to this change? How will they respond to this coach?
Is he an angry, in your face, coach? Or will he be a deer in the headlights?
At the least, he is setting a new tone of working their butts off.
"I know these practices are a lot longer than they are accustomed to," Hunter said after practice on Tuesday. "but we've got a lot to get accomplished. We have to work until we can't forget what we're supposed to do, not until we get it. We have to work until we can't forget it."
"I would definitely describe it as interesting," Dudley said of the change. "I would say shock. We've had a lot of changes these last couple of days. But it just shows what happens when you're not winning games."
It is always darkest before the dawn, and while it may seem pretty darn dark right now we have no idea how much darker it's going to get before the sun rises on that horizon.
This train wreck may just be getting started.
Oh yeah, the Sacramento Kings have their own problems, with the owners agreeing over the weekends to sell their majority share in the team to a Seattle investor. Mayor Kevin Johnson is trying once again to put together a last-second investment group to buy the team but its looking bleak.
Will the Kings play hard, trying to prove something to the NBA? Will fans come in raucous and ready to roll to prove something too?
Must-see TV indeed.
Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013, 8:00 PM MST
Sleep Train Arena
posted by Kris Habbas 3 days ago
373 comments | 2 recs
posted by Kris Habbas 4 days ago
102 comments | 4 recs
The Suns may have had a week off to kick back and relax, but Kris and I are still hard at work. Well, mostly Kris. I deserve credit for working hard about as much as Lindsey Hunter deserves a head coaching job...
*Kris and I are keeping an eye on whether there will be more Suns wins or podcasts this season. Right now they are ahead 13-6, but the Suns got started before us and we think we've got a good chance at picking up some ground.
Innuendo and "inside knowledge" aside, it appears that people in a frenzy to report juicy gossip from across the globe set themselves up for rebuke.
Originally reported by NBA insider extraordinaire, Adrian Wojnarowski, there was a heated altercation that was "really bad" outside the Suns locker room between C Jermaine O'Neal and GM Lance Blanks. Folks used conjecture to determine the nature of the argument, coincidentally juicing up the story in the process.
Phoenix Suns center Jermaine O'Neal and general manager Lance Blanks engaged in a blistering, expletive-laced confrontation in the coach's office on Monday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
"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. Initially, O'Neal had expressed disappointment that his veteran stature hadn't dictated the front office turning to him for counsel in the recent coaching change, a league source told Y! Sports. When O'Neal kept challenging Blanks, the discussion started to become an argument and ultimately a screaming match.
Jermaine O'Neal responded vehemently tonight via twitter.
So there's a mole in the Suns front office feeding things to insiders several thousand miles away. Woj has great sources, so it's likely the two men had some kind of discussion that was overheard by someone who wanted more and more stuff leaked to the media and chose this opportunity to do it.
What actually happened between O'Neal and Blanks is still up in the air, but it sure appears that maybe someone stepped a little too lively over their bounds.
Alvin Gentry appeared on the Gambo and Burns show on 620KTAR earlier today and spoke about the details surrounding his departure from the Suns. The full interview, which at times took the structure of a Q&A session, can be heard here.
Here are some of the highlights:
When asked about the classification of his departure as a "mutual parting" Gentry responded:
I think that obviously they wanted to make a change and they told me that I would no longer be the coach here. They had a right to do that. After talking and everything, they thought it was best for their franchise.
I said, ‘Ok. It's time to move on.'
I wish Robert nothing but the best. He has been great to me. He's been great to my family and I told him that. He's been great to me from a career standpoint.
On the Suns decision to pass over Majerle and Turner for the interim coaching job :
I thought they were well qualified. I thought they could have done a great job with it, but the powers that be decided to go another direction. If you're asking me if I think their feelings were hurt, obviously they were and I think they were very disappointed that one of them didn't get the opportunity to do it.
When posed the question, "Were you ever comfortable with the presence of Lindsey Hunter?":
(five second pause) I don't think it's that important to answer that. It is what it is. Like I said, the decisions have been made and everybody moves on. It is what it is.
Gentry spoke of his appreciation for the fans and the friendships he had made. He refused to name specifics in terms of the people who did and didn't support him within the organization.
Two things that struck me and one that didn't.
1. Gentry reiterated several times that it was the Suns decision for him to leave, not his.
2. Gentry twice expressed thanks to Robert Sarver, once early in the audio and again towards the end. He said that he respects Sarver and that Sarver has tried to do what it takes to win.
3. Gentry doesn't appear to approve of Lindsey Hunter's promotion (shocking).
Gentry's favorite postseason and regular season games: