Jim Coughenour

Attention: Lon Babby, Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations.

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Hopefully this graph that propitiates my future success if the position of Suns' General Manager is bestowed upon me has caught your attention. Many people fall into the snare of submitting a nondescript resumé that fails to capture the attention of the reader, so I have attempted to make mine salient and clever.

My objective, as previously alluded to, is to earn the position of General Manger of the Phoenix Suns. If you peruse the remainder of this document I believe you will discover that I am eminently qualified.


I have no formal experience as a GM at any level, but the Suns' organization hasn't let lack of pedigree preclude them from hiring motivated self starters (Lindsay Hunter). Sometimes an infusion of fresh talent will foster renascence in a struggling business. I'm that fresh talent.

Phoenix Suns' fan (12/2/1978 to present)

Not only have I experienced the zeniths and nadirs of 34 years of Suns' basketball as a fan, but I've also been exposed to the foudroyant successes and abject failures of the team in free agency, trades and the draft. I believe that all three of these areas can be exploited to return Phoenix to the traditional prominence of this proud franchise.

By learning from the actions of my (hopefully) predecessors I have been inveterated with a profound knowledge of the inner workings and nuances necessary for a team to thrive in this league. I have been told that I most closely resemble a hybrid of Daryl Morey and Sam Presti, which, although quite flattering, I feel is a fair comparison.

Member of Brightside of the Sun (7/27/2010 to present)

This is where I first revealed my expansive ken of all that is basketball to a larger audience. Since railing against the moves of the Summer of 2010, which felt like a suffocating blanket of impending doom, I have been consistently astute in my judgment of decisions within the Suns organization and throughout the league as a whole. While I have criticized many moves such as Hedo Turkoglu's arrival and Goran Dragic's departure, I have also praised moves such as Hedo's departure and Goran's return. I maintain a latitudinarian perspective with allows me to be captious when necessary and issue encomiums when appropriate.

Staff writer on Brightside of the Sun (5/21/2011 to present)

This is where the rubber hit the road and street credentials gained traction. My body of work has been overwhelmingly captivating, entertaining and informative. Here is a sample of work I've performed in this capacity:


The Composition of the Sun(s). This details shortcomings with the constitution of the current roster.


Phoenix Suns Hamlet style: to tank, or not to tank: that is the question. This should give you insight on my cultured and sophisticated range of interests.


Phoenix Suns franchise building: Choose Your Own Adventure style. This story, which was featured on ESPN Truehoop, delineates the pitfalls of the Suns' recent transgressions.


How Sarver Stole Christmas (and winning). This satire revolves around the timeless classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."


Phoenix Suns Podcast 16: Lon Babby given a license to drive. Here is a sample of the podcasts Kris Habbas and I have collaborated on during the 2012-13 season. This should give you a good example of my polished public speaking.

Additional writing samples can be provided upon request.


My area of expertise as an engineer may not translate perfectly to the position I am seeking, but several of the required classes I took while pursing my degree might adumbrate favorably in the role of GM.

Psychology could be useful in filtering out personalities that aren't conducive to a winning environment (Michael Beasley).

Communications introduced me to effective public speaking, which I've also had a great deal of exposure to professionally as well as in my personal life. I would be happy to help coach Hunter improve upon his deficiency in this area if he continues in his role.

Economics taught me that there is no such thing as a selfless act or a free lunch. These lessons reinforced my core values that I am not entitled to anything. The payoff for an indefatigable and pertinacious approach is the satisfaction of a job well done. I may not always be able to control results, but I can always control my effort.


I am a team player and I will approach this job as a team effort. I realize that my perspicacity has its limitations and I have no problem seeking advice when I lack experience or conviction on an issue. I have no qualms deferring if another person has inspiration which transcends mine with respect to a challenge. I would have superiority based on title and I would welcome the responsibility and accountability of the position (which I feel should start at the top), but the input of my team would be respected and valued.

I don't fear being held accountable for my actions. I may not always be able to control results, but I am fully cognizant that I will be judged based on them. Ultimately, this is a results based business. I will have no problem admitting fault (including falling on the sword) if things go awry while I'm at the helm. If I fail, which I won't, I will leave in a dignified and respectful manner without exhibiting the rancor of a disgruntled former employee.

I boast a robust mélange of characteristics which will translate well to my interactions with the fans and media. I can be blunt, candid, jovial or calculating depending on the situation. I have no problem calling things like I see them, but also understand the appropriate level of subterfuge and misdirection necessary to function in my role. Not everything can be made public knowledge. Everything that can be, though, will be conveyed in the most transparent terms possible. The fans aren't stupid and I won't insult them by treating them as if they are. I don't want them feeling like they can't trust me.

I have the uncanny ability to differentiate between my ass and a hole in the ground, which is something I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear based on what I surmise may be the sketchy qualifications of other applicants and, possibly, former and current employees.


I have received an endorsement from Dave King, whom you have had frequent contact with during the recently completed season, on BSotS (although at least part of his interest in my assumption of this role is the hilarity he believes might ensure based on our interaction).

Kris Habbas, another person you are familiar with, would be someone who will give you an earnest assessment of my qualifications.

Many of the other members on the site have also avered they would support this move. Please feel free to contact any of them.

Additional references can be provided upon request.


I want to thank you for taking the time to peruse my resumé and appreciate any consideration you may give to my application for the vacant position of Phoenix Suns' General Manager. It would be my pleasure to meet with you, informally or as part of an interview process, to expound upon and add to the body of work already presented herein. The Suns have been mired in a morass the last few seasons based on past discretions and the normal tribulations or competing in the NBA. I am the person that can help reverse this trajectory and help bring a championship to the deserving fans of the Phoenix Suns. We can do it, Lon, if you will give me the opportunity to work with you.


Jim Coughenour


Rise like a Phoenix! It's a simile full of cheese and a cliche that's used far too often. But in the case of THIS Phoenix Suns franchise, it might just be justified.

It's a well-known path that led this club to their current state of ruinous ashes. The mistakes are numerous. The decisions fateful. But that's the past and all that matters now is the future and as Mr. King so aptly stated, the most important decision is the replacement for the failed Lance Blanks.

Today, we get our first hints at who might be on that list and the names are intriguing to say the least, starting with Grant Hill.

Phoenix Suns, General Manager Lance Blanks part ways
The long-held internal hope that popular former Suns player Grant Hill, who plans on retiring, will patch up a strained relationship with Babby, his former agent, and return as GM has been resuscitated. Suns Ring of Honor member Charles Barkley has expressed hopes of being a GM and met Sarver for the first time this year, but the organization could not compete with his TNT salary.

[emphasis added]

Grant Hill. The guy who once told me that he wanted to stay involved in basketball after his playing career was over. The guy whose family still resides in Phoenix. The man who would walk in the door with instant credibility and respect.

He's almost the perfect partner for Lon Babby and one would have to think that their long relationship could overcome a little blip that came after Lon (rightly) only offered Grant a one-year deal last summer.

But the story doesn't end there. Other names mentioned in Coro's report include:

[...]Milwaukee assistant GM Jeff Weltman to people with local ties like Tony Ronzone (USA Basketball scouting director and Dallas player personnel director), Eddie Johnson (Suns analyst) and David Griffin (Cleveland vice president of basketball operations) to experienced, out-of-work GMs like David Morway (Indiana fame) and Mark Warkentien (Denver).

It all makes you wonder if SB Nation's Tom Ziller is onto something when he wrote the following about the Suns situation:

A very odd straw on Lance Blanks' back ends his Suns career -
Basically, it looks like the Suns' bosses -- Babby and Sarver -- used Blanks as a hatchet man, and made sure he cut off his own legs in the process.

I scratch my head over this one.

Lon Babby is a very smart guy. I don't put it past him to look at the situation facing the team he took over and determine his first task was to clear the decks of all the mistakes his boss made in the Summer of Sarver (2010) and realize that the process was ALWAYS going to painful. Bringing in a fall guy to do the dirty work does make sense.

If that was his plan, he picked a perfect guy to bumble his way through the next few years while managing to avoid any fatal mistakes, namely taking on a massive contract for a player like Rudy Gay or Josh Smith.

Then again, it's easy to ascribe motives like this in hindsight and it implies a level of deceit and ruthlessness that I'd rather not put on Lon's head.

We can argue if the Suns should have started to rebuild two years sooner, but that horse is beaten, dead and buried. Now, the decks are clear and the Suns have assets to work with so they can...well, rise from the ashes. The idea that Grant Hill could be the guy to come in and lead that process is very promising indeed.


Today, the Phoenix Suns released a statement that Lance Blanks has left the organization.

I can't tell you how happy I am to hear this news. Lon Babby, recently extended for two more seasons as the President of Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns, has made the first huge step in the next phase of rebuilding the Suns.

Per the news release:

"Lance has been a trusted friend and colleague," said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon 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."

A press conference has been scheduled for NOON on Tuesday. Either Kris or I or both of us will be there.

This is the most excited I have felt since 2010, folks. I don't yet know how to put my feelings into words.

More analysis to come soon.


It was a small step for Lon Babby, but the first big step for Suns-kind.

Now that Lon Babby has taken what I believe is the first step in the rebuilding of the Phoenix Suns, his next one will have to be even better.

Sure, it won't be difficult to find a General Manager with better results than Lance Blanks produced. Logic tells me they can't get worse than regressive win totals of 54 to 40 to 33 (in 66 games) to 25 in the last 4 seasons.

The 25 wins were the fewest since the Suns inaugural season in 1968, but many would argue that this past season was the very worst in franchise history. By the end of the season, not a single player wants to be part of a repeat. Not one player wanted the season to continue as it was going.

Goran Dragic said they needed changes. Jared Dudley suggested that everyone on the roster ought to be used as trade bait to get younger talent.

Michael Beasley said the season was very frustrating. Exiled Shannon Brown said he was lied to about playing time opening back up for him. Marcin Gortat said he wouldn't ask great friend, mentor and free agent Jermaine O'Neal to come back.

Behind the scenes, fingers pointed in the general direction of Lance Blanks.

Reportedly, it was Blanks who championed many of the worst (in retrospect) decisions in the past three years. Blanks reportedly felt Goran Dragic wasn't even the second-best PG on the roster in 2011. Blanks targeted Michael Beasley as their #1 free agent. Blanks said Luke Zeller was the best shooter in the world. Blanks tabbed Lindsey Hunter to coach the squad this spring after Alvin Gentry couldn't get them into playoff contention. Blanks somehow made himself invisible to the public and media, leaving media duty to Gentry, Hunter and Babby. In a rare occurrence after the Gentry firing, Blanks said he'd expected no worse than being 10th in the West, but maybe as high as 6th.

The first big step has been taken - the step of acceptance.

To credit the organization, they have not shied away from admitting mistakes. Managing Partner Robert Sarver admitted in 2008 his biggest early mistake was botching the Joe Johnson situation back in 2005 and 2006. Later that spring of 2008, he and Steve Kerr admitted the failure of Terry Porter, eating more than $5 million of his $7.5 million contract.

In the summer of 2009, they offloaded the failed Shaquille O'Neal contract and ate about $10 million of Ben Wallace's contract to let him walk away. After failed signings in 2010, they quickly found a taker for Hedo Turkoglu after only about 20 games. Two summers later, they ate the last $22 million of Josh Childress' 5-year contract to clear cap space for new players.

In the spring of 2011, they traded young PG Goran Dragic and Orlando's just-acquired #1 pick to Houston for Aaron Brooks. A year later, they re-signed Goran Dragic to bring him back where he belonged in the valley. The re-signing was reportedly all Robert Sarver, apparently in a parking lot while Eric Gordon was being wooed inside.

And they finally stopped trading draft picks away, rather acquiring additional ones on top of their own.

There have been a lot of mistakes, but there have also been a lot of examples of admitting those mistakes.

They have now admitted yet another mistake. Lance Blanks is gone, and rookie head coach Lindsey Hunter is sure to follow (though I do still think he did a yeoman's job this spring in very difficult circumstances).

The problem to date hasn't been an inability to admit mistakes.

The problem has been an inability to make great decisions in the wake of those mistakes.

The Suns have yet another chance to hit a home run now. Qualified candidates won't be beating down the doors at US Airways Center. Phil Jackson didn't hop on a plane on Monday night. Neither will many of the other experienced big-name front office guys. The Suns have run their reputation ragged.

But Lon Babby has been good at convincing people the Suns are a destination, and he's got to be at his best in these next few weeks to recruit his next big front office surperstar.

The Suns have a good situation to sell:

  • a rebuilding program with public expectation to lose a lot of games for another year or two
  • 10 draft picks in the next 3 years
  • a top-5 pick in two months
  • lots of cap space to be had
  • solid veterans with trade value
  • not a single "untouchable" player on the roster

Babby's next step is his biggest yet.

"We have to nail it," he said to arizonasports-620 last week in reference to this rebuild.

To everyone's relief that begins with a new GM and a new coach.

In 2012-13, the Phoenix Suns got it so wrong, they actually got it right. That is of course, if the next move is to actually rebuild. Over the previous two seasons, team management assembled rosters...

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