Lon Babby and Ryan McDonough responded to Goran Dragic's comments regarding the Suns front office.

Typically when covering a press conference I don't take anything away of real significance. It's a show to say some clichés, keep a franchise in the news cycle and to try to generate some cheap fan excitement.

What happened at the U.S. Airways practice court Friday morning was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby and general manager Ryan McDonough went to the podium with a message they wanted to get across and they made sure they did.

Usually these introductory pressers are speaking to the fan base, but this one wasn't anything like that. The Suns front office contingent spoke, in addition to the fans, to the players on the roster, players no longer on the roster, players around the league, agents and executives alike.

Front and center of the 30 something minutes back and forth with the media was guard Goran Dragic's comments stating " Yea. I don't trust (the Suns front office) anymore. It's happened too many times, two or three times. They give promises but you know, (shakes head)."

It's fair to say Babby and McDonough didn't take kindly to that assertion and they didn't hide their displeasure. Phoenix's president of basketball operations didn't wait for a question to address the topic; he discussed Dragic's slights in his opening statement.

"I wanted to offer a robust response to some of the comments made by Goran and his representatives," started Babby.  "We have absolutely no problem and take no issue with his right to decide where he's gonna play when he becomes a free agent, and the role that he wants to have on the team that he's going to be playing for. That's his prerogative, his right and we fully respect that.

"What I personally take issue with however, are the unfair and I think unwarranted aspersions on our front office, and indirectly as an organization as a whole." -Lon Babby


"What I personally take issue with however, are the unfair and I think unwarranted aspersions on our front office, and indirectly as an organization as a whole. In all my years as a professional, as a lawyer, as an agent, as an executive -- I've learned that the only thing you have at the end of the day is your integrity and your trustworthiness. It has always been my view that I will operate at the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and those people that work with me will operate in the same fashion. I'm confident that we do that.

"In the last year and a half we've made remarkable progress thanks to the work of Ryan, our front office, Jeff and his coaching staff. That doesn't happen without bold moves and hard moves. If some of those moves ruffled Goran's feathers so be it. We won't ever apologize for trying to get better and improve this team. We've made tremendous progress going from 25 wins to 48 wins last year, and solidifying and consolidating that progress this year. I'm very proud of our organization top to bottom.

"I think we are among the most professional and trust worthy organizations and that reflects well on our ownership, on our fans, on our community and most importantly on each and every person who works in this organization. With that we wish Goran good luck in Miami."

If the discussion regarding the past ended with that statement most wouldn't have thought much of it going forward. The Suns organization defended themselves, as they needed to after Dragic's blunt thoughts, but they did it in a manner that wouldn't have caused much commotion.

Well, that wasn't all. Just like Dragic spoke his (or maybe his agents) mind, the Suns front office didn't hold much back as they continued.

"But sometimes players get a little selfish and are more worried about I, me and my then us, are and we" -Ryan McDonough


"Every move we make is with the goal of getting the Phoenix Suns to a championship level," said McDonough.  "Sometimes players view that as a good thing, I think they usually do, the good ones do. But sometimes players get a little selfish and are more worried about I, me and my then us, our and we."

After getting sidetracked in his statement, McDonough went on to continue with:

"I guess I conclude my initial remarks by saying this is a team sport. We're looking for team first guys. This isn't singles tennis. The guys who will be here are the guys that buy in and play the right way. Those who don't will be gone. I think with our actions we showed we're not afraid to shake up or turn over the roster. It's certainly not our preference to do that and I feel like we're getting closer and closer to a team and a core that is pretty good and sustainable long term. We're not going to stop until we get it right."

From all indications the Suns wanted Dragic to be around long-term. If he would have came to them before the trade deadline and told them I'm going to re-sign, Dragic is suiting up in purple and orange tonight when they face the Timberwolves.

Ironically, the Suns went in the direction I had been pushing them to go, but it wasn't by their choice. Was Dragic actually selfish or was he selfish because he made negative comments about the front office and no longer wanted to play for the organization?

I think McDonough is a fantastic general manager and will get this team where they want to go in time. Was it necessary to break out zingers like (no matter how funny I thought it was or the fact I actually agree with the sentiment)  "we've heard a lot of complaints from fans and media that we traded our best player and my response to that is I think Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe are still in Phoenix Suns' uniforms. They're still here."

The theme of selfish and chemistry was something very apparent as McDonough and Babby spoke. This is something I like to avoid in writing because there is no way to truly decipher what's going on. When Dragic ripped the front office he had reason to twist his voice in a certain way, much like Babby and McDonough did to convey their perspective.

The Suns tried to accomplish a goal this offseason and it fell short. Bringing in Isaiah Thomas, a move I supported and still believe was the right decision, didn't work. Putting two and two together he wasn't happy with his role as he was shipped out of town despite being on a team friendly contract for someone of his talent level.

The specific reasons this group wasn't able to mesh and form a cohesive unit is a question we will most likely never get a full answer to.

The ripple effect of how Lon Babby and Ryan McDonough decided to address the shortcomings of what they tried to build is something we will find out about in the future.

Lon Babby and Ryan McDonough responded to Goran Dragic's comments regarding the Suns front office.

Typically when covering a press conference I don't take anything away of real significance. It's a show to say some clichés, keep a franchise in the news cycle and to try to generate some cheap fan excitement.

What happened at the U.S. Airways practice court Friday morning was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Phoenix Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby and general manager Ryan McDonough went to the podium with a message they wanted to get across and they made sure they did.

Usually these introductory pressers are speaking to the fan base, but this one wasn't anything like that. The Suns front office contingent spoke, in addition to the fans, to the players on the roster, players no longer on the roster, players around the league, agents and executives alike.

Front and center of the 30 something minutes back and forth with the media was guard Goran Dragic's comments stating " Yea. I don't trust (the Suns front office) anymore. It's happened too many times, two or three times. They give promises but you know, (shakes head)."

It's fair to say Babby and McDonough didn't take kindly to that assertion and they didn't hide their displeasure. Phoenix's president of basketball operations didn't wait for a question to address the topic; he discussed Dragic's slights in his opening statement.

"I wanted to offer a robust response to some of the comments made by Goran and his representatives," started Babby.  "We have absolutely no problem and take no issue with his right to decide where he's gonna play when he becomes a free agent, and the role that he wants to have on the team that he's going to be playing for. That's his prerogative, his right and we fully respect that.

"What I personally take issue with however, are the unfair and I think unwarranted aspersions on our front office, and indirectly as an organization as a whole." -Lon Babby


"What I personally take issue with however, are the unfair and I think unwarranted aspersions on our front office, and indirectly as an organization as a whole. In all my years as a professional, as a lawyer, as an agent, as an executive -- I've learned that the only thing you have at the end of the day is your integrity and your trustworthiness. It has always been my view that I will operate at the highest levels of professionalism and integrity, and those people that work with me will operate in the same fashion. I'm confident that we do that.

"In the last year and a half we've made remarkable progress thanks to the work of Ryan, our front office, Jeff and his coaching staff. That doesn't happen without bold moves and hard moves. If some of those moves ruffled Goran's feathers so be it. We won't ever apologize for trying to get better and improve this team. We've made tremendous progress going from 25 wins to 48 wins last year, and solidifying and consolidating that progress this year. I'm very proud of our organization top to bottom.

"I think we are among the most professional and trust worthy organizations and that reflects well on our ownership, on our fans, on our community and most importantly on each and every person who works in this organization. With that we wish Goran good luck in Miami."

If the discussion regarding the past ended with that statement most wouldn't have thought much of it going forward. The Suns organization defended themselves, as they needed to after Dragic's blunt thoughts, but they did it in a manner that wouldn't have caused much commotion.

Well, that wasn't all. Just like Dragic spoke his (or maybe his agents) mind, the Suns front office didn't hold much back as they continued.

"But sometimes players get a little selfish and are more worried about I, me and my then us, are and we" -Ryan McDonough


"Every move we make is with the goal of getting the Phoenix Suns to a championship level," said McDonough.  "Sometimes players view that as a good thing, I think they usually do, the good ones do. But sometimes players get a little selfish and are more worried about I, me and my then us, our and we."

After getting sidetracked in his statement, McDonough went on to continue with:

"I guess I conclude my initial remarks by saying this is a team sport. We're looking for team first guys. This isn't singles tennis. The guys who will be here are the guys that buy in and play the right way. Those who don't will be gone. I think with our actions we showed we're not afraid to shake up or turn over the roster. It's certainly not our preference to do that and I feel like we're getting closer and closer to a team and a core that is pretty good and sustainable long term. We're not going to stop until we get it right."

From all indications the Suns wanted Dragic to be around long-term. If he would have came to them before the trade deadline and told them I'm going to re-sign, Dragic is suiting up in purple and orange tonight when they face the Timberwolves.

Ironically, the Suns went in the direction I had been pushing them to go, but it wasn't by their choice. Was Dragic actually selfish or was he selfish because he made negative comments about the front office and no longer wanted to play for the organization?

I think McDonough is a fantastic general manager and will get this team where they want to go in time. Was it necessary to break out zingers like (no matter how funny I thought it was or the fact I actually agree with the sentiment)  "we've heard a lot of complaints from fans and media that we traded our best player and my response to that is I think Markieff Morris and Eric Bledsoe are still in Phoenix Suns' uniforms. They're still here."

The theme of selfish and chemistry was something very apparent as McDonough and Babby spoke. This is something I like to avoid in writing because there is no way to truly decipher what's going on. When Dragic ripped the front office he had reason to twist his voice in a certain way, much like Babby and McDonough did to convey their perspective.

The Suns tried to accomplish a goal this offseason and it fell short. Bringing in Isaiah Thomas, a move I supported and still believe was the right decision, didn't work. Putting two and two together he wasn't happy with his role as he was shipped out of town despite being on a team friendly contract for someone of his talent level.

The specific reasons this group wasn't able to mesh and form a cohesive unit is a question we will most likely never get a full answer to.

The ripple effect of how Lon Babby and Ryan McDonough decided to address the shortcomings of what they tried to build is something we will find out about in the future.

The Suns will likely make another move or two in order complete the roster. Could Robinson, Smith, and/or Barron be targets?

After a crazy, frantic NBA Trade Deadline yesterday, the Phoenix Suns have completely changed and re-shaped their roster. Now that the smoke has cleared, it appears that the Suns will have either 12 (if Danny Granger is waived) or 13 (if Granger isn't waived) players on the roster.

Initial reports seem to be suggesting that Granger will likely be waived as well, in order to give those minutes to T.J. Warren. This would make sense being that the Suns no longer need to try to force their way into the playoffs this year, as much as develop their team for the future.

If they do that, they will have at least one spot that they must fill to meet the league minimum of 13 players on the roster, and could potentially sign up to three players if they want to carry the maximum of 15 again.

With this in mind, what positions do they most need to address?

Suns Need Another Point Guard

With the moves that were made, the Suns went from having four players (not counting Archie Goodwin) who could primarily play the point guard position. to just two.  Eric Bledsoe and Brandon Knight are now the only two players on the Suns who can run the point, with Archie Goodwin being the emergency third.

For those who may be asking why Archie couldn't just fill in full time as the third point guard off the bench, the problem with that is Goodwin has shown to be much more effective when playing off the ball, and is a much more natural scorer/slasher than a play-maker who looks to set up others.

Wouldn't it be best for the Suns to continue to develop Goodwin in a role in which he can succeed, rather than forcing him to try to become a player he isn't, and risk stunting his growth as a dynamic scoring guard?

Fortunately, there seems to be a solution. Last year, the Suns also had only two primary ball-handlers playing the majority of minutes, with Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe splitting minutes at the point, and backing each other up when the other needed a breather. This worked wonderfully most of the time, but when the inevitable injury would happen, Phoenix had Ish Smith to come off the bench and help run the offense.

Smith was perfect in his role as the third point guard. He accepted his role, and by all accounts was a great teammate and locker room presence as well. It just so happens that after all of the activity yesterday at the deadline, Smith was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the New Orleans Pelicans, and has since been waived.

Ish is now free to sign with any team he chooses. With the Suns in need of that third point guard off the bench, he certainly seems like a good fit to rejoin Phoenix.

Suns Need Another Power Forward

One position that the Suns didn't address yesterday, was their need to acquire another power forward.

As it stands, the Suns only have one true power forward on the roster in Markieff Morris. The Suns can use Marcus Morris to back up Keep at the four, but he has shown to be more effective playing the three where he can better use his ability to shoot from the perimeter, or beat his man off the dribble to score on jump shots.

The other main option in Brandan Wright, but not only is he a much better fit in the low post where he can catch and dunk passes near the rim, he will now be the only other true center on the roster and will need to back up Alex Len at the five (more on that below).

Fortunately, there is another very attractive possibility for the Suns to consider in this respect as well. Thomas Robinson was traded from the Trail Blazers to the Nuggets yesterday as part of a trade package that sent Arron Afflalo to Portland.

With Denver already having a glut of players who can play the four (I counted seven of them), Robinson and the Nuggets have reportedly, verbally agreed to a buyout on his contract.

Robinson was in the final year of his contract and would be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but now he will be able to sign with any team of his choosing.

And what better fit that the Suns?

If you didn't already know, Robinson is considered the third brother of the Morris' twins. While playing for the Kansas Jayhawks together, Robinson's mother passed away. Markieff and Marcus's mother stepped into that role immediately afterward, and helped provide support to T-Rob, who now considers the Morris family, his family, and the Morris brothers, his brothers. So much so, that the three brothers all share the same "F.O.E." tattoo together as well.

But the Suns also have a need for a player like Robinson. T-Rob is an extremely athletic power forward who excels in transition scoring and rebounding.  What he lacks in size (6' 9"), he makes up for in length (7' 1" wingspan) and leaping ability (36" vertical).

This year, he's averaging only 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in around 12 minutes per game, but if you stretch that out to his per 36 stats, that translates to 10.6 points and 12.2 rebounds.

In addition, Robinson hasn't yet been utilized  in a system like the Suns, in which he can thrive using his athleticism and ability to run the floor. Even as a reserve, the former 5th overall pick in the 2012 draft could make a significant impact.

With Marcus and Markieff already on the Suns together, and Phoenix in need of another power forward, it isn't difficult to connect the dots. I would be surprised if the Suns didn't seriously consider signing Robinson, and if he doesn't choose Phoenix over other potential suitors as well.

Suns Need Another Center

Going back to Brandan Wright now being the only back-up center on the roster behind Alex Len, the Suns not only didn't add size at the trade deadline yesterday, they actually lost it.

Miles Plumlee had been the first, second, and third center on the roster at different times this season. Miles began the season in the starting line-up in front of Alex. However, with Len's development and emergence as the best big man on the roster, Miles was soon demoted to the second unit as Alex took the starting job from him.

Shortly after, the Suns made another move by acquiring Brandan Wright from the Boston Celtics in exchange for a protected first round pick from Minnesota Timberwolves, that will likely convert to two second round picks in 2016 and 2017.

Brandan Wright then took over as the second-string center shortly after, moving Plumlee to third on the depth chart behind him, which prompted Miles and his agent to request a trade.

Although Miles played much better recently, even starting for the Suns ahead of Wright when Len went down with an ankle sprain the week before the All-Star break, the Suns granted Plumlee's request and traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks yesterday as a part of the package that sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix.

However, that leaves the Suns a little short handed at the center position now. Since Shavlik Randolph was traded to the Celtics as a part of the deal that sent Reggie Bullock to the Suns, and Austin Rivers to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this season, the Suns only have two centers on the roster.

Of course, Markieff Morris has proven to be fairly effective playing some minutes at the five, in certain match-ups. But with the Suns also in need of another power forward, they would be stretched fairly thin at both positions if they didn't address it.\

Once again, the Suns have a pretty good option to help remedy this situation. Earl Barron (7' 0", 250 lbs) was a training camp try-out who played very well in the preseason, and was the final cut on the roster that was necessary for the Suns to get down to the 15 player maximum.

Barron signed with the Bakersfield Jam, the Suns D-League affiliate, where he has been very impressive this season. Earl is averaging 20.3 points, and 10.7 rebounds per game for the Jam. And while the D-League stats are always much more impressive than actual NBA stats, especially for big-men, 33 year-old Barron has shown that he can still play at a high level, and could be a very cheap, and attractive option for the Suns as a third center.

The Bottom Line

The Suns will likely need to sign at least one player to the roster in order to meet league requirements, and balance out their team, and I would be surprised if one of the names on this list aren't included.

I think it is also very likely that the Suns will sign two players, a guard and a big man, to help fortify both positions of need. And again, I think the players on this list would make the most sense.

You could also consider last year's second round pick, Alec Brown, to be a dark horse in this race as well. It's also possible that the Suns could elect to bring in the young, 7' 1" sharp-shooting big man to help develop in Phoenix, rather than in Bakersfield where he is currently playing.

However, I think this is less likely right now, as he is still very new and raw, and is just now beginning to find his place on the Jam after playing his first two games there. But he's been fairly impressive overall in his short stint, registering 5 blocks in his first game, and shooting 4/5 from beyond the arc in both games combined, so it's at least a possibility that the Suns could bring him over early.

Either way, If the Suns sign a center like Barron or Brown, or a power forward like Thomas, that may give them enough flexibility to where they won't need to address their other front court deficiency.

For instance, the Suns didn't have another power forward on the roster before the trade deadline, but having Plumlee on the roster as a center gave Phoenix the flexibility to rotate between Brandan Wright and Marcus Morris at the four. They could simply choose to do this again, especially if they decide this season is likely to end in another lottery pick instead of a playoff berth.

But, it is still very possible that the Suns could address all three positions, and bring in all three of the players mentioned above. While I see this as being the least likely scenario, all three players have ties to Phoenix, once way or another, and could all help fill a role, so I wouldn't be surprised if they went this route either.

Regardless, I think it's a safe bet that you can expect at least something else to happen here shortly.

Update:

Suns sign center Earl Barron to a 10-day contract, agent Andre Buck says.

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) February 20, 2015

Nailed it!

A preview of the Suns' game at Minnesota, where the Suns have 10 available players after Thursday's trades.

      
 
 

Here's guessing Goran Dragic is off the Phoenix Suns' Christmas card list.

      
 
 

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