SBD/January 24, 2013/Franchises

Suns Owner Sarver Defends Front Office, Direction Of The Team

Sarver admitted that the team currently is in a rebuilding phase
Suns Owner Robert Sarver said that his "confidence in the front office he's assembled has not been shaken, even with the questionable hire of Lindsey Hunter" to replace fired coach Alvin Gentry, according to Adam Green of ARIZONASPORTS.com. As of now, the Suns are "not getting the benefit of the doubt." Media and fans "seem to think the team is heading in the wrong direction, and have little faith that things will turn around in the near future." Sarver said of promoting Hunter, "If [GM Lance Blanks] and [President Lon Babby] wanted to do the easy thing and the popular thing, they wouldn't have done that. I want people working for me who are committed to doing what they think is in the best interest of moving this franchise forward. That's what they did." He added, "Whether they made the right decision or not, time will tell" (ARIZONASPORTS.com, 1/23). Sarver said, "It’s the same plan we’ve had for the last 12 months. We’re rebuilding our team. And unless you have a Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, that can be pretty tough to do.” He said Babby gives the club a "level of sophistication on contracts that we’ve never had.” He said that the "internal view on Blanks is much different than his image, which isn’t very good." Sarver: "His track record will stand for itself. He’ll have a record that he’ll be judged on." Sarver said that he has "received complaints from only 20 season-ticket holders." In Phoenix, Dan Bickley notes after the "Kings were sold for $525 million, some wondered if Sarver would look to sell the franchise, which he and his investors purchased for $404 million in 2004." Sarver said that the Kings' price tag is "misleading because Sacramento is one of two NBA franchises with short-term lease agreements, which enhances their value." Bickley notes while Sarver "concedes the Suns might be worth that, he says he’s never had an offer, and never had a single conversation about selling the franchise" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/24).

RISING PHOENIX: Sarver appeared on Phoenix's KTAR-AM and was asked about the "negativity" surrounding the organization. He said, "I think it's a good story for a lot of guys like you, and a lot of you guys that made up a lot of stuff that's completely inaccurate and unfactual." Sarver, when asked of Blanks' public relations skills, said, "That's not his job. Yes, I'd like him to do a little better. I'd wish he'd spend some time with some of you guys, so you can give him a fair shake. But his job is to put together a basketball team ... and I think he knows how to do that and I think he'll do a good job" (ARIZONASPORTS.com, 1/23).
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