Suns Fire GM Lance Blanks After Worst Record In 44 Years
Suns GM Lance Blanks "was fired Monday with the Suns eating his seven-figure salary for the fourth contract year,” according to Paul Coro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. The Suns finished '12-13 with their "worst record in 44 years" at 27-55, and "amid the losing, Blanks did not inspire confidence or embrace the franchise." Blanks “alienated staff by emphasizing that the Suns’ past, as the NBA’s fourth-winningest franchise, was lacking because they never had won a championship.” He was “not a classic general manager because Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver instituted a new format" with Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby "in control." Blanks had “internal- and public-communication shortcomings.” Those were “exemplified" when he called assistants Elston Turner and Dan Majerle to tell them they had not been named head coach, “but would not reveal his choice.” Still, Babby "handled the conventional GM duties of negotiating trades and contracts and nearly all media duties and public appearances.” Now the “long-held internal hope that popular former Suns player" and current Clippers F Grant Hill, who "plans on retiring, will patch up a strained relationship with Babby, his former agent, and return as GM has been resuscitated.” Babby will “search for a new talent evaluator and he remains the head of the effort to revive the Suns after recently signing a two-year extension" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/23).
DO THE DINOSAUR: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Robert MacLeod notes Raptors President & GM Bryan Colangelo is “entering into the team-option phase of his contract” with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, but so far there has been “no indication from the MLSE board if it is planning on welcoming him back.” Colangelo said, “There has been a lot of speculation about whether or not I’m coming back. I’m anticipating that that will be resolved over the next two to three weeks.” MacLeod notes there were “rumblings during the course of the season that a rift had developed” between Colangelo and Raptors coach Dwane Casey, that they “were not seeing eye-to-eye on how the on-court product was being utilized.” But Colangelo said that other than the "normal strains that invariably crop up between the coach and the GM during the course of a long season, there is no problem between the two men” (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/23). Colangelo yesterday said of the team potentially reaching the playoffs next season after a five-year postseason absence, “I will take that squarely on my shoulders and say that is the new expectation going into next year” (TORONTO STAR, 4/23).