Updated Apr 16, 2014 - 12:55 pm
If you dislike Robert Sarver, don't read this!
We like having him to blame for everything that's wrong with the planet, the country, the economy...Phoenix.
Life seemed great when we could fall back on knowing everything would be better if it wasn't for him.
Fight it all you want. Go into denial for as long as you feel it's deserved. It's time to read words you don't want to see.
Robert Sarver is doing a good job. He is trending towards the title of "good NBA owner."
I realize I have a very limited number of sentences left for you to read before you never look at a blog of mine again. I'm sure you've lost what little respect you had for me but current reality needs to be realized.
This isn't a recantation on things I've said in the past. The Joe Johnson trade might have cost the Suns a championship. Allowing your coach to be GM and sell off draft picks was a disaster. The Kurt Thomas trade was one of the cheapest moves in basketball history and the recipient became a power franchise. I could go on but there's one thing you have to remember when you read those sentences -- all of those are in the past.
This was an owner that used to follow a plan for a few minutes and then berate his executive staff for failure and demand a change in path. He stepped in front of his GM to bring us Shaquille O'Neal. When he let go of his GM and allowed Amar'e Stoudemire to leave for nothing, Sarver signed Hakim Warrick, Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu before hiring a new GM. He wasn't with Donald Sterling or Mike Brown on the list of world's worst owners, but he was also not part of the solution.
I get why you're upset at Robert Sarver. From 2010 until around December of 2013, I can understand if you said to yourself that you'd never forgive Robert Sarver. However, have you looked at what he's done since?
Sarver hired Lon Babby to be the contract guru so the talent evaluator didn't also have to be the cap and contract expert. Although Babby's tenure started with the horific hiring of Lance Blanks as GM, Sarver only got in the way once. Thankfully, Sarver brought back Goran Dragic before Blanks signed the wrong point guard which would have set the franchise back five years. Sarver allowed Babby and Blanks to sink or swim. Even when Blanks orchestrated the ridiculous removal of Alvin Gentry and pole vault promotion of Lindsey Hunter over Elston Turner and Dan Majerle, Sarver stood up to his critics without caving. Sarver hired basketball people and sat back allowing those people to dictate course.
When it was clear that it was going to crash and burn, Sarver didn't overreact and fire both Babby and Blanks. One of his best moves over the last three years was to keep the very unpopular Babby. Firing Babby would have been the easy thing to do, but it would have added another two years to the rebuilding process. Now look at how much better Babby looks one year later.
The future of the Suns is bright -- they finished one game out of the playoffs and have three first round picks and more protected picks upcoming on the horizon. That doesn't happen without Jeff Hornacek and Ryan McDonough, who were hired by Lon Babby, who was retained by the now UN-meddling owner Robert Sarver.
As much as we all love Steve Nash, how bad would that contract extension have been if he was still a Sun? It would have been very easy for Sarver to "save Steve" and re-sign him over Babby's advice so Sarver doesn't look like the owner that shipped out Steve Nash. If Sarver would have demanded playoffs this year at the trade deadline, who knows what crazy deal the Suns would be forced to do. Losing future draft picks for an no. 8 seed is the definition of insanity. Let these players fail. Let them learn from 2014 and come back stronger. Stick to the plan even if the brutal schedule ends all hopes.
Robert Sarver did all of those things. If the Suns were owned by this Robert Sarver eight years ago, we wouldn't be where we are right now. You can't hide from it. Robert Sarver has improved dramatically as an owner. His front row/mid-court seats are gone. The foam-finger is hidden in a back room. Robert Sarver is no longer clamoring for your attention. It's funny, but now that he's finally not trying to earn your respect, this could be the moment where you owe him just that.
Doug Franz, Co-host of Doug & Wolf