PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns are struggling. They have been since the season started in late October.
With a record of 20-24 and currently four games out of playoff contention fans are understandably frustrated. After all, this is a team that was within two wins of making the NBA Finals just last season.
After their 114-107 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday, their third in a row and fourth straight to the Bobcats, Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby called in to the Planet Orange Postgame Show on Sports 620 KTAR.
Babby began with trying to further explain a question a season ticket holder had to show host Jon Bloom earlier in the show.
"I wanted to clarify one thing that was said, much, much of what the fans are saying in expressing their frustration that we are obviously feeling and I appreciate and listen carefully to what they say," Babby said. "One of your callers called in to talk about our town hall meeting and I think the way it was described we must have done a poor job of communicating because -- and I want to make sure we clarify and didn't go unanswered -- this notion that we were suggesting that all NBA players are money grubbing and that it was all about the money.
"The question was ‘at the end of the day would a free agent come to Phoenix?' and I think [Suns owner] Robert's [Sarver] response was that in his experience, and in my experience as an agent, that at the end of the day players largely make decisions based on money and there was nothing wrong with that. We thought Phoenix would always be a place of great attraction to players because it was a destination and that we were taking a lot of little steps internally to make sure that continued and that we thought that we could be extremely liable in the free agent market.
"I apologize to that season ticket holder for obviously not being clear enough in the message we were sending in that meeting and I didn't want to leave it unanswered."
With the current state of the Suns, Babby wanted to make it clear the Suns brass is working on fixing the present but also always keeping the future in mind and trying to set the Suns up to be the best they can be.
"Rest assured, I go to work every day with the idea of formulating together with Lance [Blanks] and our front office a sensible plan that not only addresses the short term but primarily the long term," Babby said. "We know there is going to come a day when Steve [Nash] and Grant [Hill] aren't here. Hopefully that is far into the future but we're also realistic about that."
The trade the Suns made earlier this season was to hopefully address current problem, the Suns defense and lack of size down around the basket, and also put them in a good position for the future. They knew they were getting a center in Marcin Gortat, who is under contract through 2013.
"Part of the reason we made the trade that we made was to begin to lay the foundation for getting better in the future; getting an extra draft choice, bringing in Gortat who is signed to a long term reasonable contract that allows us to fill an important need on our team," Babby said. "Also, because moving Hedo out and freeing up additional cap room puts us in a much better cap position and gives us much greater flexibility if not next year then the following year."
In return with Gortat the Suns received Vince Carter, who has an expiring contract, and Mickael Pietrus.
"We're obviously evaluating and trying to take steps that help us in the short run but also put us in good position under the new collective bargaining agreement when that occurs. There are just a lot of unknowns on what the rules are going to be so we can't have a plan written in stone. The notion that we're not thinking about this 24 hours a day, seven days a week is erroneous."