Less than two weeks ago, the Phoenix Suns traded backup point guard Sebastian Telfair to the Toronto Raptors for center Hamed Haddadi and a second round draft pick.
Tuesday, Telfair expressed his disappointment (that’s putting it mildly) with the Suns organization, saying he felt he got cheated in his time in the Valley.
Wednesday Lon Babby, the Suns president of basketball operations, joined Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 620 and told the Suns’ side of the story.
“I was disappointed and very surprised by his comments,” Babby said. “I was in very close contact with his agent. We went through a process together as to what would work best for ‘Bassy’ and what would work best for the Suns. He was well aware and indeed involved with my authorization and some discussion with some teams about trying to find him a happy landing place.
“There was never any promise on my part that we would move him or wouldn’t move him, but if we found a place that was acceptable to him, we would consider it. Toronto was one of those places and we got back what we thought we needed in that deal and every indication I got was that it was a place that Sebastian wanted to go and was happy to go to.”
Since arriving in Toronto, Telfair has been relegated to head coach Dwayne Casey’s bench. The nine-year pro has played a total of seven minutes in the six games he’s been with the team, which might have an effect on his mood.
“He’s not playing a lot up there, but I can’t control that,” Babby said. “I don’t really know what’s at the source of those comments and if you go back and look at what I said at the time we made the trade, we said one of the reasons we made the trade was to accomodate him, and that’s the fact.”
Telfair averaged 6.0 points and 2.5 assists in 46 games for the Suns this season, but had seen his playing time dwindle in February. He had played in only two of the Suns’ first nine games of the month leading up to the trade.
Despite helping put together the deal that sent him north of the border, Babby isn’t totally unsympathetic to Telfair’s plight.
“It’s emotional, it’s tough to leave your family, it’s not an easy thing,” Babby said. “And so I cut him a tremendous amount of slack in that and he’s left his family here and hasn’t played a whole lot in Toronto yet, so I don’t read too much into it.
“But I do think it’s important that fans and people understand that we’re about treating our players as fairly as we can.”