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Babby: Lindsey Hunter is still ‘very much a candidate’ for head coach job

The Phoenix Suns’ decision to send general manager Lance Blanks on his way was seen as a negative sign for Lindsey Hunter’s chances of remaining the team’s head coach.

After all, it was Blanks who brought Hunter on board to begin with, and it was Blanks who tapped Hunter to replace Alvin Gentry on an interim basis.

So without the man who appeared to be his greatest ally, what chance does a coach who guided the team to a 12-29 record have going forward?

“I called Lindsey [Monday] and we’ve been in touch since the end of the season, and Lindsey knows that he’s still very much a candidate for the job,” Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said at a press conference Tuesday. “What I said to him, if all things go according to how I’d like them to go, my strong preference would be to get our front office in place before we make our coaching decision because I think it’s very important that we have alignment between the front office and the coach, and I don’t want to disrupt that if the timing works out as I hope it will.”

That makes sense, but as the team looks for a ‘first-rate talent evaluator’ to replace Blanks, the pages on the calendar will continue to turn. While there may be no rush to make the hires right now, the NBA draft — in which the Suns will have two first-round picks (one a high lottery pick) — is right around the corner, meaning the decisions do need to be made in a timely manner.

“We’re going to get it right,” Babby said. “It’s obviously a critically, critically important summer for us and a critical decision, and I won’t rush to get it right. But there is some urgency as we move more and more into the offseason.

“We can’t control the calendar; the calendar controls us.”

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