You don’t get to hire three general managers unless you’re the owner. The next hire by Suns president Lon Babby will be his last at the GM position. He will either nail the hire and retire as a success or be fired along with this upcoming hire. This will be his last one and then he’s done hiring.
Rebuilding an NBA team takes years. So many people love to point at the Oklahoma City Thunder. “That’s how you build a franchise,” they’ll say. I think we all know that the Thunder are how you build a franchise, but do not act like there wasn’t pain. Second-to-last in the West in 2007. Last in 2008. Thirteenth in 2009. Playoffs and a 50-win season in 2010.
The Seattle SuperSonics made one spectacular trade when an NBA owner made a terribly cheap move and traded away a player (Kurt Thomas) and two first round picks to Seattle just because he didn’t want to pay the luxury tax. That’s right, Seattle gave up only a second round pick (and the non-guaranteed contract that goes with it) so one team could dump their salary.
The Sonics/OKC made great trades and draft picks to get to where they are today. The Suns have made some great trades to set themselves up for the future. They have failed in the draft. In two years of drafting, the Suns have Markieff Morris and Kendall Marshall to show for it. The Thunder got Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Harden during their down years. The great trades are meaningless if you’re not drafting home runs or at least doubles.
Lon Babby will never get enough credit for getting the Suns out of the Warrick, Childress, Turkoglu, Richardson, and Lopez mistakes. I don’t think Lon Babby will ever get enough blame for the Lance and Lindsey era of Suns history. The next two months will determine if the Suns are headed on the OKC path or blazing a trail with the Wizards and Bobcats.