In an open letter to Phoenix Suns fans, managing partner Robert Sarver expressed his confidence in general manager Ryan McDonough, while at the same time expressing his disappointment that the team will miss the playoffs for a sixth straight season.
“I can assure you that no one is more disappointed than I am, nor does anyone accept more of the blame,” Sarver wrote in a letter posted on the Suns website. “It’s important you know that we will not rest until we are competing at the highest level once again.”
This year hasn’t been a kind season for Suns fans. At 15-44, Phoenix is one of the worst teams in the NBA and has been plagued by the drama that surrounded former Suns forward Markieff Morris.
Morris was traded to the Washington Wizards in a deadline deal that brought back to Phoenix Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair along with a protected draft pick. On Sunday the Suns waived Humphries, a move that followed the team releasing Blair.
Hornacek was replaced by Earl Watson on an interim basis, who won his first game on Saturday as the Suns snapped a franchise-high eight-game home losing streak and a 13-game overall skid.
“As someone who grew up a Suns fan, I have great appreciation and respect for the unwavering loyalty this community possesses for its first professional sports team,” Sarver wrote. “With that loyalty comes a fair expectation that the Suns compete at a high level on a regular basis, while representing our city with the utmost integrity. Candidly, we have not lived up to either of those expectations in the past two seasons.”
The Suns have not made the playoffs since the 2009-10 season where they lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers, who went on to win the NBA Finals.
The six-year playoff drought is the longest in franchise history and has tested the patience of fans who are used to success.
From 1988-89 to 2000-01, the Suns made the playoffs 13 straight years. During that same time until 2009-10 the Suns were in the playoffs 19 times during that 22 year period.
However, since 2009-10 Phoenix has gone 200-253 and is on pace for one of its worst seasons in franchise history.
“The journey back to the top certainly won’t be easy. It will come with its victorious moments and its frustrating ones,” Sarver wrote. “But it will come, just as it did shortly after I acquired the team, where we rebuilt from a 29-win season in 2003-04. Please know, that above all else, you have my word that we will do things the right way, and you and your family will be proud to be Suns fans.”