Green: Are the wrong people fixing the Suns?

Dec 20, 2010, 11:12 PM | Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 4:24 pm

We always like it when messes are cleaned up. Whether it’s
the food that was spilled onto the floor, the garbage the
dog emptied or the remnants of the latest storm, cleaning
up is generally an arduous, tedious process.

Usually, though, if we are the ones who made the mess we
are generally capable of cleaning it up ourselves. After
all, it’s not difficult to grab a paper towel, pick things
up and throw stuff away. But when it comes to cleaning up
a sports franchise, are the ones who made the mess the
right people for the job of cleaning things up?

The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t think so, as they dumped
Josh Byrnes and later his former assistant for Kevin
Towers, bringing new blood and a fresh perspective to the
struggling franchise.

The Phoenix Coyotes couldn’t afford to let Wayne Gretzky’s
guy Mike Barnett continue to lead an inept front office,
as he was replaced by Don Maloney shortly before Gretzky
himself left the scene.

Early indications are that both franchises who found
outside help to do the cleanup work are on the right
track, as one could argue the Diamondbacks and Coyotes
have the brightest futures when it comes to Valley
professional sports.

On the other hand, both the Arizona Cardinals and Phoenix
Suns have found themselves in messy situations and, unlike
their Valley brethren, are moving forward with the hope
that the very same people who dug the hole are going to be
the same ones to help the team climb out.

As far as the Cardinals are concerned, it makes sense to
let Ken Whisenhunt and co. fix things. The team has
experienced an unprecedented amount of success under his
stewardship and it would be foolish to forget it all over
one bad season. While the head coach’s choice of
quarterbacks doomed the 2010 season, if he can fix that
one problem things will look exponentially better next
season (if there is a next season).

The Suns, though, do not have any kind of track record
with this current regime other than the one that includes
an offseason that could be described as confusing, at

The Suns’ latest trade, shipping out Jason Richardson,
Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark may have been explained as a
move that makes the team better, but rest assured, it does
not. At least, it doesn’t make them better right now.

What it does do is create a little more flexibility for
the future which, while sounding great, is only useful if
the people in charge do not make a mess of things – again.

There was a time recently when the Suns had great
flexibility. They had no real bad contracts on the books,
had a big expiring deal on the roster and some talented
young players on cheap rookie deals. Then, in a panic move
to prove he wasn’t cheap, Robert Sarver went out and added
questionable contracts (Channing Frye, Josh Childress,
Hakim Warrick) and a bad player (Turkoglu).

Sure, you might be thinking about how Lon Babby is in
charge now, that he and Lance Blanks had nothing to do
with creating a roster full of small forwards and are now
working to fix the owner’s mistakes. Well, if you believe
Babby, who had been linked to the Suns for a while and
used to be the player agent for Turkoglu and Childress had
nothing to do with their coming to the Suns I have
some swampland in Florida…

The point is the failure Babby called “a noble experiment”
with regards to the Turkoglu acquisition and the rotation
issue that comes from a glut of wing players head coach
Alvin Gentry has alluded to is not something this current
regime walked into and has to fix; no, they created this
mess on their own.

That Suns management was willing to admit their mistake a
quarter of the way through the season is impressive. It
shows they may be more interested in winning than saving
face – that’s a good thing. The problem is this regime has
been in charge for just a few months and they’ve already
swung and missed a few times. A few more misses and
they’ll not only challenge former Diamondback Mark
Reynolds’ record for whiffs in a season but also set the
Suns on a path of ineptitude that they have not seen in a
long, long time.

Adam can be reached with your questions and comments by

, and you can follow him on Twitter @theAdamGreen

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