DOUG AND WOLF
Thoughts from Newsmakers Week, Day 3: Majerle and Anderson in studio
Newsmakers Week 2018! It’s the ninth straight year and 10th overall on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Every day this week I’ll give you a quick rundown of my thoughts on the comments of each guest throughout the week.
Arizonasports.com is the place to go for a more complete rundown of the exact quotes from each newsmaker.
Blunt. Honest. Fair. Passionate. Exactly what you’d expect.
All Dan Majerle fans need to know is the strongest thing he said was he’s staying. Deeply invested into Grand Canyon University, the head coach has no intention of this being a stepping stone. He loves coaching college basketball, working with the man that drafted him to come to Phoenix (Jerry Colangelo) and living in Phoenix. This is the job that offers all three.
My biggest takeaway, though, wasn’t GCU related. Majerle had no problem with what Steve Kerr did, allowing his players to run timeouts. He also didn’t think Kerr did it to stick it to an old employee. Obviously, the Suns’ record had a lot to do with it, but not a revenge factor. The takeaway was Majerle’s response when we asked what would happen to the other team if a coach did it to Barkley, Chambers and him in his glory days with the Suns. I’ll let you listen.
Suns president and CEO is a Marine and a lawyer. I have a ton of respect for him. He gave us the hard date of 2022 as when the Suns’ lease ends with the arena, if the building is deemed to be obsolete. He sounded completely open to a lot of different possibilities.
I would like to see a downtown arena shared by the Coyotes and Suns. I’ve never felt like both sides are really on the same page to make that happen. Although the on-court product borders on disgusting at times, the Suns are fantastic at arena management. It is vital to downtown that events are continually filling up dates. Since the Suns excel at this, they deserve to run the arena. However, I don’t think 30 percent of Phoenix, Maricopa County or Arizona residents would vote to use tax-payer dollars to build an arena with Robert Sarver as the Suns owner.
I do think there would be tax-payer support for a shared arena downtown. I’m sure the Coyotes are totally interested in moving downtown. I assume they would argue sharing revenues with the Suns would be totally fair. I disagree: why would the city “fire” the Suns as an arena management institution? If the Suns are still in charge, they deserve the same share of the revenue and shouldn’t have to share some with the Coyotes.
I think this issue has a clear-cut solution that would be fair for all sides: Suns and Coyotes move downtown together, the Coyotes pay rent to the city and the Suns and the Suns run the mostly tax-payer funded arena. In exchange for the arrangement, Robert Sarver agrees to put a team that reaches the Western Conference finals within four years of arena completion. If he fails, he must sell the team or buy the arena to refund all tax payer money. If he sells, the Coyotes have the right to share all revenues with the new owner.
I know the player. I don’t know the man. It was obvious talking to him during the break that he will be a GM if he wants to be.
Related: Suns VP of basketball ops James Jones sees a fluid timeline
The most fascinating conversation was off-air. I couldn’t believe the degree to which he accepts analytics. Most former players hate the analytic movement. Jones not only embraces it, but he’s an advocate.
It was really important for me to talk with him. I was blown away by his resume when he arrived. I’ve had some great conversations with him in the past while on ASU football road trips. Despite this, I didn’t like the way things transpired from the end of the UofA game until the second window of recruiting. On Newsmakers Week, both he and Herm Edwards discussed how the process has gone recently. It may have been that they used more clarity. The situation, possibly, evolved throughout the recruiting season. Either way, I felt better about the train this morning because it was made clear that Edwards is 100 percent in charge of recruiting.
I do think ASU is making a mistake if they don’t keep up with the Joneses. Anderson made it clear that he expects to compete as a top five team in the country but they don’t need to spend like SEC and Big Ten schools do to get there. I totally disagree. The best coaches will go to where the most money is. The players will always go to the best facilities that cost money. Unless you’re a blue blood destination job, every coach will either fail or succeed on their way to somewhere else. When the coach leaves, the program usually struggles to recover. ASU is trying to play with the big boys in basketball by signing Bobby Hurley to an extension. If ASU wants to truly compete for the college football playoff, they have to pay the coaches the going rate. Right now, they say they don’t need to. I’m not saying the SEC should be spending money like it’s water but don’t ask why they put more teams in the playoff each year than the Pac-12 has placed in its entire existence.