Kerr's Departure Sets Suns And Threatens Vital Team Chemistry

Unless the team's ownership decides to also change the name of the franchise, the only stability it seems we are entitled to is cheap "Suns" puns when writing headlines.

The reason for Kerr's sudden and completely unexpected departure might never be fully known. He insists it wasn't related to being offered a contract complete with 10 percent pay cut and cited "career and personal" reasons.

No doubt the desire to spend more time with his kids and the opportunity created at TNT by Doug Collins' departure played a factor and at the same time, it is next to impossible to assume that Sarver did everything possible to convince Kerr to stay.

He certainly gave an air of "going out on top," perhaps also seeing the writing on the wall with an inevitable Amar'e departure and the eventual decline of Grant Hill and Steve Nash as those ageless wonders finally succumb to geriatric gravity.

The deed is done and Kerr is gone, leaving Sarver to take the full brunt of what happens next and what happens next is yet another period of adjustment for a team whose recent history is a case study in too much change.

But change wasn't supposed to be on this summer's agenda. Just days ago Kerr said this in a radio interview,

"We know there's going to be changes, there always is. We're going to try to bring as many people back as we can."

At yesterday's press conference, Kerr did his best to stress the continuity with the staff that will remain and down-played his own importance to minimize the impact of his leaving,

"What we've built here is much bigger than any one individual. It's a winning culture of togetherness and unity and that's not going to change with my absence."

But the fact remains that Kerr was a calming and influential force with the team. He bridged the gap between ownership and the coaches and players and he was on exactly the same page with Alvin Gentry. Team trusted him and, as a result, trusted Sarver. Now that important link is gone.

Unless the Suns promote Senior VP of Basketball Operations David Griffin to the job, there will be a huge period of adjustment for anyone coming from the outside and that new GM will be walking right into the middle of the toughest player decision the team has ever faced (Amar'e).

The wrong decision here, along with a negative reaction from Nash and Hill, would threaten to destroy the greatest asset the 2009/10 Suns had going -- chemistry.

But hey, it always could be worse. Just look at the mess up in Portland.

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