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Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that Suns GM candidate Dell Demps has decided to take a front office position with the New Orleans Hornets.
He also writes that the Suns had officially offered him the position and Demps even stayed overnight at Sarver’s house.
With the former Spurs executive out of the picture, Stein lists Milwaukee Bucks executive Jeff Weltman as a frontrunner.
According to the normally reliable Scott Schroeder from SB Nation's Ridiculous Upside blog, the Suns announcement scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. AZT will the formal introduction of Lon Babby:
Bright Side of the Sun has this on Babby:
Lon Babby is a long-time and very well-respected player agent. Here's a hoopshype link to his NBA client list, and a link to his professional web page. Just look at this list: Grant Hill, Tim Duncan, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen. He's going to have to pass these clients off to someone else in order to take a job with the Suns. Recently, he was agent for Hedo Turkoglu, before handing him off before the Suns trade, and Josh Childress (though he'd split from Chill a while ago). This is a high-class guy who is VERY well respected in the NBA.
Babby will (allegedly) head a newly structured basketball operations department and will oversee the hiring of the next general manger. Leading candidates are (supposedly) Tom Penn and Dell Demps.
Demps is also rumored to be in the running for the recently vacated GM position in New Orleans.
[Note by Seth Pollack, 07/19/10 4:45 PM MST ]
The Lon Babby announcement has been confirmed to SB Nation Arizona from a team source and the Arizona Republic's Bob Young is also reporting the Babby news.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that San Antonio Spurs Vice President of Basketball Operations Dell Demps and former Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Tom Penn have emerged as frontrunners for the open General Manager position with the Suns.
No word yet on how imminent any decision will be, but Lon Babby, who is said to be coming into the organization as President of Basketball Ops, will have some say in the hire.
John Gambadoro of Sports 620 KTAR tweets the following:
Previous reports had Babby linked to the General Manager position, so this news is somewhat surprising. However, there had been rumblings that Babby was more in line for an executive position.
So, the search for a GM is still on. With former top candidate Dennis Lindsey now out of the running, who'll step up as a frontrunner?
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, highly respected player agent Lon Babby has emerged as a favored candidate for the vacant general manager position in Phoenix.
According to the report, Suns owner Robert Sarver has become more interested in a revamped front office structure that emphasizes non-traditional voices in addition to traditional personnel experts.
Babby -- who was a lawyer for the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Orioles before going on to represent NBA players like Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, and Grant Hill -- is said to be strongly considered for this new position.
The Arizona Republic's Paul Coro states that even if Babby is hired, someone from a group of traditional GM candidates would be hired, as well.
Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports that Jason Levien, assistant GM for the Sacramento Kings, is leaving the team.
Sources said Thursday that Levien plans to continue working in the NBA but wanted to pursue other opportunities after two seasons with the Kings.
The timing is curious because, according to SB Nation’s SacTown Royalty, Levien was given a promotion in March of this year.
Stein also notes that Levien’s name has recently come up in discussion about Phoenix’s open general manager position.
ESPN.com reported last month that Levien was one of several names under consideration for the GM opening in Phoenix created by Steve Kerr’s departure. San Antonio assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey is the reported front-runner for the position, but Suns owner Robert Sarver has said he is considering up to 10 candidates, with former New Jersey Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe Milwaukee executive Jeff Weltman also mentioned as likely targets.
Levien is known as an up-and-coming star, a young executive who is an experienced negotiator and good at forging relationships with players.
For all things Suns, check out SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun.
The Suns replace John Shumate with Noel Gillespie as the guy who gets to sit behind the bench and work his butt off without much recognition.
From the official release:
PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have signed Noel Gillespie as the team's assistant coach/advance scout, the club announced.
"Noel is an important member of our coaching staff," said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "In the NBA today it is vital to have someone as diligent as Noel studying and scouting opponents to better prepare our coaches and our team. We appreciate all of his hard work the last two seasons and are thrilled to have him back."
Entering his eighth season overall with the organization, Gillespie earns the promotion after serving the last two seasons as the team's advance scout, a role in which he aided the coaching staff in their game preparation for upcoming opponents. A native of Milwaukee, Wis., Gillespie had previously served as the team's video scouting coordinator for four seasons after joining the franchise in 2003 as assistant video coordinator.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Gillespie got his start with the Indiana Pacers in 2001, assisting the video, scouting and coaching staffs. He then worked as a graduate assistant at Florida State University in 2002 before joining the Suns.
While the Phoenix Suns continue to search for his replacement, Steve Kerr has made it official. He is headed back to TNT television’s broadcasting booth as a "game analyst," according to the Associated Press.
"Part of this is living a normal lifestyle again," Kerr said in a phone interview. "I’ve got family situations I want to be a part of and can stay in the game and be a part of things. I still get to enjoy the game itself but also be in a better position."
According to a press release from TNT, Kerr will "join TNT's NBA Thursday night doubleheader coverage and will be a part of the network's NBA All-Star weekend and NBA Playoffs coverage. In addition, he will be a key contributor for NBATV and NBA.com, providing analysis and commentary for The Finals, All Star Weekend and the NBA Draft."
Sounds like a pretty chill job.
While Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey is seen as the front-runner in Phoenix, Suns owner Robert Sarver has interviewed another another Western Conference executive this week according to Chris Tomasson of Fanhouse.com.
A source told FanHouse that Warkentien, the Nuggets vice president of basketball operations, was granted permission to speak with the Suns, and he talked this week on the phone to Phoenix owner Robert Sarver.
The source said Warkentien’s preference is to remain with the Nuggets after his contract expires Aug. 31. But no deal has been reached on a contract extension, and Warkentien wanted to speak to the Suns.
The source said no formal interview has been set up by Phoenix with Warkentien, and it’s believed the Suns are going to take their time in searching for a replacement for Steve Kerr, who will not return when his contract expires Wednesday.
The latest scoop/gossip on the GM search:
Twitter / Adrian Wojnarowski: Spurs executive Dennis Lin ...
Spurs executive Dennis Lindsey is interviewing with owner Robert Sarver for Suns GM job on Monday, sources tell Y! He's frontrunner for job.
Spurs' Lindsey meets about Suns' GM job - NBA - Yahoo! Sports
“I think Sarver wants to play Jerry Jones right now,” one GM said.
Former Philadelphia 76ers GM Billy King has also recently emerged as a candidate for the job, sources said.
Sources said Sarver isn’t in a rush to make the hire and that he’ll accompany coach Alvin Gentry to Los Angeles on Tuesday to make a final pitch to All-Star forward Amar’e Stoudemire. Sarver has made clear to several people that he’ll run the free agency and trade front for the organization until Kerr’s successor is hired.
“He wants to be front and center right now,” one Western Conference executive said. “He wouldn’t let Kerr and Griff [former assistant GM David Griffin] do their jobs.”
Here's what we know about Lindsey's background prior to joining the Spurs in 2007:
Lindsey has spent the past 11 seasons with the Houston Rockets, the last five as vice president of basketball operations/player personnel. Prior to being named vice president, Lindsey spent three seasons as director of player personnel. During the 1998-99 season, he served as the Rockets director of player development. Lindsey joined the Rockets in 1996 as personnel video coordinator/scout.
Prior to joining the Rockets, Lindsey was the assistant basketball coach and recruiting coordinator at Pensacola Junior College for two years. Before venturing to Pensacola, Lindsey was the assistant head coach at Fort Worth Southwest High School.
A starter at Baylor University, Lindsey helped the Bears advance to the NCAA Tournament in 1988 and the NIT Tournament in 1990. After graduating from Baylor with a bachelor's degree in education in 1992, Lindsey received his master's in sports management in 1994 from the United States Sports Academy.
While David Griffin, Steve Kerr’s number two man, decided to remove himself from the Suns search for a new general manager, Jason Quick of The Oregonian writes that Griffin’s name has popped up in Portland, where the Blazers are looking to find Kevin Pritchard’s replacement.
“There have been some teams that have shown interest and I’m flattered any time my name comes up,‘’ Griffin said. "Portland achieved so much last season despite all the injuries, and their coaching and leadership is impressive. Anybody would be excited to be involved with that.’’
The approach of hiring a No. 2 in a top front office job, instead of a big-name general manager, is consistent with the approach taken recently by Allen in hiring 38-year-old John Schneider to be the Seahawks general manager. Schneider was the director of football operations for Green Bay prior to Seattle.
For everything Suns, check out SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun.
Both of these developments had been reported previously, but are now official according to the press releases sent out by the team. The only item to note is John Shumate not returning to the coaching staff. He will reportedly go back to his job on the scouting staff.
Look for former University of Georgia Coach Dennis Felton to possibly join the the bench.
SUNS EXERCISE CONTRACT OPTION ON GENTRY
Third-year option picked up on Phoenix head coach
PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have exercised the third-year option on head coach Alvin Gentry's contract for the 2011-12 season, the club announced today.
"Alvin has done a phenomenal job as our head coach," said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. "His leadership and ability to connect with and lead our players was exceptional."
Originally elevated as the 14th head coach in franchise history on an interim basis on Feb. 16, 2009, Gentry was named the club's head coach on May 9, 2009. In just 113 games under his leadership, Gentry's Suns have compiled a 72-41 (.637) record, giving him the third-highest winning percentage among coaches in franchise history (Paul Westphal, Mike D'Antoni).
The 30-year coaching veteran in both the professional and collegiate ranks took the reins of the Suns in 2009 with the stated goals of establishing a homecourt advantage, returning the club to its trademark offensive explosiveness, and developing a young, productive bench.
In just a season-plus under his leadership, the Suns own a 46-12 (.793) home mark, seventh-best of any NBA team in that span, and perhaps most impressively are 31-6 (.838) at home against the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Phoenix has led the NBA in scoring in each of the last two seasons and averaged 112.3 points during his tenure, even more than the trendsetting Suns posted from 2004-05 to 2007-08 (109.8). In 2009-10, the Suns bench ranked 10th in the NBA, averaging 33.2 points. Gentry and the bench gained national attention during the playoffs when the group increased its scoring average to 34.1 points, best in the NBA, as Gentry played 10 or more Suns in 16-straight postseason games for the first time since 1993.
In his first full season on the bench in 2009-10, Gentry was a two-time NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month for November 2009 and March 2010. In leading the Suns to 54 wins, his career-high as a coach, and the conference's third-best record, Gentry finished fifth in NBA Coach of the Year voting.
Gentry became just the fifth head coach in franchise history to lead his team to a Western Conference Finals berth in his first full season. Gentry coached the Suns to 10 postseason victories in 2010, tied for the second-most in a single postseason in franchise history.
In 21 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has enjoyed three other head coaching stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995). He has worked alongside some of the game's most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery, Doug Collins and Mike D'Antoni. Gentry joined the Suns organization as an assistant coach on June 1, 2004.
A point guard at Appalachian State under Press Maravich and Bobby Cremins, Gentry earned a degree in management in 1997 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistsant at the University of Colorado the following season.
The 55-year-old Gentry is married to Suzanne and has three children: Alexis, Ryan and Matthew.
SUNS SIGN THREE ASSISTANT COACHES
Majerle, Cartwright, Kokoskov Signed Through 2011-12
PHOENIX - The Phoenix Suns have signed assistant coaches Dan Majerle, Bill Cartwright and Igor Kokoskov to contracts through the 2011-12 season, the club announced today.
"I could not be happier to keep Dan, Bill and Igor on our staff," said Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "Finalizing their return was just a matter of time. Our success this season was a product of how well our team worked together and how badly our guys wanted to win, and that included our entire coaching staff."
Majerle, Cartwright and Kokoskov originally joined the Suns' coaching staff on June 20, 2008, and have served on the club's bench each of the last two seasons. The trio has served on the staff of head coach Alvin Gentry for his entire 113-game tenure.
The 44-year-old Majerle was a three-time NBA All-Star (1992, 1993, 1995), all with the Suns, during his 14-year career with Phoenix, Cleveland and Miami. Nicknamed "Thunder," Majerle became a permanent fan favorite while playing eight seasons with the Suns (1988-95, 2001-02) and was given the club's highest honor, induction into the Ring of Honor, on March 9, 2003. Majerle retired as the Suns' all-time leader in three-point field goals made, a record now held by Steve Nash, and ranks 18th in that category in NBA history overall (1360).
Majerle served as the head coach of the Suns' Las Vegas Summer League squads in 2008 and 2009, and will do so again in 2010. Before joining the Phoenix coaching staff, Majerle spent the previous four seasons as a television analyst for Suns' broadcasts and also worked in that capacity for TNT, ESPN and ABC.
A five-time NBA champion as a player and coach, Cartwright owns a wealth of coaching experience established over 12 seasons as an NBA assistant coach and parts of three seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bulls (151 games). Cartwright served six seasons in the Bulls organization under Phil Jackson (1996-98) and Tim Floyd (1998-2001) and was on the staff of Chicago's 1997 and 1998 championship squads. Cartwright then spent four seasons on the bench of the New Jersey's Nets before joining the Suns in the summer of 2008.
The third overall pick of the 1979 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks, Cartwright spent his first eight seasons in the Big Apple before a 1988 trade sent him to Chicago and help propel the Bulls to their first three championships. He was a 1980 NBA All-Star and a 1979 selection to the NBA All-Rookie Team.
Kokoskov (ko-KOSH-kov) just completed his 10th season as an assistant coach in the NBA after entering the league in 2000 as a member of Gentry's staff with the Los Angeles Clippers. The 38-year-old was the first full-time, non-American assistant coach in NBA history, and just one week ago on June 18 Kokoskov became an American citizen in a ceremony at US Airways Center.
The native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, has served as the head coach of the Serbia and Montenegro national team, and most recently served in the same capacity for the Republic of Georgia. Kokoskov was an assistant coach for the Suns' Las Vegas Summer League entries in both 2008 and 2009.
You can go ahead and add these three names to your list of potential candidates (via Arizona Republic):
ESPN’s Ric Bucher reports that San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey is the frontrunner for the soon-to-be-vacant Suns GM position. The team has been granted permission to speak to Lindsey, though after Thursday’s draft.
Bucher also name-drops a couple of surprise candidates: current Boston Celtics GM and former Sun Danny Ainge and former New Jersey Nets assistant GM and interim head coach Kiki Vandeweghe.
The list of potential general managers continues to be surprisingly legit. Will any of these big names be a part of the Suns organization after July 1st? We’ll see, but Sarver, regardless, appears to be performing due diligence.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports that in addition to former Trailblazers VP of Basketball Ops Tom Penn, current Nuggets VP of Basketball Ops (and former NBA Executive of the Year) Mark Warkentien could be in the running, as well. Warkentien's contract with the Nuggets is expiring.
Although losing Kerr was not a great sign for the future of the Phoenix Suns, there are some highly-qualified names beginning to pop up in the GM search. One would imagine the Phoenix position is a good one, despite owner Robert Sarver’s reputation around the league.
Even if Amar’e Stoudemire walks, the Suns still have a promising young core and saavy veterans, in addition to a solid coaching staff and a history of success.
One name that hasn’t come up yet that hopefully will is current dead-man-walking GM for the Portland Trailblazers, Kevin Pritchard. But can the Suns afford to pay him what he’s likely to command?
Gery Woelfel of JournalTimes.com writes that former Portland Trail Blazers Vice President of Basketball Operations Tom Penn could become the next General Manager of the Phoenix Suns, replacing Steve Kerr.
Tom Penn, who played a key role in the rebuilding of the Trail Blazers as vice president of basketball operations before being let go for “philosophical reasons,” could be in the hunt for the vacant Phoenix Suns GM position.
For everything Suns, head over to SB Nation’s Bright Side Of The Sun.
At least there will be some consistency going into next season.
Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic is reporting that lead assistant coach Bill Cartwright and assistant coach Dan Majerle have signed new contracts that will keep them on the staff for next season.
There are no exact details yet.
In other news: assistant John Schumate will return to a scouting role and Majerle will act as head coach for the Phoenix Suns for Summer League play in Las Vegas.
Here we will compile a list of reported or rumored candidates for the position vacated by Steve Kerr:
Also this: Sarver is looking for four GM characteristics.
"One is analyzing basketball talent," Sarver said. "One is being able to communicate well with players, coaches, other employees, our fans and corporate sponsors. A thorough understanding of the cap and CBA (collective-bargaining agreement) and how it works. And experience in negotiating player contracts."
In the wake of Steve Kerr's resignation, the Suns have begun searching for a suitable replacement, though a hire is not expected to be made in the extremely near future, given the preparation required for the draft and impending free agency.
Suns President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts said, "The practical timing of that makes it impossible. Beyond that, it's going to be as soon as the right candidate is identified."
The timing is dire, in fact, as the general manager is directly responsible for both the draft and negotiating with free agents. Though Kerr has stated that he will work through the draft and help prepare, he will not be involved in free agency -- including potentially re-signing star Amar'e Stoudemire.
Though owner Robert Sarver has stated that he foresees a list of 20 or 30 candidates to sort through, there are already a handful of names being thrown around, including San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Dennis Lindsey, Los Angeles Lakers assistant GM Ronnie Lester, Minnesota Timberwolves assistant GM Tony Ronzone, Denver Nuggets Vice President of Player Personnel Rex Chapman, and Milwaukee Bucks director of player personnel Dave Babcock.
When Kerr first resigned, it seemed a no-brainer that Suns Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin would step into the role, as he's been the unofficial GM-in-waiting for years now. However, Griffin has also resigned and will no longer be with the organization once his contract expires on June 30.
According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, Griffin's resignation was tied to Kerr's and the story echoes the speculation of many in the NBA, that there's a storm brewing in the Suns front office and few in the current regime want any part.
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