Phoenix Suns Lockout News: Suns Hire New Business Guy, Sarver Defends Self And Nash Attacks

Owner Robert Sarver of the Phoenix Suns reacts during the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center on March 13, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 111-88. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Robert Sarver sort of defends himself from criticism without saying anything during the press conference introducing Rick Welts replacement as the team business and marketing guy. Steve Nash sends his own message to fans.

The NBA lockout has not ended, as much as we would love to be writing otherwise. The two sides are meeting in New York and according to reports are at least moving closer together.

Meanwhile, back at the Phoenix ranch, the Suns made news that is sure to thrill virtually no one outside the team's offices. They announced hiring Brad Casper as the president of non-basketball operations.

The title alone should tell sports fans all they need to know about this hiring. 

Casper replaces Rick Welts who left the Phoenix Suns recently and took a similar position with the Golden State Warriors. The job entails all the things fans don't want to think about like selling tickets and sponsorships and over-seeing business operations, logistics, accounting and other fun stuff like that.

In other words, if you aren't happy with the way the team is playing, Casper might be the guy to complain to -- if you are a big money season ticket holder -- but he's not the guy responsible for the team on the court. That responsibility still falls on Lon Babby and Lance Blanks.

The Suns also promoted team counsel, Jason Rowley, to COO. We are not really clear what Rowley will do now that he's no longer the big lawyer on campus but he will report to Casper while doing it.

Casper most recently was the CEO of The Dial Corporation and has an extensive background in consumer goods. After leaving Dial (now called Henkel) in 2010 he explored other high-powered CEO job opportunities but was convinced by his family to stay in Phoenix so he could participate in his son's senior year of high school. As he tells it, his son didn't want him flying back on a fancy plane each weekend, he wanted his dad to be part of his high school experience.

Having had a good time at a Suns playoff game in 2005, Casper said he jumped at the chance to move from his non-profit advisory work that's occupied his time over the last year to this job with the Suns. He even joked that the pay was similar to working for a non-profit. Clearly, Casper didn't take this job for the money with other big CEO jobs out there.

Casper has no experience with sports in a professional capacity and mentioned no affiliation with the Suns other than having fun at a playoff game (baseline seats) in 2005.

Sarver speaks..sort of

Robert Sarver was asked about his reputation as the guy holding up the CBA negotiations and as the perceived boogyman of the lockout. As expected, he made it clear he can't talk about anything lockout related without being fined by the league, but he did have a message for fans.

"I can say, eventually when (the lockout) is over, the facts of my role and my involvement will come out and look forward to that happening...As you know, don't believe everything you read," Sarver said.

No matter how you feel about Robert Sarver, I'm sure we can all agree that we would like to see the NBA owners end their lockout and not just so we can hear Sarver explain his role.

In the mean time, try and contain your excitement about Brad Casper, President of Non-Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns.

Nash tweets

Steve Nash, not having to worry about getting fined by David Stern, had a message for the fans as well via twitter:

The NBA has experienced over 60 yrs of growth with new growth projected using the current model.
After a banner year the players are still willing to GIVE the owners a higher percentage in good faith.

Why are the owners unwilling to negotiate in good faith? As a player I apologize to the fans that we're in this position but we will not be taken advantage of. In our hearts we're desperate to play, in our minds we know better and are prepared to #standunited.

Isn't this fun?

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