When Steve Kerr and David Griffin left the Suns, things were not looking good. The stated reasons were fishy, which Sarver confirmed by saying there were "gray areas" involved.
Those areas still remain gray despite plenty of reports that finances forced Kerr out - an accusation that never made sense despite some solid reporting that suggests otherwise.
Reasons for departure aside, the loss of Kerr and Griffin left a giant hole at the top of the organization going into the free agency period. That was a concern that's not born out.
Here's quick recap of Sarver's solid July moves:
Amare - The negotiations with Amare were handled perfectly. Amare was made a fair offer and chose to accept a better deal in New York and, unlike the fiasco with LeBron, the player or owner both came out smelling like roses.
Leaving on good terms is smart business for both men, but my feeling is that this was genuinely an amicable parting of the ways.
The one hiccup was an apparent confusion about CBA and salary cap rules. Word from the team was they were waiving Amare's Bird Rights and giving up on a sign-and-trade in order to sign Frye and Warrick.
It turns out that there was a more creative option that yielded the Suns a trade exception from New York that proved critical in landing Josh Childress.
This was the kind of technical blunder that we feared when the experts left. Fortunately, someone (not sure who) schooled Sarver and got this sorted out.
Frye - The Suns stepped up and refused to let Channing walk and still got him to accept a home-town discount. You can argue that $30 million is too much for Channing, but that was clearly the market rate and Fyre is an important part of the team, whose game should only get better with more consistent playing time.
The alternative was letting Frye leave and sign elsewhere when he clearly wanted to return. That would have been cheap. Signing him wasn't.
Warrick - The Suns at this point had just lost Amare and decided they needed to move quickly to sign someone from their target list of free agent power forwards. After seeing Amir Johnson and Drew Gooden get five-year deals worth over $30 million, the Suns signed Warrick to a three-year deal at $13.76 million, with a team option for the fourth year.
Then things get interesting. Personally, at this point I was fine for the Suns to go into the season with a mediocre team and a ton of financial flexibility and the $12 million trade exception - give the young-uns time to play and see how things developed.
But no, Sarver wasn't done yet.
Childress - Using the trade exception created when Amare left and a 2012 second round pick, the Suns were able to land the highly-coveted Josh Childress. Many people from all over the NBA who I spoke with in Las Vegas consider this deal a steal.
The $33 million, five-year contract for a 27-year-old is certainly within market value for a top-notch wing defender who can slash and create. If he improves his three-point shooting like every other wing to come to Phoenix in the Nash era, he will be a very important player moving forward.
I never even considered Childress as a viable option for the Suns, but with Hill and Richardson both on the final year of their contracts and Jared Dudley looking for an extension, Josh provides long-term stability at the two/three and instantly makes the team better defensively and more athletic.
He's a quality guy who fits within the Suns culture and he is thrilled to be in Phoenix for the prime years of his basketball career.
Hedo - This is by far the riskiest move of the summer. The team hopes they can make up for Hedo's rebounding and defensive deficiencies in other ways and feel that his creativity will take some pressure off Nash and and give the team a lot of options on the offensive end.
Hedo is a hated figure in Toronto for his attitude and antics, but the Suns insist that's a blip on an otherwise stellar career and that he was well-liked by his other former coaches. Hedo showed his motivation for coming to Phoenix by waiving 80 percent of his trade-kicker and half of the guaranteed portion on the final year of his contract.
He will have a strong desire to demonstrate that he's not the ass he's made out to be and playing with Nash and under Gentry will be in an optimal situation.
Still, with his age (31) and rebounding/defensive questions and his proven record of being sullen if things go bad, Hedo is a risk. There's enough upside potential, however, to remain cautiously optimistic that he will flourish in Phoenix like so many others have done when playing with Steve Nash.
Money - With all of these moves, the Suns added about $105 million in new guaranteed payroll for Frye, Warrick, Childress and Turkoglu, which is about five percent more than keeping Amare would have cost.
And indications are the team isn't done dealing yet. They have between $5 and $7 million before they hit the luxury tax and still have about $6 million in trade exception left along with several movable assets like Jared Dudley.
Robert Sarver also hired a full-time conditioning coach, a position that didn't previously exist, and the team looks like they are going to create a new executive position for Lon Babby to be the President of Basketball Operations and sit between Sarver and the General Manager on the org chart.
These are relatively minor changes, but certainly undermine the notion that Kerr wasn't retained due to financial reasons. You don't add two brand new positions if you are cutting costs.
I'm sorry, Robert.
I doubted you would be able to handle the critical basketball decisions and didn't fully trust your financial commitment to the team. You and your staff have done a great job so far and have re-earned some of the goodwill lost with the Kerr and Griffin departures.
The Suns are in a good position financially and the roster is extremely flexible both on the court and in the trade market.
It would be next to impossible to turn the Suns into a championship contender with the likes of the Heat and Lakers looming, but instead of throwing up your hands and trying to sell the fans on a three- to five-year rebuilding plan, you've positioned the Suns to be fun and competitive for the final years of Hill's and Nash's career while adding to the long-term future and not tying your hands for additional moves.