Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby likens the work he and his staff are doing to making a motion picture rather than taking a snapshot. After his third year on the job, the work would be up for one of those Razzie Awards for worst films because of the team’s last-place standing in the Western Conference and three-year playoff drought. But he and Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver want the chance to see their script develop into a happy ending and become trophy-worthy. With his contract set to expire at the end of June, Babby agreed to a two-year contract extension to remain at the helm of the Suns in what was an unconventional NBA front office format when he was hired in 2010. Babby, 62, tabbed Lance Blanks, who has one contract year remaining, to be his general manager and basketball expert while Babby was charged with remaining competitive for Steve Nash’s final two years and then transitioning to a new era this season. “I’ve had a wonderful career and I view this was a wonderful opportunity,” Babby said. “I knew it was an extraordinary challenge. Not every day is simple. It can be painful and difficult. I didn’t want to leave it at this stage. I may be like Moses. I’m on a journey to get to the promised land of a championship. I didn’t want to leave at the start of the walk through the desert. “... We’ve done a lot of heavy lifting. It doesn’t feel right to leave if Robert and the organization have faith in me when I feel like we’re about to start the climb up the mountain.” The Suns have gone 96-126 (.422) during Babby’s tenure. With the franchise’s second worst record ever this year, the Suns will miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season for the first time since 1986-88. The idea of tapping into Babby’s esteemed career as a lawyer, sports agent and pro franchise counsel was to take advantage of a new collective bargaining agreement, have trade and contract negotiating expertise and change the payroll to a younger team by adding draft picks and creating salary-cap flexibility for free agents. The hits of Babby’s tenure have been trading for Marcin Gortat, extending Jared Dudley, winning an amnesty bid for Luis Scola, bringing back Goran Dragic at Sarver’s behest, signing P.J. Tucker at a minimum salary, accumulating 10 picks in the next three drafts and creating a possibility to sign a maximum-salary free agent in July. The misses that drew overwhelming social media disapproval of the extension was whiffing on prioritizing Michael Beasley as a free-agent signing, trading Dragic and a first-round pick for Aaron Brooks, the portrayal of this season’s team as a playoff team, the dismissal of coach Alvin Gentry and the handling of the departures of Nash and Grant Hill.
Lon Babby agrees to 2-year extension with Phoenix Suns
Arizona Republic | Apr 3