The Suns parted ways with GM Lance Blanks on Monday.
“Lance has been a trusted friend and colleague,” Suns president Lon Babby said in a statement. “I thank him personally and professionally for his hard work on behalf of the Suns. We will continue to prepare for the offseason even as we look for his replacement.”
Blanks, 46, had served as Suns GM since 2010 and had one year remaining on his contract. Prior to joining the Suns, he held front office positions with both the Cavaliers and Spurs. Blanks played three NBA seasons with the Pistons and Timberwolves in the early-1990s before continuing his playing career overseas.
Back in January, Blanks selected player development coordinator Lindsey Hunter as interim coach after the organization parted ways with coach Alvin Gentry. That decision led multiple Suns assistant coaches to leave the organization and reportedly set off a profanity-laced exchange between Blanks and veteran center Jermaine O'Neal.
Suns owner Robert Sarver defended Blanks in an interview with ArizonaSports.com, although he did critique his GM's ability to handle public relations.
He's not good at public relations. But that's not his job. Yes, I'd like him to do a little better. I'd wish he'd spend some time with some of you guys, so you can give him a fair shake. But his job is to put together a basketball team, that's his job, and I think he knows how to do that and I think he'll do a good job.
Meanwhile, Hunter's future with the organization remains up in the air. CBSSports.com reported earlier this week that Hunter could also be on his way out.
The Suns conducted their exit interviews a week ago, and a person familiar with the process told CBSSports.com that interim coach Lindsey Hunter did not fare well in his player evaluations. The Suns went 12-29 under Hunter -- one game worse than the first half of the season under Alvin Gentry -- and there's a feeling among some players that the team regressed. "Players don't want him back," one league source said.
The Suns finished 25-57, marking the worst record in the Western Conference, in their first season after trading Steve Nash and embarking on a rebuilding mission. Phoenix was 12-29 under Hunter. Back in March, The Point Forward identified the Suns as one of the Western Conference teams with the bleakest future and one of of the organizations most in need of a change in management. Earlier this month, the Suns granted Babby a two-year contract extension.