The Phoenix Suns finished last in the Pacific Division–and the entire Western Conference–with a 25-57 record. They have plenty of issues to fix in the offseason. They have questions to answer, techniques to analyze and possibly execute a radical change in their organization this offseason.
For starters, the main issue is the fate of their front office. Will Lindsey Hunter remain as the head coach? Will Suns general manager Lance Blanks stay on with the Suns’ organization? According to SB Nation’s “Bright Side of the Sun,” decisions by Suns managing partner Robert Sarver won’t be made until late summer. We know the fate of Suns President Lon Babby. Babby signed a two-year extension to remain as the team’s president (via CBS Sports). Blanks and Babby believe Hunter’s their guy. If Blanks leaves and a new general manager wants Hunter out, it could cause a rift between Babby and the new general manager.
Once they get their front office in order, they really need to address their roster.
Center Marcin Gortat, who currently is suffering from a foot injury, has one year left in his contract. Before his foot injury, Gortat averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Several questions remain on Gortat’s status: Will he be the same after his injury? Would the Suns want him back for more than the 2013-14 campaign?
He’s not the only center that might not be with the Suns. Jermaine O’Neal’s contract ends after this season. O’Neal’s status poses another question for the offseason–will they re-sign him? Let’s also look at another problem that needs to be addressed, Hamed Haddadi. Like Gortat, Hadaddi has one year left in his contract that presents another question–will the Suns try and deal him for another player or draft picks?
The Suns will have options and money free from O’Neal and Wesley Johnson if they don’t re-sign, according to Hoops Hype. Their payroll will go down from roughly $60 million to $53 million, which would provide the flexibility to get a good free agent. They’ll need one to compliment rising star Goran Dragic, whose contract ends in the 2016 season.
The NBA Draft also brings more questions for the Suns. Most likely they’ll end up with a top 5 pick, at least depending on the luck of the lottery. According to ESPN.com, Kentucky C Nerlens Noel is the No. 1 prospect. It might be wise for the Suns to acquire the young Noel. He could become a star to build upon, especially with Dragic and a returning Gortat on the front line.
First and foremost, the Phoenix Suns need to restructure and straighten out their front office. The next step is the business side, whether offering extensions to Gortat and/or O’Neal or drafting a top-five prospect. Frankly, once the Suns figure out their front office dilemma, the rest will follow.