Babby Named Suns President of Basketball Operations
By Josh Greene, Suns.com
Posted: July 20, 2010
Posted: July 20, 2010
On Tuesday, the Suns officially introduced their new president of Basketball Operations. Of course, to many within the organization, he’s been a familiar face for some time.
Lon Babby’s resume includes experience in professional sports and contract negotiations and being a player agent, meaning the 59-year-old New Yorker has forged many personal relationships over the years, including formerly representing the likes of Suns Grant Hill, Josh Childress and Hedo Turkoglu, to name a few.
Now, he will have a direct hand in player matters and overseeing the scouting and evaluation of draft-eligible and free-agent prospects, as well as free-agent and trade negotiations.
“This is truly a dream come true for me,” said Babby at Tuesday’s press conference, “and it’s a wonderful opportunity. It allows my career to come full circle. I’ve been in sports now 35 years – the first half in management and the second in representing players. Now I get to bring everything I’ve seen and learned over those years to this wonderful organization. The Phoenix Suns are not only a premier NBA franchise, but an elite franchise in all of sports. I’m truly humbled to become the new president of Basketball Operations.”
Citing Babby’s decades of service working “both sides of the table… on behalf of ownership, negotiating large contracts and the last 15 years as an agent representing some of the elite players in the NBA,” Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver sees his new front office addition as a positive force for the organization especially in regards to the ever-changing league.
“The business of the NBA is continually evolving,” Sarver said, “and will continue to change with the collective bargaining agreement sometime here in the future. I felt Lon was the exact type of person we needed in this organization to deal with that change and put us in the position to continue to contend for a championship and sustain success in the Suns organization.
“He has a unique insight into this business. Success for me in Basketball Operations revolves around the ability to analyze talent, the ability to understand the collective bargaining agreement and the business of basketball – and how that can be used to comply with those rules but also as an offensive weapon to make your team better. How we negotiate contracts are a key to our success. There will be a new collective bargain agreement at some point and those teams that are able to understand that agreement and know how to work within that agreement earlier will have more success. Lon is exactly what we and I needed in this organization going forward.”
Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry has known the new president of Basketball Operations since Babby's days representing then-rookie Grant Hill in Detroit.
“Lon’s No. 1 goal is to put us in a situation to not only win games but also try and build a championship team,” Gentry said. “He’ll do everything humanly possible to help us do that. To me, that’s the main thing you want in a team executive. We got along great when he was a player agent. Now that he’s actually on our team, things will be that much better.”
Babby added that one of his first responsibilities in his new position is to hire a general manager. Aside from that, obviously he won’t need much assistance with many of the familiar names already associated with his new team.
“Having Grant here is a joy for me,” Babby told Suns.com. “He’s not only been a client for the last 16 years, he’s a good friend. We’ve been through a lot together. When this first became possible, he was the first person I called to make sure he was comfortable with it. I’m just excited for this new phase to our relationship. Obviously, I’ve known Josh for years and Hedo well, and I hope to have that type of relationship with all the players.
“I hope we can continue the success. I’m not naïve enough to know there aren’t going to be bumps in the road. I’m just going to do the best I can. It is re-assuring to come to a place that’s not in disrepair. This is an outstanding situation.”