Suns News

Babby on Blanks

Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby is happy with his hire of Lance Blanks as the team's new general manager.
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty
By Jeramie McPeek,
Posted: Aug. 5, 2010 sat down with President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby in his fourth-floor office at US Airways Center Thursday evening to discuss his hiring of former Spurs and Cavs executive Lance Blanks as the Suns’ new general manager. Did you know Lance prior to the interview process?

Lon Babby: I did. I’ve known him for a long time because he was involved in the Spurs’ organization and I know him from my representation of players on the Spurs, including Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen and Malik Rose. So I am very familiar with his work there and that was a big factor. Did he interview with you in Washington, DC?

Babby: He had an interview in Washington with me and then he met with Robert Sarver in San Diego. I want to be careful what I say, because I don’t want to compare and contrast him to the others we interviewed, but I would just emphasize what was positive about his interview.

I guess I could use my “Four Ps.” Clearly he has poise. His preparation, not only for our meeting but in the evaluation process. The perseverance with which he approaches his job. And his performance is outstanding. He, first and foremost, is a highly respected and well-credentialed talent evaluator.

There were three things that I thought were essential. One, was we need to have a “basketball genius,” someone who has an established track record as an evaluator. Secondly, we need to have someone who I thought fit into the organization culturally, and he’s just a first-rate person, as well as a first-rate talent evaluator. And the final thing was, I really wanted someone who was coming from a winning environment, and he comes from a place where he was a part of two championships in San Antonio, and he had excellent success during his tenure in Cleveland. They won 67 percent of their games, I think, over the last two years.

Going back to his playing days, he is a former player, a first-round draft choice, who played in the league for three years, and then won a couple of championships in Europe. So he is a person who is associated with success everywhere he’s been. That can’t be an accident. Obviously, he’s got a lot of experience, but this will be his first GM job. How excited is he for the opportunity?

Babby: I think he’s extremely excited. I think he’s excited to come here. He’s excited about the structure that we have here and I look forward to learning from him, and hopefully he will learn a few things from me along the way. I think our skill sets are completely complementary and that’s what I was really hoping for. We hear that he is currently in Senegal?

Babby: He is with Basketball without Borders, and it’s made the logistics of this a little challenging, but that’s a good test case for us (laughs). He had a long-standing trip to go to Africa with his daughters for Basketball without Borders, and he asked us to respect that. Of course, we do respect that and we look forward to his on-going work with that program.

The logistical problems were exacerbated further by the fact that there seems to be a telecommunications outage or strike or something going on in Senegal right now. There is no internet, there is no telephone and there is no fax, so I guess this is how general managers were hired in the 1700s.