No one likes to be told that they have a pimple between their eyes. No one likes to be told that they aren’t very good at something. Suns owner Robert Sarver has been the subject of the critics through the last 7 years of losing. The golden franchise of Phoenix has been run into the ditch, not making a playoff appearance since 2010.In a word, unacceptable.
But is Sarver starting to turn the corner? It’s easy to have all of the answers when Steve Nash, Grant Hill Amar’e Stoudemire, and others are on the floor and Mike D’antoni is coaching. It’s altogether different when Lance Blanks is your GM, Terry Porter or Lindsey Hunter are your head coaches or Michael Beasley is strapping on his 0 jersey(insert your own joke here).
I believe that if you give Sarver a clean slate, you’d have to say that the owner is figuring it out. To wit-
Extending Ryan McDonough as General Manager. In the past, the impatience of the owner would’ve resulted in the revolving door going around again with the departure of McDonough after a low win total last season.
-Shutting down Eric Bledsoe and others for the purpose of losing games and improving his draft position. It’s worked out, with the drafting of Josh Jackson. Of course no owner would admit to such a thing.
-The smoke that is building around getting Eric Bledsoe traded while his value is at it’s highest. Look, this current group of Suns isn’t going to win a title, so keeping a guy who has a big contract and a couple of knee surgeries simply isn’t smart. I’ve been asking for a Bledsoe trade for over a year. It feels as though his time in the PHX is coming to an end. Right move.
-Sarver finally falling on the sword this past week and admitting that he thought running a sports franchise is a harder business than what he thought. Check out our conversation on Thursdays show and tell me if this isn’t a different tune than what we’ve heard in the past?
Now I am sure that If I am sitting in Sarvers shoes I would be quick to point out that “I’ve figured it out!! Look at how much money I am making our investors on this venture!!”
Of course he’s right, but winning games is ALL that matters in the court of public opinion. No banners in the rafters for making your business partners almost 1.5-billion dollars(once the Rockets sell). Fans don’t care and aren’t impressed with the financials. I admire his business acumen. I am impressed with his ability to make money. I haven’t admired his ownership style of bringing in people that simply weren’t good at what they were paid to do. I don’t know his inner circle, but from the outside looking in, it feels as though he doesn’t have much of core group or one that will hold him accountable. In pro sports, the owners that don’t have much depth in their inner circle, don’t have sustained success in my opinion. Seen it over and over for the past 33 years.
Phoenix is one of the most forgiving(some would say soft) sports cities in America. I tend to look at it that our market is much more open-minded and diverse when it comes to sports options in the marketplace. Not too difficult to figure out why people won’t show up or watch when a team isn’t good. Over 90 golf courses in Maricopa County and the beach and mountains being a short drive away, we don’t have to sit around and be terminally miserable like other cities when a franchise isn’t good.
The team appears to be coming out of the abyss. The owner sounds as though he’s grown through the bad times. I am willing to turn the page and give him the benefit of a re-set. How about you?