Congrats, Robert, on finally getting it right!
By “it,” I mean your head coach. Jeff Hornacek was the “right guy,” but change won out over patience. We had to go through Earl Watson and Igor Kokoskov to get to Monty, but at the end of the Decade of Decline, you made up for it by getting Williams to say “no” to be the head coach of the Lakers, and now our beloved franchise seems to be back on track.
I say “seems” because it’s going to take more than just a one-year playoff run for me to forgive and forget how far off track this franchise became.
You said in an interview we did together back in 2018 that you were a better owner because of the experiences that you’d gone through. I was skeptical because the record spoke for itself. Now, I do believe that you’re hitting your stride.
You’ve been able to get the facelift of the arena complete. It’s spectacular to walk around and see the upgrades. You’ve built a state-of-the-art practice facility that shows your commitment to present players and will be a terrific recruiting tool for future free agents. While I don’t know this as fact, I can only assume having Larry Fitzgerald on speed dial in your ownership group has helped. It is hard for me to believe that Fitz is just writing or receiving a check, and that’s it.
No one really knows how hands-off you’re going to be when it comes to keeping this roster together or the inevitable pursuit of your General Manager and head coach as their contracts tick away. Success in Phoenix usually means that bigger markets will try to lure away what you’ve built up (see Mike D’Antoni).
Don’t get me wrong, you want your key employees to be pursued, it means that you’ve got the right people in place. I’m just wondering what it will look like down the road. While you’re widely successful in your banking business and other ventures, can you sustain what you’ve built over the last 25 months since promoting James Jones to General Manager?
In tandem with James and Monty, can you convince Chris Paul to stay in Phoenix, or is he out the door on August 1st? You ended the notion that Phoenix couldn’t attract top free agents by getting Jae Crowder here. You broke through the bad trade cycle with Chris Paul. Can you keep it up?
Right now you’re enjoying the ride, which is the way it should be. I’m just wondering if you’re turning the corner as an owner. The proof is in the long-term product on and off the court.
Enjoy the playoff run over the next few weeks, months…