Report: Steve Kerr, Suns Part Ways
The timing is simply insane, with the 2010 NBA Draft just nine days away and free agency just weeks from arrival. The Suns have no first-round picks in June 24's draft, but it has historically been a huge day of trading in the NBA. The Suns also have one of the league's top free agents, forward Amar'e Stoudemire, in flux. Stoudemire will opt out of his contract on June 30, but has repeatedly said he hopes to work out a new deal to stay in Phoenix.
Hiring Kerr to replace Bryan Colangelo was the first major decision of Sarver's ownership run in Phoenix. It followed with the controversial trade for Shaquille O'Neal, a move seen as Kerr's power play but later considered a risk shared by Kerr and then-coach Mike D'Antoni. As the team cracked apart following the Shaq trade, D'Antoni fled for New York and Kerr hired the defensive-minded Terry Porter. Porter changed the Suns' style dramatically, and to ill effect, and survived only half a season before being replaced by former D'Antoni assistant Alvin Gentry, who ended up being a success.
Few expected the Suns to do as well as they did this season. Led by not just Steve Nash and Stoudemire, but by veteran Kerr recruit Grant Hill, Kerr-signed free agent Channing Frye and Kerr draft pick Goran Dragic, Phoenix made the Western Conference finals a season after missing the playoffs.
The team should be in good hands, as Phoenix has managed to keep David Griffin, a well-respected and oft-desired executive. It would be a shock if Sarver didn't immediately offer Griffin Kerr's old job. Whether Griffin is prepared to tweak the Suns heading into next season in mid-stride is another question entirely.