Suns fans should find out early on in the upcoming offseason whether or not Lindsey Hunter will be back on the Phoenix bench come next season.
In his weekly interview with Doug Franz and Ron Wolfley of Arizona Sports 620, Suns president Lon Babby said he believes the decision on Hunter’s future with the club won’t be a long process.
“We will make a quick decision, but I’m not going to give you a deadline for it,” Babby said. “I would say we can’t afford an elongated process. I don’t anticipate that we would do that. We might make a decision immediately or in short order after the season. To me, there’s no particular moment. We’ve got to make a decision we’re comfortable with when we’re comfortable with it.”
Many speculated that after Babby signed his two-year extension with the organization last week, Hunter was all but a lock to come back for the 2013-2014 season. Babby isn’t ready to say one way or the other though.
“It’s a fair question,” Babby said. “We’re in a results business, so you have to look at the results. But I think also in fairness you have to put the results in context where we are in the season and how difficult it is to persevere, which I don’t think we’ve fully done by any stretch of the imagination.”
If you look solely at Hunter’s results, things haven’t been pretty. Since Hunter took over for Alvin Gentry on Jan 20, the Suns have only gone 10-27 and frequently haven’t been competitive. Over that stretch, Phoenix has been blown by at least 20+ points on eight separate occasions.
That is just downright embarrassing.
Things haven’t been all bad with Hunter at the helm. Young players like Wes Johnson and Kendall Marshall have played well in stretches with an increase in minutes and the Suns have gotten some good wins against some playoff bound teams.
However, the Michael Beasley situation has gotten even worse than when Gentry was on the sidelines. Beasley and Hunter had some interesting words for one another over the weekend. The Suns blowout losses also have made this team downright unwatchable at times.
As soon as the season comes to an end, Babby will more than likely look at other things besides the results, such as development of some of the team’s young players as well as other factors that having nothing to do with the Suns win-loss total.
My guess would be that Hunter is back next season. If the Suns are to remain with a young roster and continue on with a more defensive-minded approach in the years to come, Hunter seems to be a good fit for that.
As for a timeline on Babby’s decision, I would expect it to come no more than a week or two after the regular season comes to an end. The organization will soon begin their preparation for the draft and free agency, so it would make sense to have their head coach in place quickly.