LanceBlanksSuns042413

Suns moving in new direction, but which way?

The Phoenix Suns have opted to change course a year after losing Steve Nash and finishing in last place in the Western Conference. The organization has been lost in the woods even in those last years with Nash playing point guard, but moving on and moving forward has been difficult.

The organization fired coach Alvin Gentry midway through the season after he went 13-28. Now they have fired general manager Lance Blanks, putting Phoenix's future on a path for complete change.

The Suns announced that Blanks would be relieved of his duties Monday and that the organization would be moving on from him and likely from his selection for the interim coach Lindsey Hunter. Phoenix will likely have new leaders captaining this ship.

It is just the destination that seems so difficult to figure out.

Phoenix is in a bad spot right now. A team mixed with veterans and some disappointing young players. A team without a proven star and with a high draft pick in a bad draft (at least at the top). The Suns are going to have to bankroll another bad year just to get back to contention and probably find a coach patient enough to get through it.

NetworkedBlogs.comThe Suns own the the fourth best chance at winning the lottery. That means they could end up with just about anyone at the top of the draft — from Nerlens Noel and Ben McLemore to Anthony Bennett and Trey Burke. Whoever they draft, and whereever they draft him, will certainly be a big part of what the Suns do moving forward.

But Phoenix will be stuck in the NBA's purgatory for some time. Actually, it might be worse than purgatory.

The Sun shave committed much of their cap to veteran players. According to ShamSports, Phoenix will have $48.3 million committed to next year's roster if all options are decline. There is just very little flexibility to improve the roster.

True, Phoenix still has some quality players to keep the team steady. At least, that seemed to be the purpose of acquiring Marcin Gortat and signing Luis Scola and Goran Dragic last offseason. However, those veterans did not deliver. Neither did the acquisition of Michael Beasley. Then rookie Kendall Marshall did not quite work out in his first season.

It is not a time to blow things up. Phoenix will undoubtedly use a high draft pick to begin laying the foundations. But with the lack of flexibility, the Suns need to hit on this Draft pick. Antoher bad pick could lengthen the rebuilding process by a few years. Of course, the issue with this Draft is that there are no impact players.

And there is the problem for whoever steps into this Phoenix mess. There is no flexibility and the Suns are stuck with the team they had last year for at least another year, maybe until 2015.

The new general manager should be able to see light at the end of the tunnel however. According to ShamSports, the Suns have no players guaranteed contracts for the 2015-2016 season and potentially only $14.7 million if options are picked up.

Does that make this job one worth taking?

Perhaps it does. Right now though, it is difficult to see which direction Phoenix will take itself in. And that could be the big trepidation as Phoenix looks for a way to move forward in its front office.

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily

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