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Phoenix Suns

Updated Feb 16, 2012 - 6:48 pm

Newsmakers Week: Babby asks for patience

This has been a difficult season for the Phoenix Suns.

It's been tough on the players, the fans and management.

Most expected better. Everyone wants better. And the plan to get better, Babby told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf as part of Newsmakers Week, is in place.

"The first step in any plan is articulating what it is you're trying to accomplish, so what is it we're trying to accomplish," he asked. "We're aspiring to be an elite team."

Babby said an elite team is one that is regularly competing for championships, much as the Suns were from 2005-2010. But those days seem like a long time ago, with an aging roster shy on young talent.

That's why, Babby added, it's important to recognize where the team is at right now.

"We have to be honest and realistic about it and say we're a team in transition, and we're beginning a process of rebuilding to get to an elite status," Babby said.

That process will involve, specifically, drafting smart -- if at all. Babby said the fact that the team traded away and sold draft picks in the past has caught up to them, as there are only two players on the roster who were drafted by the Suns (not counting Nash, who returned as a free agent).

"Those chickens are coming home to roost now," he said. "They may have been perfectly good decisions at the we've got to put a greater emphasis on the draft going forward."

On the persistent Nash rumors: Everywhere Lon Babby goes, he seems to be asked about Steve Nash.

The veteran point guard is having a great season, but the team's lack of success and his impending free agency means -- to some people -- that he should be available on the trade block.

But, as Babby has maintained, that's not the case.

"I've tried to be absolutely firm in our point of view, publicly and privately," Babby said. "I think everybody around the league knows our position on this."

That position is one of not looking to trade Nash, unless he asks to be moved.

"Our position is firm and solid, and I've said it publicly, I've said it privately to Steve, I've said it to anybody who wants to hear it, and yet we still keep getting the question," Babby said, admitting it's part of the job.

On Nash's free agency: With Nash set to become a free agent, though, there's a chance that he'll leave the team at the conclusion of this season.

That is a possibility Babby knows exists.

"I'm sure he'll do his due diligence, that's going to be his decision," Babby said, noting Nash's business acumen. "We'll see where that process unfolds, but he knows where we stand."

Babby added that he is not worried about next summer, as he's still focused on this season.

On Alvin Gentry's status: Suns coach Alvin Gentry has one more season after this one on his contract, and with the team struggling on the court, some think his job status is in question.

Babby, refusing to give Gentry the dreaded "vote of confidence," said there is nothing to worry about.

"He doesn't need a vote of confidence," Babby said. "He knows he's secure."

Babby noted that no one is pleased with the on-court results, but the blame does not fall solely on Gentry and the coaching staff.

One message for the fans: A rebuilding process takes time, and Babby knows it could be a bumpy road.

Given a chance to leave the fans with a message, he simply asked for patience.

"Measure us as we go through this by the decisions we made and the progress we're making, understanding there's going to be some time involved," he said, "hopefully shorter than longer."

Babby wants fans to "be patient" as the roster continues to evolve. Also, he said they should try to enjoy what's in front of them.

"There are a lot of things to embrace as we go through this, whether it's watching the evolution of a Markieff Morris or a [Marcin] Gortat or our next draft choice," he said. "If I could ask the fans to help us in one way it's just to sort of embrace the process and share it with us, so that when we reach the promised land it's going to be that much more gratifying for everybody."


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