Dan Majerle has spent the better part of the last 15 years around the Phoenix Suns organization, but he doesn't have many nice things left to say about how the current regime conducts its business. Majerle played for the Suns for eight NBA seasons, transitioned into the TV booth for four years and then spent the past four-plus years as an assistant coach, but things didn't end well.
When the Suns parted ways with Alvin Gentry earlier in the month, they opened up a head coaching search that Majerle thinks was rigged from the beginning. The team spent two days searching for a new lead man, and then settled on first-year player development coordinator Lindsey Hunter as the interim head coach.
Majerle walked away from his assistant coaching position with the team on Tuesday, and he told Paul Coro of USA Today Sports that general manager Lance Blanks never gave him a fair shot to earn the promotion:
"It's been a hard pill to swallow," Majerle said. "The first thing that disappoints me is usually in a situation like this, the interim gets the jobs and that is Elston (Turner) with his 14 years of experience. Once he didn't get it, I thought I deserved it. The thing I keep hearing management say on the radio is that hiring me would've been the popular and easy thing to do. I earned it. I deserved a shot if it's not going to be Elston. I coached 5 ½ years. I coached the summer leagues. I didn't need a favor. Picking Elston would've been the easy thing to do."
"They talk about integrity," Majerle said. "To skip over two qualified people didn't make sense. They chose Lindsey, a guy not even on the coaching staff and who they told us was only there to help us. I think they had their minds made up already before the interviews. I was going to lay low and not comment but I heard people from the organization get on the radio and say I would've been the popular and easy thing to do and that's a slap in the face."
Majerle says "they didn't talk to the assistants a whole lot" during the process, and he noted that "communication wasn't great" when Gentry and the team parted ways.
Dave King of SB Nation's Suns blog, Bright Side of the Sun, offered up his long-form thoughts on Majerle's departure, and he doesn't think the former Suns assistant is exactly a sympathetic figure in this whole situation.