The Phoenix Suns' firing of Lance Blanks might have been bad news for interim coach Lindsey Hunter, who was somewhat of a protege of the ex-general manager.
When Blanks was fired after a 25-57 season -- the second-worst in team history, worst in the Western Conference, and the third season out of three under Blanks where the team missed the playoffs -- eyes immediately began to look Hunter's way. He already wasn't guaranteed to remain the team's coach -- hence the "interim" -- but his close relationship with Blanks makes Hunter's status even more tenuous.
First, the team will hire a general manager:
Decision on Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter won't come this week, source says. Search likely to open up once new GM in is in place.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) April 22, 2013
Then, there will be a coaching search. And the decision to get rid of Blanks doesn't make it seem particularly likely that Hunter will be retained:
Suns firing of Blanks damages Lindsey Hunter's chances of keeping coaching job. Blanks was Hunter's guy. Others in org. less sold on Hunter.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 22, 2013
Saying others in the organization aren't sold on Hunter is putting it a bit lightly: the Hunter hiring caused Dan Majerle and Elston Turner to quit their jobs as assistant coaches earlier in the season.
The team did one game worse in the second half of the season under Hunter -- 12-29 -- than it had in the first half under Alvin Gentry -- 13-28.