- Associated Press - Monday, July 19, 2010

PHOENIX (AP) - The Phoenix Suns have hired agent Lon Babby to head the team’s basketball operations, a person with knowledge of the situation said Monday.

The person, who asked not to be identified because the official announcement has not been made, told The Associated Press that Babby will be introduced at a news conference at US Airways Center on Tuesday.

Until his move to the front office, Babby represented the Suns‘ newly acquired Hedo Turkoglu and is the former agent of Phoenix’s other recent addition, Josh Childress.

Babby emerged in recent days as the leading candidate in Suns owner Robert Sarver’s search for a replacement for general manager Steve Kerr, who stepped down at the end of June and has returned to his previous role of NBA analyst for TNT.

Babby, one of the most respected agents in the business, also represented the Suns‘ Grant Hill, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Boston’s Ray Allen. He has represented baseball players and served first as club counsel, then as general counsel for the Baltimore Orioles from 1974 to 1989. He also has represented the NFL’s Washington Redskins.

A Washington-based attorney, Babby graduated from the Yale law school and is a member of the board of trustees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Despite the departure of Kerr and his top lieutenant, Dave Griffin, Phoenix made three important personnel moves after All-Star Amare Stoudemire turned down the Suns‘ final offer and signed with the New York Knicks.

First, Phoenix signed free agent forward Hakim Warrick. After Stoudemire’s departure was worked out to be a sign-and-trade agreement, Phoenix acquired the rights to Childress from Atlanta in a sign-and-trade deal, the Hawks getting a 2012 second-round draft pick. The Hawks had the rights to Childress, who had played for a team in Greece the past two years.

Finally, the Suns acquired Turkoglu from Toronto for Leandro Barbosa and Dwayne Jones.

Kerr, the Suns‘ general manager for three seasons, decided to leave when his contract expired even though he was the architect of a surprising team that had the third-best record in the Western Conference and made it to the conference finals before losing to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Despite several reports that he was unhappy with a new contract offer from Sarver, Kerr insisted he was leaving for personal reasons, mainly to spend more time with his family at their home in San Diego.

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