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Jermaine O'Neal, Suns GM exchange expletives, report says

January 23, 2013|By Matt Wilhalme
  • Jermaine O'Neal has been averaging 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game this season for the Phoenix Suns.
Jermaine O'Neal has been averaging 6.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2… (Ralph Freso / Associated…)

Losing stinks. It’s frustrating. It gets NBA coaches fired, and apparently, also leads to "blistering expletive-laced" confrontations between players and general managers, at least that’s what happened in Phoenix, according to a Yahoo Sports report.

Sixteen-year pro Jermaine O’Neal and Suns General Manager Lance Blanks reportedly had a heated  exchange of words after the team's first practice under newly named Interim Coach Lindsey Hunter.

O’Neal did not travel with the Suns to Sacramento before their matchup against the recently sold Kings on Wednesday.

No specific reason was cited for the abandonment of pleasantries, but the Suns (13-28) are the proud owners of the worst record in the Western Conference.

Couple that with the team’s recent decision to part ways with Coach Alvin Gentry and replace him with someone younger -- and lacking in NBA coaching experience -- it’s no surprise that there could be some reaction from the team.  

Hunter, who won NBA titles with the Lakers in 2002 and Detroit Pistons in 2004 during his 17-year career as a player, started this season as the Suns’ player development coordinator before he was named interim coach Sunday.

“The organization needed a jolt,” Blanks said of his hiring Hunter over assistant coaches Dan Majerle, who announced his resignation after Hunter's appointment, and Elston Turner, according to the Arizona Republic. “We needed something that would shock the system with us, the players. Risk trumps safety in this business.”

At this point, things probably can't get worse.


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