The Phoenix Suns announced today that GM Ryan McDonough, who has held the job since 2013, has been relieved of his duties.
In the interim, the team announced GM duties will be handled by vice president of basketball operations James Jones and assistant general manager Trevor Bukstein. Jones will manage basketball operations including oversight of coaches, players and staff, while Bukstein will be the primary contact for player transactions.
"After much thought and a long evaluation of our basketball operations, I have decided to relieve Ryan McDonough of his duties as general manager of the Phoenix Suns,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said in a statement released by the team Monday.
“Our focus in the short term is to prepare for the upcoming NBA season and to continue pursuing opportunities to strengthen our roster. Over the course of the season, we will explore both internal and external options as we look to restructure our basketball front office leadership. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank Ryan for his efforts and contributions during his five-plus years with the Suns. We wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports via Twitter that McDonough had been pursuing the addition of a starting-level point guard, only to have many teams hold Suns up for an unprotected first-round pick in such talks. Additionally, Wojnarowski reports that Suns owner Robert Sarver has become more even more hands-on in the day-to-day operations of the franchise.
McDonough's tenure was met with immediate success, but difficulties with trades and draft picks short-circuited tenure. McDonough has been pursuing a starting-level point guard in marketplace, only to have many teams holding Suns up for an unprotected first-round pick in talks.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 8, 2018
Owner Robert Sarver has become even more involved in day-to-day of franchise. He already had a strong voice in many moves, including past coaching hires. James Jones has become a favorite of Sarver, too. He'll be a GM candidate there. https://t.co/4ytPiv1EhC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 8, 2018
McDonough received a contract extension from the Suns two summers ago, at which time Jones was also hired. Prior to joining the Suns, Jones played the past 14 seasons in the NBA, two with the Suns, and was part of three championship teams - two in Miami and one in Cleveland. He also was secretary-treasurer of the NBA players association and helped develop its collective bargaining agreement with the league.
The Suns took Deondre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft and gave Devin Booker a $158 million extension during the offseason. Phoenix has had four straight losing seasons and no playoff berths since 2010.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.