The Phoenix Suns are rewarding general manager James Jones for his success, signing him to a contract extension, the team announced today.
Pursuing excellence: James Jones will continue building a winning culture in Phoenix.#ValleyProud
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) January 25, 2022
Exclusive in @TheUndefeated: Suns general manager James Jones signed to contract extension. #nba @espn https://t.co/WPq8iO5aYC
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) January 25, 2022
Jones was hired as GM of the Suns on April 11, 2019 and has overseen the team’s rise from Western Conference afterthought to an NBA Finals runner-up in 2020-21. He joined the team as vice president of basketball operations in 2018 before getting his current role and, in one of his first key moves, hired Monty Williams as coach on May 3, 2019.
“We’re fortunate to have a great basketball mind leading this team. James not only has tremendous instinct for identifying talent, but he has an innate ability to compose a roster that is deep with complementary players who make each other better, on and off the court,” Suns managing partner Robert Sarver said in a statement. “He came in with strongly-held beliefs on what it would take to nurture a championship culture and what it should mean to wear a Suns jersey. We promised fans an elite NBA franchise that would steal their hearts and make them proud and that’s what we have built under James’ leadership.”
Under his watch, the Suns traded for star point guard Chris Paul and signed role player Jae Crowder in 2020, both of whom played critical roles in Phoenix reaching The Finals in 2021. He re-signed Paul last offseason and the Suns have rolled through the NBA to date, amassing a league-best 37-9 mark.
“I’m just fortunate and I’m extremely grateful to be a part of it,” Jones told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “It’s more than I could have ever dreamed of to be a part of a team like this, some of the best professionals across sports. And to have the success that we’re having, it’s so much fun. When you step into this job, you never really know what it’ll be like, you hear stories about what it looks like, what the profession looks like, and the arc of a career in the front office or in an organization.”
Jones was named NBA Executive of the Year for 2020-21, receiving nine of the 30 first-place votes. That season, Phoenix assembled a roster that posted the second-best record in the NBA (51-21) and the fifth-highest single-season winning percentage in franchise history (.708). The Suns made the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 and their first Finals since 1993. Williams finished in second place for the 2020-21 NBA Coach of the Year Award.
Over the past two seasons, Phoenix is 88-30 (through games played Jan. 25) and has steadily improved each season under Jones’ watch. The Suns went 34-39 in the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season and nearly made the playoffs before enjoying their current run of success.
Aside from adding Paul to the mix, Jones has been more than effective in finding role players for the Suns. Since 2020, he has traded for, added or re-signed key contributors such as Landry Shamet, Cameron Payne, Frank Kaminsky, Dario Saric, JaVale McGee and, most recently, Bismack Biyombo.